Gash to challenge at FB

Sam Gash, a 12th-year NFL veteran, returns for a second stint with the Bills, after three seasons with Baltimore. Gash, who has just 120 NFL carries and two rushing touchdowns through 11 seasons, is best-known for his devastating lead-blocking. He should challenge Philip Crosby for the starting job this season.

Last year was a bit of a waste for the 34-year-old. He played behind Alan Ricard and saw most of his action on special teams. He had missed Baltimore's first game because he wasn't on the team.

In fact, in a strange series of maneuvers, Baltimore signed Gash the last week of the preseason, waived him seven days later before the regular season began, and then re-signed him after the first game. Apparently, the release and re-sign was a salary cap-savings tactic. Gash was inactive the next four games while working himself into the offense. During that time, a hamstring injury didn't help matters.

Some might wonder if Gash has anything left. He had arthroscopic ankle surgery in January. But he's worth the risk. He certainly was good in his two seasons for the Bills in 1998 and '99, making the Pro Bowl each season. He's also a leadership presence and a special teams addition.

Gash said recently that he physically felt as if he could play another four or five years - particulalry because last season was a wash - so perhaps the Bills will get their money's worth.


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