Riemersma has until June 1

Jay Riemersma could be the next Bills veteran to undergo salary restructuring that would help the team's salary-cap position and solidify his own position with the team.

On Monday, fullback Larry Centers agreed to a contract extension and slightly  reduced salary for 2002, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported.

On Tuesday, Riemersma and his agent, Jack Wirth, said they hoped to have the  tight end's contract restructured as soon as Thursday.

They are working against a virtual deadline of June 1, when the Bills could  release Riemersma to save salary-cap money. He is scheduled to make $2.525  million this year, and $3.5 million in 2003, the final year on his contract.  This year's salary is one of the highest for any NFL tight end.

 "We don't have anything scheduled," Wirth said of his negotiations with the  team. When asked whether he had made a proposal to the team, the agent said  from his Chicago office, "We have gone through all that.

"Nothing has taken place yet. We would hope it will soon. We would like to  get this done while this mini-camp is on."

"I think it has to be soon," said Riemersma. "Obviously, it has to go one way  or the other, and I want to be here. The main point I want to get across is  that it's not true that Jay refused to restructure his contract and help out  the team. I was never dead set against it."

He didn't help his position Tuesday by limping off the practice field with  what head coach Gregg Williams called a "tweaked" left hamstring.

Williams added, "At this time of year, he can watch the rest of the  mini-camp. We know what he can do."

Riemersma, who turned 29 last week, posted career highs of 53 catches and 590  yards last season. He ranks second among Bills tight ends, behind Pete  Metzelaars, with 172 career receptions for 1,954 yards and 20 touchdowns.  Riemersma is three behind O.J. Simpson for 10th place on the team's overall  all-time receptions list.

New quarterback Drew Bledsoe said he was excited about working with both  Riemersma and unrestricted free agent Dave Moore, who have both been in the  lineup at some times during the mini-camp. "Jay is a guy I have admired for a  long time from the other side of the ball," said the former Patriots QB. "For  my first seven years, I had Ben Coates, and watching Jay from afar, I think  he's a guy who can fill that role."

Bills president Tom Donahoe would say only that he had had discussions with  Wirth concerning Riemersma.

The 33-year-old Centers, entering his 13th NFL season, signed a two-year  contract with Buffalo before last season. It is believed the new agreement  would extend his contract through 2003 and provide additional bonus money  this season.

 


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