"I was completely surprised. He's a guy that has been contributing not only on special teams, but he played a lot in the games, too," running back Fred Jackson said. "It was shocking, but he's a tremendous player, so I think he'll bounce somewhere and get right back on his feet."
Choice, who had four games remaining on his one-year contract, had been used more sparingly this season. Coach Doug Marrone said the Bills want to get a closer look at undrafted rookie Ronnie Wingo and stressed the team was on good terms with Choice, a sixth-year veteran.
"I talked to Tashard. Normally those are private conversations, but what I told him was that he did not do anything that made us look to do it," Marrone said. "It was more of a sense of us trying to better ourselves. I've always appreciated his enthusiasm here. I've always appreciated the way he's gone to work here."
Jackson and fellow running back C.J. Spiller wore Choice's No. 20 jersey at Wednesday's practice but said they weren't trying to send a message in doing so.
"We definitely weren't protesting. We were just showing him that we were thinking about him today," Jackson said. "He's a guy that, like I said, has been our brother in that room for three years. We just wanted to let him know that we were thinking about him and we had him with us today in spirit."
Ultimately, Choice is a former employee of the organization who was terminated Wednesday, so as a team captain, Jackson walks a fine line in honoring Choice at practice. However, he made it clear there was no disconnect with decision makers.
"It was just something we did on our own. Coach Marrone knows that we're not the type of guys that are going to come out here and try and create a scene and do anything like that," Jackson said. "He knows that we care about everybody on this team. We care about the guys in our locker room and we were just showing him a sign of respect."
Marrone said he didn't have a problem with Jackson's gesture.
"Our players have done that stuff before. So I wouldn't look too much into that. I don't really take a close eye at that. I don't see it that way at all," he said. "I think every time that someone leaves that has been a good pro, I think it does take something out. I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge that. But I think it's also a time where you say, 'Hey, we got to go to work and move forward.'"