The Buffalo Bills have released quarterback Trent Edwards in a surprise move that came a week after he lost the starting job for a second straight season.
The team announced the move in a two-paragraph release Monday, a day after Ryan Fitzpatrick provided the offence with a spark in a 38-30 loss at New England.
Coach Chan Gailey was scheduled to discuss the move later Monday.
Edwards was in his fourth season after being selected by the team in the third round of the 2007 draft out of Stanford. He went 14-18 as a starter, including 0-2 this season.
He was benched the day after a 34-7 loss at Green Bay on Sept. 19. He was 11 of 18 for 102 yards and two interceptions.
Brian Brohm is the other quarterback on the roster as the Bills (0-3) prepare to host the New York Jets on Sunday.
Edwards' release marks a sudden and decisive reversal for a player who had earned Gailey's confidence by beating out Fitzpatrick and Brohm in an offseason-long competition to reclaim the starting job. Gailey had been so impressed by Edwards that he noted how he saw "a light at the end of the tunnel" in praising the player three weeks ago.
Edwards failed to build on that trust by reverting to his familiar hesitant form which, a year ago, led Bills fans to label him as "Trent-ative" and "Captain Checkdown."
Behind Edwards, the Bills offence managed just 352 yards in its first two games, including a 15-10 season-opening loss to Miami. Edwards had difficulty generating any rhythm and went a combined 29 of 52 for 241 yards passing, with a touchdown, two interceptions, and was sacked seven times.
Despite the loss to New England, Fitzpatrick injected life to Buffalo's attack by helping the offense generate 374 yards — the Bills third-best total since the start of last season. He also went 20 of 28 for 247 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions while showing he was capable of spreading the ball to his receivers.
The 247 yards passing in one game were six more than Edwards had in two games this season. And it marked the most yards passing by a Buffalo player since Fitzpatrick threw for a season-high 297 in a 18-15 loss at Jacksonville last Nov. 22.
Six players caught at least one pass against New England, including Lee Evans who had five catches for 54 yards a week after he was held without a reception for the third time in his career.
Edwards departure is the final chapter of an up-and-down stint in Buffalo. It's a tenure that began on a high when, as a rookie, he replaced J.P. Losman as the Bills starter midway through the 2007 season.
Edwards then helped Buffalo get off to a 5-1 start the following season before being hampered by an assortment of injuries. The Bills went 2-8 down the stretch.
Edwards' struggles carried over to last season when he was replaced by Fitzpatrick following a 41-17 loss at Tennessee on Nov. 15.
In 34 NFL games, including 32 starts, Edwards is 535 for 878 for 5,739 yards passing, with 25 touchdowns and 27 interceptions.