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'Skins, Steelers visit Bills in preseason slate

The Buffalo Bills will play the Washington Redskins and Pittsburgh Steelers in home preseason games this summer. The Bills will visit Minnesota and Detroit in their two road exhibition games. The NFL announced the preseason matchups Wednesday.

The exact dates for the games have yet to be finalized.

The exhibition opener against Washington could be the debut of quarterback Robert Griffin III. Washington owns the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL Draft and is expected to take the Heisman Trophy winner from Baylor University. The game is to be played between Aug. 9 and 13.

The Minnesota game will be played Aug. 16-20. The Steelers will visit Ralph Wilson Stadium the weekend of Aug. 23-26.

The Detroit game, Aug. 29 or 30, marks the 11th straight year the Bills have faced the Lions in the preseason finale. The Bills were supposed to play an exhibition game in Toronto this summer, but that game was shifted back to Buffalo. The Bills still will play one regular-season home game in Toronto's Rogers Centre.

The Bills do not face any of their exhibition opponents in the regular season.

Meanwhile, several draft prospects visited One Bills Drive on Wednesday, including Alabama running back Trent Richardson, who is expected to be a top five or six pick in the first round. Others were Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones, Ohio State tackle Mike Adams and Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson.


Eagles sign Bell

Buffalo Bills free agent tackle Demetress Bell found a home after three weeks on the NFL's open market. Bell signed a five-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles, the team announced.

The move was precipitated by the recent injury to Eagles starting left tackle Jason Peters, who tore his Achilles tendon in a workout in Texas, where he lives. Peters probably is out for the season.

Bell's departure from the Bills has been expected since the end of the regular season. The Bills made an offer to Bell to return to the team. But it was apparent the Bills were not going to make a big, long-term commitment to him, and Bell looked to the free-agent market for a better opportunity. Bell missed big parts of two of the last three seasons due to injury. His season was limited to eight games in 2009 due to a torn knee ligament. He played all 16 games in 2010. He was limited to six starts and seven games overall due to a shoulder injury in 2011. When he played last season, he performed pretty well.

Bell had visited Washington, Arizona and Pittsburgh and also had drawn interest from Green Bay.

Bell used the signing as an opportunity to correct the spelling of his first name. He went by Demetrius all his life. But according to the Eagles, he recently needed his birth certificate and found that his legal name was Demetress.


Around the league

*New Orleans head coach Sean Payton, General Manager Mickey Loomis and assistant head coach Joe Vitt are set to have their NFL appeals heard today with commissioner Roger Goodell regarding the punishment they've received for their roles in New Orleans' bounty system. If the decision stays, Payton will sit out the whole season, while Loomis will serve an eight-game suspension that begins before the opener.

*Wide receiver Torry Holt signed a one-day contract so he could retire with the St. Louis Rams, with whom he was a key part of a Super Bowl champion and the Greatest Show on Turf.