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Jehuu loves it in Bills country

Jehuu Caulcrick has rushed for 6,559 yards on Western New York football fields. He would love to add even a few more to that total this year as a backup running back and fullback for the Buffalo Bills.

Caulcrick's rushing total for Clymer High School still stands as the Western New York scholastic record. He was named Buffalo News Player of the Year in 2002.

While he isn't new to the team -- he appeared in two games late last season -- he's excited about his first Bills training camp.

"Most of the time I was either in football season or at another football camp, so I never had the opportunity to come," Caulcrick said. "But it's great, to see all the fans come by and support the local guys like me, [wide receiver Naaman] Roosevelt, all those guys."

Caulcrick, who rushed for 2,395 yards and 39 touchdowns during his career at Michigan State, carried only once for the Bills last season, going for 2 yards and a first down. It is his only NFL carry.

At 6-foot, 269-pounds, Caulcrick has a bruising running style. A running back his whole career, his size and physicality have helped the 28-year-old break into the NFL as a fullback.

"Wherever they need me, I'm more than happy to go in there and play," Caulcrick said. "I'm just trying to bust my butt on special teams, and at the end of the day I'm just trying to be on the roster come Sept. 11."

Special teams may be Caulcrick's best chance at making the squad, with veterans Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller and rookie Johnny White solidly ahead on the depth chart at running back, and Corey McIntyre holding on to the starting fullback spot.

The Bills kept four backs on the roster to start last year. But if Caulcrick can bring something extra to the running back job, by being more than just a blocking fullback, it might enhance his chance to make the team.

McIntyre, who played in all 16 games for the Bills last season, said he sees some similarities between himself and Caulcrick.

"He has a very low center of gravity like me, he's very powerful like me," the 32-year-old McIntyre said, adding that that's what is required of an NFL fullback. "It takes a hard-nosed player, a dirty player who just doesn't mind getting in there."

Caulcrick said he's taking competition at the camp seriously, and he knows he's going to have to put in the effort to make the final roster.

"I'm going into camp and everything with the attitude of, yes, I'm going to make the team," Caulcrick said. "But I've got to work to do that. I can't get complacent. I can't take anything for granted. Each day I'll make the most of every opportunity I get out here."

Caulcrick finished second in rushing touchdowns, third in total touchdowns (40) and 10th in rushing yards in his career at Michigan State. In his senior season, Caulcrick set what were then single-season Spartan records for touchdowns (21) and points scored (126).

After going undrafted, Caulcrick was signed to the New York Jets' practice squad before the 2008 season, and was on and off the squad before being picked up for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' practice squad in December 2009.

He signed a future contract with San Francisco in January 2010, was released in November and two days later was picked up by the Bills, who promoted him to the 53-man roster on Nov. 19.

Caulcrick, an avid Bills fan in his high school days, thought he would never get a chance to play for his hometown team.

"I thought my best chance was when I first came out of college, I was going to get a shot to come out here, and things didn't work out," he said. "Things came full circle, I came back home, so I'm real excited about that."

Caulcrick made his lone rush of the season in a 49-31 win over Cincinnati on Nov. 21 and is itching to get involved even more this season.

"It doesn't matter where I'm at," he said. "Be it special teams, be it tailback, fullback, whatever. I just want to be on the field."

Especially when it's one his heroes played on.

"I loved the Bills growing up," he said. "Being a local guy, watching those guys play when I was younger, it's definitely a dream come true. I had the opportunity to play in the stadium back when I was in high school, and I have the opportunity to do that now as a pro, and it's a great feeling."

email: skilb@buffnews.com