Two days after duping the Houston Texans on the Buffalo Bills' game-winning touchdown, tight end Matthew Mulligan has been released. Buffalo is going younger at its back-up tight end spot, promoting rookie Nick O'Leary from the practice squad.
Quite possibly, another team made a push to sign O'Leary and Buffalo didn't want to lose him.
The 6-foot-4, 267-pound Mulligan has been used as an extended lineman this season, playing 14 snaps in the 30-21 win and a quarter of the team's total snaps this season. On Charles Clay's game-winning 40-yard touchdown, Mulligan shot out of his stance like a 100-meter sprinter to draw two defenders and leave the middle of the field wide open for Clay.
Mulligan was brought in as part of Rex Ryan's ground-and-pound offense, having played three seasons for Ryan in New York. He's incredibly strong, too, capable of dead-lifting 700 pounds and squatting 650 pounds. He has also committed four penalties this season — three for offensive holding, one for an illegal formation — and hasn't been much of a receiving threat in the offense with one catch for two yards. The Bills must believe their run game can do without the veteran.
The 6-foot-3, 252-pound O'Leary didn't stand out in training camp, but was drafted in the sixth round after a decorated collegiate career at Florida State. The grandson of Jack Nicklaus caught 81 passes for 1,175 yards and 13 touchdowns his final two seasons in Tallahassee.