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By Joe Buscaglia
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Bills say performance, not arrest was reason for Branch release

Two days ago Alan Branch was arrested. One day ago, he was released from the roster. On Monday, Buffalo Bills head coach Doug Marrone explained that the defensive tackle's release had a much thicker layer to it than just Branch's off-the-field transgression.

"It was really performance," Marrone said. "You guys watch the film and the players we released, you have to perform in this league and he didn't perform well. Obviously [the arrest] was a poor decision, but basically it was the performance because we didn't really play him much in the first two or three preseason games, nor could we."

It makes sense from what the Bills have received from Branch since he signed his three-year extension in late December. He showed up to training camp out of shape, failed his conditioning test and then was passed by on the depth chart by three separate players. He was mostly playing alongside undrafted rookie defensive tackle Damien Jacobs, who also was released by the team in order to get down to 75 players.

However, Branch was released almost 24 hours before all the other cuts, and given the timing of his arrest for drunk driving the night before their Saturday preseason contest, it appeared to serve as a catalyst for severing the working relationship. Would the Bills have cut Branch had he not been arrested?

"A lot of things factor in decisions, don't get me wrong," Marrone conceded. "But the main factor was performance. Not even close."

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photo courtesy of The Associated Press

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