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The Buffalo Bills shuffled 21 players off their active roster Friday and still needed to make a few more moves to get their roster down to 53 by today’s 6 p.m. deadline.

The Bills released 18 players, with no major surprises. They also placed three on injured reserve: quarterback Kevin Kolb, receiver Brad Smith and fullback Drew Smith.

Kolb was the most notable transaction. He was supposed to compete with rookie EJ Manuel for the starting job, but that contest didn’t materialize.

Kolb had a knee injury early in training camp, left the team for a funeral in his family and then suffered a concussion in the third preseason game. The Bills couldn’t afford to leave a precious roster spot vacant while they waited for Kolb to recover from such a serious and unpredictable injury.

Now there are concerns his career could be over.

Among the 18 cuts was Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Matt Leinart. He didn’t last a week with the Bills, not after throwing two interceptions in a quarter and a half Thursday night against the Detroit Lions.

Also dropped from the offense were running backs Zach Brown and Kendall Gaskins, receiver Brandon Kaufman, tight ends Dorin Dickerson and Nick Provo, center David Snow, guards Antoine Caldwell and Zack Chibane, and tackle Zebrie Sanders.

The Bills dumped four cornerbacks, including both of Thursday night’s starters, Crezdon Butler and T.J. Heath. They were routinely drummed by the Lions’ backup quarterbacks.

The other corners cut were Jordan Dangerfield and Kip Edwards.

Defensive tackle Jarron Gilbert, defensive end Kourtnei Brown and linebackers Keith Pough and Brian Smith were released, too.

The Bills’ roster was down to 55 players Friday night, meaning at least two more moves were left to be made today.

A potential casualty who surfaced Friday was veteran linebacker Bryan Scott.

Bills safety Jairus Byrd tweeted farewell salutations to Scott, suggesting the Bills were parting ways with him. A league source later informed The News the Bills were trying to trade Scott before today’s roster deadline.

Scott played several snaps late in Thursday’s preseason finale. That’s usually an ominous sign for a veteran.

Probably destined for injured reserve is backup left guard Doug Legursky. He suffered a nasty left knee injury against the Lions, but the Bills haven’t declared their intentions for him yet.

Brad Smith contributed to the Bills as a receiver, Wildcat triggerman and kick returner. He scored at least one touchdown in all three roles last year. He was a core-four special-teamer.

But Brad Smith was in a hot receiver competition and then hurt his ribs in Thursday night’s preseason finale with the Lions.

email: tgraham@buffnews.com