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Running back position could turn into a need for Bills

Running back was thought to be one of the deepest positions on the Buffalo Bills heading into training camp.

But some unwelcome news the past couple of days has served as a reminder that in the NFL, things can change in a hurry.

Karlos Williams’ four-game suspension will leave the Buffalo Bills without their No. 2 running back from a season ago to start 2016. Rookie Jonathan Williams, a fifth-round draft pick in May, was expected to push Karlos Williams for the backup job at training camp. He may still do that, but is dealing with his Thursday morning arrest in Arkansas for driving while intoxicated.

The Bills also have Mike Gillislee, James Wilder Jr. and Boom Herron on the roster as depth behind starter LeSean McCoy, but if recent events have General Manager Doug Whaley eager to add to the position, there are several notable players still available.

Here is a list of six of them:

1. Arian Foster

Last team: Houston Texans

Age: 29

Experience: Eighth season

Statistics: 76 games, 1,454 carries, 6,472 yards, 54 TDs

The latest: Foster tore his Achilles in October, but ESPN reported last month that he expects to be 100 percent by training camp. He visited the Miami Dolphins this offseason.

2. Joique Bell

Last team: Detroit Lions

Age: 29

Experience: Sixth season

Statistics: 68 games, 561 carries, 2,235 yards, 22 TDs

The latest: Bell started his career as an undrafted free agent with the Bills in 2010, making the team’s practice squad, before the Eagles claimed him. He visited the Bills as a free agent earlier this offseason after being released by the Lions.

3. Toby Gerhart

Last team: Jacksonville Jaguars

Age: 29

Experience: Seventh season

Statistics: 82 games, 397 carries, 1,675 yards, 7 TDs

The latest: Gerhart was released by the Jaguars in March after two disappointing seasons in which he averaged just 3.0 yards per carry. The low point might have come against the Bills in London when Gerhart was stuffed four times in a row from 1-yard outside the end zone.

4. Reggie Bush

Last team: San Francisco 49ers

Age: 31

Experience: 11th season

Statistics: 121 games, 1,274 carries, 5,493 yards, 35 TDs

The latest: Bush tore his ACL last year when he slipped on the concrete surrounding the field in St. Louis, but has said he’d like to continue playing and has drawn some interest from teams.

5. Fred Jackson

Last team: Seattle Seahawks

Age: 35

Experience: 10th season

Statistics: 122 games, 1,305 carries, 5,746 yards, 30 TDs

The latest: Jackson’s numbers dipped last year in his first season with the Seahawks after being released by the Bills, but the oldest running back in the league still wants to play. The question is whether the Bills would be interested in a reunion.

6. Boobie Dixon

Last team: Buffalo Bills

Age: 28

Experience: Seventh season

Statistics: 96 games, 274 carries, 934 yards, 11 TDs

The latest: Dixon was released by the Bills in March in a move that saved the team about $1 million in salary-cap space. He played a minimal role on offense in 2015, so it’s hard to see how the Bills would be interested in a reunion.


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