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Bills haven't wavered about wanting Lynch

4/23/2010
Despite drafting C.J. Spiller, right, the Bills insist Marshawn Lynch remains in their plans. US Presswire

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills general manager Buddy Nix and head coach Chan Gailey haven't lied yet.

That's why we have no choice but to believe them when they suggest Marshawn Lynch will remain a part of the team.

The Bills drafted running back C.J. Spiller with the ninth pick Thursday night. The decision was mildly surprising because they already had two 1,000-yard backs.

As soon as Spiller's name was announced, observers saw it as a clear indication Lynch should start cleaning out his locker.

But the Bills remained consistent in their comments about Lynch. Nix reiterated his stance from a month ago and again last week that he wants Lynch on the roster.

I asked Nix what Spiller's addition means for Lynch's status with the Bills.

"Nothing," Nix replied. "Doesn't change a thing. He's still ours. We intend for him to be here."

That's essentially what the Bills have said all along about Lynch. Despite his baggage, his decision not to participate in voluntary offseason workouts after losing his job as featured back and incessant reports claiming the Bills want to move him, Nix and Gailey have professed their desire to keep Lynch.

Their comments leading up to the draft weren't misleading about Spiller, either.

At the NFL owners meetings last month, Gailey hinted at the type of player the Bills were targeting when he spoke about the importance of adding a running back that offers a different style than the more physical Lynch and Fred Jackson.

"The guys that are coming out now," Gauley said, "there's a bunch of those 5-foot-9, 185-pound or 195-pound, quick-as-a-cat water bugs that are running backs-slash-receivers that might give you a little bit of a punch on the field, maybe make a big play."

Spiller is about 5-foot-11 and 196 pounds. Nix confirmed they view him as a running back/receiver by comparing him to New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush and Minnesota Vikings receiver Percy Harvin.

But to hear Gailey speak about that brand of running back and knowing all of Buffalo's significant needs, it was easy to think he was referring to a pick in the later rounds for, say, Mississippi scatback Dexter McCluster or Southern Methodist's Shawnbrey McNeal.

Just last week, Nix went out of his way to warn reporters not to assume they were going after any specific position. A high percentage of mock drafts had them selecting an offensive tackle or a defensive lineman.

"Let me try to make this where it won't be a shock come draft day or at the end of the draft," Nix said last week. "You read about all the things we need. We've got to have a left tackle. We've got to have a quarterback. We've got to have this. The way we see our players is probably a little different than the way you guys see them. When somebody writes that you need a left tackle, you've got to have a left tackle, then it just grows and it moves around. It gets bigger.

"This is the point I'm trying to make: When it comes time, if we think there's two left tackles in the draft that can come in at No. 9 and make an immediate impact, can play from Day 1, that's what we expect from a top-10 draft choice. That's what we want. Now, if one of those two are not there, then we would look at the next need we have, which might be quarterback, it might be something else.

"Our philosophy is to put as many good players on this team as we can. We would like to fill a need, but if we can't, we want to make sure we don't compound the problem by putting another one in that position that cannot play."

Thus far, the Bills' new front office hasn't fibbed, and you can't say that about a lot of clubs.

When they say they're keeping Lynch, although it seems counterintuitive, you have to believe them at this point.