ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) -- Thad Lewis will be the Buffalo Bills interim starter after the team elected to stay in-house in its search for an interim replacement for injured rookie quarterback EJ Manuel.
Lewis was promoted off the Bills practice squad and will start Sunday when Buffalo (2-3) hosts Cincinnati (3-2), coach Doug Marrone announced on his weekly show on Buffalo's WGR-Radio on Monday morning.
"Thad gives us the best chance," Marrone said. "We're going to give him an opportunity to see what he has."
Marrone and Bills players won't be made available to the media until later in the day.
Lewis' elevation was regarded as a surprise move, coming a day after the Bills worked out two prospective candidates: Pat White and Dennis Dixon. The Bills also lost out in a bid to sign former Tampa Bay Josh Freeman, who was cut by the Buccaneers last week. Freeman instead agreed to sign with Minnesota late Sunday night.
Manuel is expected to miss at least a few weeks and potentially longer after spraining his right knee in a 37-24 loss to Cleveland on Thursday.
Undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel was the only other quarterback on the Bills' active roster, and he struggled against the Browns in filling in for Manuel. Tuel was ineffective, completing 8 of 20 passes for 80 yards and an interception that was returned for a touchdown.
Lewis is familiar with the Bills' up-tempo style of offense, having spent the past six weeks in Buffalo.
He was acquired by Buffalo in late August in a trade with Detroit in August after Manuel was sidelined with a left knee injury and veteran Kevin Kolb sustained a season-ending concussion.
A few days after joining Buffalo, Lewis went 7 of 16 for 132 yards and a touchdown in backing up fellow newcomer Matt Leinart in the Bills preseason finale, a 35-13 loss to Detroit. Leinart was cut the following day, and the Bills thought enough of Lewis to sign him to their practice squad before the start of the season.
Lewis has one career start since breaking into the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2010. He completed 22 of 32 passes for 204 yards, with a touchdown and interception in the Cleveland Browns' 2012 season finale against Pittsburgh.
Out of Duke, Lewis spent the 2010 season on the St. Louis Rams practice squad. He spent the past two seasons in Cleveland before signing with Detroit this offseason.
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