Reid Forrest says he's headed to paradise

NO ONE HAS EVER described Buffalo, N.Y., as paradise, but Reid Forrest seems willing to be the first. Forrest, upbeat and enthusiastic by nature, was bouncing off the walls of his Ephrata home Wednesday morning before racing to Spokane to fly to Buffalo to sign an NFL free agent contract with the Bills."

I'm trying to organize my life right now," Forrest said as he hurriedly packed his bags to pursue his longtime dream of playing in the NFL.

Forrest said Bills special teams coordinator Bruce DeHaven was impressed with him at the annual NFL Combine last spring in Indianapolis.

When the lockout-induced ban on contacting undrafted college players ended Monday night, DeHaven was quick to phone Forrest.

"He said, ‘I wouldn't bring you in if I didn't think you could be our guy,'" Forrest said.

Forrest said he believes his only competition will be returning punter Brian Moorman "unless they sign a veteran free agent in the next few days."

Last season, Moorman ranked 23rd in the NFL with 42.4 yards per punt. "He's been there 10 years," Forrest said, "but like the coach (DeHaven) said, he didn't exactly do things they wanted him to do last year."

Forrest ranked third in the Pacific-10 Conference and seventh in the Football Bowl Subdivision with a 45.42 average last year. That was less than a yard short of the FBS-leading mark of 46.37 of Mississippi's Tyler Campbell, and less than half a yard short of the conference-leading mark of 45.84 by UCLA's Jeff Locke.

Rian Lindell of the 1998 WSU Rose Bowl team is the longtime place-kicker of the Bills.

Forrest realizes he faces a major challenge trying to stick with Buffalo. "It's the NFL," he said. "You're going to be in an uphill climb. Those guys don't want to give up their job."

The Bills' preseason opener is Sept. 13 at Chicago.

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