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Brandon optimistic of return to Fisher

Bills CEO Russ Brandon said the team is close to an agreement with St. John Fisher College that will keep the team at the school for many years.

"St. John Fisher makes it work," Brandon said Thursday at the conclusion of training camp. "The staff and everything about this campus and everything about this camp make this one of the best places to prepare in the National Football League. [There are] no doubts we are going to be back here."

The Bills' current deal with St. John Fisher ended Thursday, which marked the conclusion of training camp. While there are issues that need to be addressed -- namely the shortened grass field behind the stadium -- Brandon is optimistic a new deal can be reached.

"We have had a tremendous decade here at Fisher with the President and the staff," said Brandon, a graduate of the school. "This is a tremendous place to prepare and we have had a lot of discussions over the last month and the long and short of it is I think we are closing in on an agreement for St. John Fisher to be the summer home of the Bills for many years to come."

Prior to this year, Fisher had two 100-yard grass fields behind the stadium but with the addition of a track and field stadium the fields were reduced to 50 yards each.

"Not real good," said Bills coach Chan Gailey about the setup. "Very cramped."

The shortened fields prevented the Bills from working on elements in the passing game and special teams.

"You had to work at the same spot on the field a lot," Gailey said. "We had to go over to the turf and do full special teams. We had to go to the stadium back and forth, things like that. It wasn't terrible but it could be better."

Brandon said both parties will seek a viable resolution.

"Obviously Fisher has been incredibly accommodating and we have been talking about how we can work through the field conditions and I think we made it work even though it wasn't ideal," he said. "I think we may have a solution."

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Receiver Roscoe Parrish and tight end Shawn Nelson will join linebacker Shawne Merriman (leg) as injury scratches for Saturday's preseason game at Denver.

Parrish, who practiced Thursday, is recovering from a hamstring injury.

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Gailey said the defense made strides during camp, but the offense is still developing.

"We still have a long way to go," he said. "I feel that we've improved ourselves on the defensive side of the ball. I feel that our running game has improved from last year. We've got a long way to go in the timing of our passing game. That's just the bottom line."

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Chris Hazley was released Thursday. The undrafted rookie kicker from Virginia Tech had the near-impossible task of beating out veteran incumbent Rian Lindell.

e-mail: rmckissic@buffnews.com