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Friday, February 27, 2009
A look at Buffalo's four Friday visitors


Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills have announced they will meet with receiver Laveranues Coles and three other free agents Friday.

Also on the agenda are Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, Carolina Panthers center/guard Geoff Hangartner and Pittsburgh Steelers guard Kendall Simmons.

But Coles is the marquee name.

Although the Bills have suggested they wouldn't go after any high-priced free agents, there's a belief they became excited enough with the idea Fred Taylor would join their backfield that they might reach on Coles to add a little star power.

The Bills need to generate excitement among their fans, who perked up when Taylor came to Orchard Park this week for a visit.

Fans certainly would be energized by a Coles signing. His name still has cachet, and the Bills need a No. 2 possession receiver to help open up the offense for Lee Evans.

Fitzpatrick would be the backup to Trent Edwards and wouldn't compete for the starting job, but he'll need to be able to play given Edwards' track record of injuries. Fitzpatrick started 12 games for the Bengals last year when Carson Palmer got hurt. Fitzpatrick completed 59.4 percent of his passes for 1,905 yards and eight touchdowns with nine interceptions.

Hangartner likely would be Buffalo's center. He started four games at center, two games at left guard and two games at right guard for Carolina last year. He started 15 games at center in 2006, one season after Carolina drafted him in the fifth round out of Texas A&M.

Simmons, a seventh-year pro, started the first four games at right guard last season before suffering an Achilles injury and landing on injured reserve.

He was drafted 30th overall out of Auburn in 2002 and became a fixture on the Steelers line, starting 76 regular-season games in the five seasons he played and winning a Super Bowl. He missed 2004 because of a knee injury suffered in training camp.