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Bills getting younger Meredith, Stupar join active roster

The youth movement continues for the Buffalo Bills, brought about by injuries.

A pair of starters, right tackle Brad Butler and tight end Derek Schouman, were placed on injured reserve Tuesday with knee injuries suffered in Sunday's 33-20 win over Tampa Bay.

Taking their place are rookie tackle Jamon Meredith, who was signed off the practice squad of the Green Bay Packers, and tight end Jonathan Stupar, who was promoted to the Bills' 53-man roster from their practice squad.

With Meredith's addition, an already-green offensive line gets even younger.

Meredith, 6-foot-5 and 304 pounds, was a fifth-round pick of the Packers in April but did not make Green Bay's 53-man roster.

Fourth-year veteran Jonathan Scott takes over for the Bills as the starter at right tackle. Scott saw his first action as a Bill on Sunday after Butler tore a knee ligament late in the second quarter.

There were veteran options available at tackle -- most notably former Eagle Jon Runyan -- but Meredith's signing and Scott's promotion mean the Bills are committed to their youth movement along the line. Excluding center Geoff Hangartner, the four other starters Sunday against New Orleans will have just 12 combined career starts.

Meredith is an intriguing young prospect. A graduate of the University of South Carolina, he ranked as the eighth-best tackle available in the draft by ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper.

Meredith, who graduated with a 3.74 grade-point average, was viewed as an outstanding athlete but an unpolished project by many scouts entering the draft. At the draft combine, his 40- and 20-yard dash times of 4.99 and 2.84 seconds, respectively, were tops among tackles.

He got extensive experience in college, playing in 49 games and starting 38. He started 19 games at left tackle, 11 at right tackle and eight at left guard.

Meredith joins Kirk Chambers as the reserves behind Scott and left tackle Demetrius Bell.

Schouman had been off to a quick start this season, with nine catches for 103 yards. He had six receptions for 62 yards before getting hurt in the third quarter Sunday when his leg was bent underneath him while being tackled by the Bucs' Will Allen.

It's the second time Schouman's been placed on injured reserve in his three seasons. He missed the final eight games in 2007 with an ankle injury.

Stupar, 6-foot-3 and 254 pounds, rejoins the 53-man roster after originally being promoted Sept. 14. He was cut two days later but re-signed with the practice squad Sept. 17. He led the Bills in the preseason with 15 catches for 155 yards and a touchdown.

The Bills needed another healthy body at tight end with Schouman out and the status of rookie Shawn Nelson, who suffered a sprained shoulder against Tampa, unclear. Stupar joins Derek Fine as the two healthy tight ends on the roster.

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The Bills also shuffled their practice squad Tuesday, releasing linebacker Alvin Bowen and signing linebacker Marcus Freeman.

Bowen, a fifth-round pick in 2008 who missed all of his rookie season with a knee injury, was supposed to compete for a backup job behind weak-side starter Keith Ellison, but was beaten out by rookie free agent Ashlee Palmer. Bowen was added to the practice squad Sept. 6, a day after final cuts.

Freeman was released by Chicago prior to the start of the season. The 6-foot-1, 239-pound Ohio State product was a fifth-round selection of the Bears in April.

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Bills linebacker Kawika Mitchell will sign autographs from 6 to 7 p.m. today at the Verizon Wireless kiosk in the Walden Galleria Mall. Mitchell is the spokesman for Verizon's HopeLine program, which raises money and awareness of domestic violence. Fans are asked to donate their no-longer-used cell phones at Sunday's game in support of the program.

e-mail: jskurski@buffnews.com and mgaughan@buffnews.com

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>Today is Bills Poster Day

The stars will be coming out Wednesdays in The Buffalo News.

Buffalo Bills players will be featured in a full-page poster available only in the print edition of The News every Wednesday during the NFL season starting today.

This year's series kicks off with action photos of Trent Edwards, Lee Evans, Terrell Owens and Josh Reed and can be found on Page D6.

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