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Add Roscoe Parrish To The List Of Possibles?


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DiCesare: Parrish may be luxury receiver Bills can't afford to keep

The very first day of his very first mini-camp Roscoe Parrish dazzled. He flashed catch-me- later speed, now-you-see-me, now-you're-toast quickness. It didn't take keen football smarts to recognize from the outset that Parrish qualified as unique, the kind of player who could turn nothing into an electrifying, circuitous romp to the end zone.

Bobby April, the Buffalo Bills special teams coach, reacted like a teenager who'd just been gifted a Ferrari. He couldn't wait to utilize this new addition in the return game, let him roam, free and wild. And Parrish didn't disappoint, averaging double figures in punt returns each of his first four seasons, leading the league in average each of the last two.

Yet as the Buffalo Bills played their second preseason game of 2009 Saturday night, beating the Chicago Bears, 27-20, at Ralph Wilson Stadium, the prospect loomed large that Parrish will be wearing another jersey by season's start, or perhaps soon thereafter. The Bills are short on room in their receiving corps. They have other, albeit more risky, options in the return game. And, significantly, the elimination of Parrish's three-year, $10 million deal that runs through '11 would free up dollars and cap room as they tend to other expiring contracts, such as cornerback Terrence McGee's.

Trouble is, the one-year contract that made Terrell Owens a Bill distorts the long-range perspective. With Owens in uniform, Parrish seems somewhat of a luxury, much more a return specialist than a receiver. The other starting spots belong to Lee Evans and Josh Reed. Justin Jenkins' value is magnified by his role on special teams. Two of last year's draft choices, James Hardy and Steve Johnson, aren't going anywhere. Unless the start of Hardy's season is delayed by his recovery from knee surgery, the Bills would have to carry seven wide receivers to retain Parrish. It's unlikely.

Given that he's been utilized primarily as a return man, Parrish isn't sure he wants to stick around, although he wasn't quite that specific after Friday's walkthrough at St. John Fisher. He carefully walked the line, saying only that he covets an opportunity to prove his worth at receiver. But it's known that he feels undervalued in his current role, and that his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, is pushing for the Bills to move him and give him a chance to flourish elsewhere in a more complete capacity.

If the Bills deal Parrish

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