Bills ‘close’ to signing rookie first-round draft pick, G Eric Wood

By John Wawrow, AP
Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bills ‘close’ to signing rookie G Wood

PITTSFORD, N.Y. — The Buffalo Bills are “close” to signing first-round draft pick Eric Wood, with coach Dick Jauron saying he’s optimistic the guard will report to camp by Wednesday.

“We’re close,” Jauron said, following a training camp practice Tuesday night. “I know we’re optimistic. I’m very hopeful … so that would be great news for everybody.”

It would be great news for the Bills, because they’re counting on Wood to start immediately at right guard on a completely revamped line that’s expected to feature two rookie starters and no returning players at the same position.

Wood’s agent, David Dunn, was not immediately available for comment. Wood has spent the past week in Buffalo waiting for negotiations to end so he can report to camp 90 minutes away in suburban Rochester.

General manager Russ Brandon also announced Tuesday that the Bills have “no interest at this time” in signing Michael Vick a day after the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback was conditionally reinstated to the league. Brandon said the team is comfortable with its current roster, which features Trent Edwards entering his second full season at starter.

Wood is the second of Buffalo’s two first-round picks. He was chosen with the 28th overall pick out of Louisville. He started 49 straight games in college at center and was a Big East Conference first-team selection last season.

The Bills intend to convert Wood into a guard, and are counting on him to take over for Brad Butler, who’s being shifted to right tackle. Langston Walker is switching to left tackle, after two-time Pro Bowl center Jason Peters was traded to Philadelphia. The Bills signed Geoff Hangartner in free agency to take over at center, while rookie second-round pick Andy Levitre is competing to start at left guard.

Wood has so far missed six practices since the team opened camp Saturday.

The Bills have yet to sign the other first-round pick, defensive end Aaron Maybin, and second-rounder Jairus Byrd, a safety.

Reserve defensive tackle John McCargo missed practice Tuesday night because of a hamstring injury, which Jauron described as minor. Starting defensive tackle Marcus Stroud returned to practice after missing two days with a hamstring injury.

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