Former JMU football player Mike Caussin may be the answer for the Buffalo Bills' lack of depth in the tight end position.
The Bills signed Caussin on Thursday to the team's 53-man roster. He heads to Buffalo after spending the preseason and the first 12 weeks of the regular season with the Jacksonville Jaguars practice squad. The Bills' starting tight end, Shawn Nelson, is out indefinitely with migraine headaches and the team needed to bolster its personnel at the position.
Jacksonville waived Caussin on Wednesday so he could sign with Buffalo. Following the transaction, Caussin was added to the Bills' active roster and will travel with the team. After being under contract for just three days, Caussin did not dress out against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
"It's essentially a promotion," Caussin said. "Jacksonville was great, it's professional football and it's tough. It was quite an experience."
Caussin joins his former JMU teammate linebacker Arthur Moats in Buffalo after the two spent four years playing together at JMU. Moats was the Bills' sixth round pick in April's NFL Draft and has been a backup linebacker for most of this season.
This marks the first time in the JMU program's history that two former Dukes will suit up for the same NFL team.
"It's cool to have Mike here. We are going to compete with each other," Moats said. "I've known him for a long time, long enough to know it's going to be a daily battle for bragging rights."
Both players finished their careers at JMU in 2009. Caussin was not drafted, and instead signed with Jacksonville as a free agent the day after the draft. The Bills had also expressed interest in signing Caussin at the time.
"Buffalo was one of three or four teams to talk to my agent about signing me to their practice squad in April," Caussin said. "We knew there was some interest from them throughout this whole process. It just so happened they needed a tight end."
Moats and Caussin were captains on the Dukes' 2009 team and garnered All-CAA honors following the season.
Caussin is now officially an NFL player, a big step up from being a member of a team's practice squad.
"It's crazy because my whole mindset is changed," Caussin said. "Practice squad is routine, I worked Wednesday to Friday and then my week was over. Now it's seven days a week of practicing and preparing, which is a huge difference."
In Jacksonville, Caussin also enjoyed the experience of playing with another former teammate, kick returner Scotty McGee.
McGee was the Jaguar's sixth round pick in April, but was placed on the season-ending injured reserve in September with a shoulder injury.
"It's fortunate to have someone I know on these teams, and it's funny how it worked out," Caussin said. "Scotty, Arthur and I have shared a lot of good times and great experiences together."
Faced with the challenge of learning a new offense and battling for playing time in limited time, Caussin will look to Moats to help ease the difficult transition
"Playing with Arthur at JMU, we always went against each other in practice and have a high level of respect for each other," Caussin said. "It was funny on Thursday at my first practice we were already talking trash. It adds a certain comfort level having someone like him here who has been with the team."
Moats has seen increasing playing time the past two weeks since the Bills placed six of his fellow linebackers on injured reserve.
At the end of the season, the Bills will have the option to bring Caussin and Moats back for 2011. Moats is in his first year of a four-year contract while Caussin's deal is good for two years.
"I think I've been a contributing player so far this season, especially now because I'm finishing out my season strong and have been an impact player recently," Moats said." Hopefully when the team goes back at the end of the year for evaluations, they also think so."
Contact Michael Demsky at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Moats injures Brett Favre
Former JMU player Arthur Moats made headlines yesterday after he crushed Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre in the first quarter of the Bills' game in Minnesota. The play came on the NFL legend's first pass of the game and forced him to throw an interception. The 41-year-old quarterback did not return to the game because of a shoulder injury.