Tight end Tony Moeaki will get what’s essentially a four-week tryout in Buffalo to show he’s healthy after being signed by the Bills on Wednesday.
The former Chiefs player has been out since breaking his shoulder in Kansas City’s preseason win over Pittsburgh on Aug. 23. He was then released by the Chiefs after reaching an injury settlement in October.
At 6-foot-3, 252 pounds, Moeaki first gained prominence during his rookie season in 2010, when he had 47 catches for 556 yards and three touchdowns. His career has since been slowed by injuries, including a torn left ACL that forced him to miss the entire 2011 season.
Overall, Moeaki has 80 catches for 1,009 yards and four touchdowns in 30 games. He was Kansas City’s third-round draft pick out of Iowa.
The Bills (4-8) play at Tampa Bay (3-9) on Sunday. Buffalo made room to sign Moeaki by cutting running back Tashard Choice earlier in the day.
Saying it’s too early to tell when he might play, Moeaki added he was still getting accustomed to his new setting after spending much of the past few months rehabbing in Chicago.
”Yes, it all happened pretty quickly. I’m just trying to catch my breath here and get started,” he said.
Moeaki signed after working out with the Bills a day earlier. The move comes with the Bills starting to look ahead to next year to determine their tight end position.
Starter Scott Chandler, who ranks second on the Bills with 491 yards receiving, is in the final year of his contract. And he’s coming off a tough outing during which his fumble in overtime led to Matt Bryant hitting a 36-yard field goal in Atlanta’s 34-31 win on Sunday.
Moeaki is reunited with Chandler after the two spent two seasons playing together at Iowa.
”I know Scott pretty well,” Moeaki said. ”It helps to have a friend on the team at the same position, especially in this situation, new city, new team.”
Choice, a sixth-year player, became the odd-man out after spending the past three seasons in Buffalo. He ranked third on the team with 126 yards rushing behind co-starters C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson.
Both Jackson and Spiller wore Choice’s No. 20 jerseys during practice Wednesday in honor of their former teammate.
”We just wanted to let him know that we were thinking about him, and we had him with us today in spirit,” Jackson said. ”It was shocking. He was a tremendous player, so I think he’ll bounce somewhere and get right back on his feet.”