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Bills likely to lose Greer and Crowell

INDIANAPOLIS -- Don't expect cornerback Jabari Greer or linebacker Angelo Crowell back with the Buffalo Bills next season.

Those are two of the team's veteran players set to hit the free agent market. NFL sources said both are expected to sign with other teams once the free-agency shopping season starts on Friday.

The news is no surprise.

Greer, who started 13 games for the Bills in 2007 and 10 in 2008, is poised to strike it rich on the market. Cornerback has been one of the highest priority positions in free agency in recent years and salaries at the position have skyrocketed.

Indianapolis this week signed cornerback Kelvin Hayden to an $8 million-a-year deal.

It's believed the Bills have made a substantial offer to Greer. However, Greer has been waiting five years for the chance to be an unrestricted free agent. Given the demand for cornerbacks, Greer can't afford to not see what offers are out there for him.

Greer missed the last six games of the Bills season with a sprained knee but is healthy now.

Russ Brandon, Bills chief operating officer, had this to say about Greer on Friday:

"I think Jabari knows how we feel about him. We've been in constant communication with his representatives as well. We'd love to have Jabari back in the mix. We'll do everything within our power to have him in the mix. He certainly knows our feelings bout him."

The Bills, however, are positioned to replace Greer since they drafted Leodis McKelvin with the 11th overall pick in last year's draft.

Crowell has been with the Bills six seasons. He missed all of 2008 after being abruptly placed on the injured-reserve list days before the season opener. Crowell decided to have knee surgery after the final preseason game of the summer, and the Bills were not happy with the timing of the decision. Crowell subsequently had an extensive clean-up of the knee.

Crowell stated at the end of the season he would be open to returning to the Bills. However, league sources said he will draw some interest in the open market, and he is expected to start fresh with another organization.

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Brandon was asked if the arrest of running back Marshawn Lynch would affect the Bills' draft preparation or draft plan in any way.

"I think we have to reserve judgment at this point and see how the process plays out," Brandon said. "As far as our draft preparation, we approach it each and every year the same way, to try to add quality football players to our team regardless of the position."

Given the Bills' other needs' it's hard to imagine them investing a high pick on a running back. However, it's never a bad idea for teams to pick a back in the later rounds. The Bills have done so three of the previous four years, with Lionel Gates, Dwayne Wright and Xavier Omon.

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Turk Schonert on the subject of the Bills' burning time outs during the season:

"It happens with everybody. New England wasted a time out against us. Did anyone say anything about it? No, because they won the game. You saw how many teams had to burn time outs in the playoffs. It happens. As long as it doesn't happen all the time and five times a game. But through the course of the season it's going to happen. You look at where the spots are. You're getting a spotter say it's third and two but then it's really third and one. Or we're closer than we thought or we're further than we thought.

"Then there were times where all of a sudden I call for Marshawn and Fred to be in the game, but I'm told Marshawn's out. So now we have to adjust. There's things that happen during the course of the season that are going to cause you to get a play in a little late. So you go. You try to get it off. If you've got to burn a time out, you burn a time out. I learned from [Hall of Famer] Bill Walsh. He said first half time outs are overrated. If you've got to use one you use one, don't make a big deal out of it. I don't know why so many people make a big deal out of time outs. If you don't score at the end of the first half, you don't score. You go into half time, you regroup, you've got a whole half to go. If you've got to run a two minute drill with no time outs in the first half you do it. The second half is a different story."

e-mail: mgaughan@buffnews.com

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