The Buffalo Bills will try to continue their resurgence without Drew Bledsoe, announcing yesterday that they will release the veteran quarterback next week. Coach Mike Mularkey said that J.P. Losman, a first-round draft choice last year, will be the starting quarterback entering next season.
"It was a tough decision," Mularkey said at a news conference, "but we're moving in a direction, and that's forward."
Bledsoe, 33, became the second prominent veteran quarterback whose pending release was announced this week, following Cleveland's Jeff Garcia. Bledsoe received permission from the Bills to begin talking to other teams immediately and is likely to be pursued by the Browns and Dallas Cowboys. He questioned the Bills' move, saying in a conference call with reporters: "I completely disagree and don't understand their point of view."
Bledsoe declined an offer to accept a pay cut to remain with the club as Losman's backup. Bills President Tom Donahoe said he tried but failed to trade Bledsoe, who played three seasons for Buffalo after nine seasons with the New England Patriots.
Bledsoe has thrown for 39,808 yards and 221 touchdowns in his NFL career. But he was only the league's 25th-rated passer this past season as the Bills went 9-7 and missed the playoffs after recovering from an 0-4 start.
Around the NFL: The San Diego Chargers likely will place their franchise-player tag on quarterback Drew Brees in the next day or two.
-- Mark Maske