Bills, Scott Chandler agree to deal
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Bills tight end Scott Chandler spent four seasons bouncing around the NFL to appreciate a good fit.
So when it came time to decide between testing free agency and re-signing with Buffalo where he enjoyed a breakout season last year, the choice was easy, Chandler said Thursday after signing a two-year contract with the team.
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"I can't see anywhere else in the league where I fit better than Buffalo," Chandler said. "I know the offense. I know the coaching staff. I know the players. It's a great fit for me. I think it's a great fit for the Bills. And I'm excited to be back."
The deal was reached before Chandler was eligible to become a free agent next week. And it comes on the heels of the Bills retaining another key member of their offense after receiver Stevie Johnson was re-signed to a five-year contract on Monday.
With six touchdowns, Chandler and Johnson combined for 13 scores in helping the Ryan Fitzpatrick-led offense make strides in finishing 13th in the NFL in yards passing. That was a major step for an offense that had finished 22nd or worse in each of the previous eight seasons.
Chandler was so excited about the deal that he announced it himself on his Twitter account, by writing: "Nowhere else I want to be!"
Claimed by the Bills off waivers in December 2010, Chandler capitalized on his first opportunity to be a full-time starter last year. He finished with 38 catches for 389 yards in 14 games. His six touchdowns -- four of them coming in Buffalo's first three games -- tied a single-season franchise record for tight ends shared by Pete Metzelaars in 1992, and Jay Riemersma in 1998.
That's a big jump in production for a player who had no catches before landing in Buffalo.
Selected by San Diego in the fourth round of the 2007 draft out of Iowa, Chandler had difficulty finding his niche in the NFL. He appeared in only one game over two seasons with the Chargers, where he was stuck playing behind star Antonio Gates.
He then split the next two years between the New York Giants and Dallas, before the Cowboys waived him during the 2010 season.
"From where I've been in my career, to where I am now, it's kind of night and day," Chandler said. "I'm so excited and ready to get in there and start another season with the Bills."
At 6-foot-7, Chandler presented a big target in the red zone in helping Buffalo get off to a surprising 5-2 start before the team unraveled in part due to a rash of injuries and closed the year losing eight of its final nine games. Chandler was hampered by an ankle injury, which forced him to miss two games in December.
With Johnson also returning, Chandler senses an air of confidence in Buffalo for a team that's gone 12 years without making the playoffs.
"I think we all feel there's something brewing here," he said. "I think we're all continuing to grow, and a lot of guys are coming into their prime. I think we're ready to make a run."
General manager Buddy Nix and Metzelaars, who takes over as the Bills tight ends coach, both expressed a desire to re-sign Chandler over the past two months.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
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