Gailey skeptical Merriman will play in 2010

The Buffalo Bills gambled when they snagged outside linebacker Shawne Merriman off waivers three weeks ago.

It appears the Bills are coming to the realization that, in gambling parlance, they're holding a 16 against the dealer's ace.

MerrimanMerrimanHead coach Chan Gailey revealed Merriman, who hurt himself minutes into his first Bills practice, probably won't work out with his teammates this week or play Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

"I don't see that, no," Gailey said Monday of whether Merriman would return to practice. "I don't see that this week."

Gailey was asked how confident he was Merriman could play at all this year.

"I'm not," Gailey said. "There's got to be something that gives me confidence. Nobody has said 'OK, you can expect him in two weeks.' Nobody has said that yet."

When the Bills picked up Merriman, they committed to picking up the pro-rated remainder of his one-year $3.27 million San Diego Chargers contract in hopes of rejuvenating a 26-year-old with 43.5 sacks, but a mammoth medical chart.

Looks like the Bills have lit that money on fire.

The Bills didn't have much chance of making the Merriman move pay off beyond this year. If they liked what they saw, then they still would've needed to franchise him (guarantee him about $10 million for next season) or convince him to skip unrestricted free agency and stay in Buffalo. Merriman already knew the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Miami Dolphins were interested because they put in waiver claims, too.

Another thought: Despite wasting seven figures on Merriman, the Bills might be better off without him on the field at this point.

They are 2-1 and have won back-to-back games since they obtained Merriman. With such little chance of him being around in 2011, whatever jolt a mercenary might give the defense over the final five or four or two games can't be as valuable as whatever team building is happening at One Bills Drive right now.

Like hitting on 16, this decision has bust written all over it.