Alan Branch seemed to be asking for the Buffalo Bills to cut him.
So the team did today.
Branch, 29, was released a day after coach Doug Marrone revealed the eighth-year pro was inactive for Saturday’s preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because he was arrested.
Branch was charged with driving while intoxicated by state police at about 2 a.m. Saturday morning in Cheektowaga. He was seen vomiting out the driver’s side door of his vehicle.
According to police, Branch failed a field sobriety test and had a blood-alcohol content of .14 percent, above the legal limit of .08.
“I’m going to meet with him tomorrow. I found out somewhere around noon,” Marrone said after the game. “I just had so much on my mind. I tried to call him and couldn’t get ahold of him, so I just got ahold of him some other way through other people and said, ‘I’ll meet with you tomorrow.’ That’s all I know for a fact.”
Marrone was then asked whether Branch’s roster spot would be in jeopardy.
“I can’t answer that question now,” he said. “The reason why is that my mindset is on the guys that are back here in this locker room right now and what we’ve got to do for the team.”
The answer came Sunday afternoon in a one-sentence press release from the team.
Branch’s arrest proved to be the last straw, but there was mounting evidence his roster spot was in jeopardy even before that. After signing a three-year contract extension in December – and pocketing a $3.1 million signing bonus – Branch skipped all of voluntary offseason workouts.
He reported to training camp last month out of shape and was placed on the active/non-football illness list.
That seemed to place Branch firmly in Marrone’s doghouse. During the first three preseason games, Branch was with the third team, playing deep into the fourth quarter.
“We’re working him back in there, but you just have to be careful,” Marrone said earlier this month. “You don’t want to put someone out there and they either can’t perform well or put themselves in jeopardy or anyone else.”
Branch will count $775,000 against the Bills’ salary cap this season, the amount of his prorated signing bonus. The remaining $1.55 million of that signing bonus will be dead money on the Bills’ 2015 cap.