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Denney back

The Buffalo Bills reached an agreement in principle Thursday on a contract with defensive end Ryan Denney.

The deal will keep the Bills' No. 3 defensive end under contract for what is believed to be four more years. Denney had 26 tackles and four sacks last season as the first end off the bench, playing behind Aaron Schobel and Chris Kelsay.

A 6-foot-7, 275-pounder with good upper-body strength, Denney has not been able to play his way into regular pass-rushing duty but has given the Bills a reliable option in reserve on the defensive front. Denney had three sacks in 2004 and 3.5 sacks in 2003. He was a second-round draft choice in 2002.

The agreement comes a day after the Chicago Bears opted to match the offer sheet the Bills had made to young defensive end Israel Idonije, a restricted free agent. Idonije got a four-year deal worth about $1.8 million a year.

-- Mark Gaughan

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