Bills Notebook: Spragan has tryout

Spragan works out, Bills sign Army FB, Info on Toronto games

Free agent linebacker Donnie Spragan worked out with the Buffalo Bills this past week, reports Scout.com's Ed Thompson. Spragan has played six seasons in the NFL (three with Miami and three with Denver).

Spragan has 277 career tackles with his best season coming in 2004 with the Broncos when he had 68 tackles and one sack. With Denver, Spragan was a full-time starter. Last season with the Dolphins he recorded 38 stops, starting five games.

The 6-foot-3, 242-pound Spragan would be added to fortify Buffalo's depth at outside linebacker. Currently, the Bills have Keith Ellison, Iowa State rookie Alvin Bowen (recently drafted in the 5th round) and Blake Costanzo as OLB reserves. Spragan would most likely slide behind starter Angelo Crowell if signed.

Army FB Signs

Buffalo offensive coordinator Turk Schonert has vowed to re-introduce the fullback into the Bills' offense, after Steve Fairchild's no-FB offense failed miserably.

After not drafting the likes of Owen Schmitt or Peyton Hillis on day two of the draft, Buffalo inked a fullback to a rookie free agent contract, Army's Mike Viti.

Buffalo now has three fullbacks. Practice squad holdover Jonathan Evans and veteran free agent signee Darian Barnes will battle for the starting spot also.

"On Sunday, I was doing a wreath-laying ceremony for Ulysses S. Grant on the anniversary of his death," Viti said. "I took my regimental staff down (to New York City) to honor our general and former president. After that, I came back to West Point to take care of some small things. My family had come up to spend the day with me. The Bills gave me a call late in the seventh round and said they were torn about taking me with the last pick, but if they didn't, they asked me if I'd agree to a free agent contract right after the draft. I just took it from there."

Viti made a good impression at Army's pro day. He didn't run a knockout 40-yard dash (4.86) or vertical leap (31 inches), but Viti shined in the bench press. He cranked out 34 reps on 225 lbs. Only three fullbacks in the last nine years at the NFL Combine have bettered that number.

The fullback and former Army teammate Caleb Campbell (safety picked by Detroit in the 7th round) are the first Army players to enact upon the 2005 Alternative Service Option program, which allows athletes a chance to go pro

The program states that if a player's career goes beyond two seasons, he has the choice of "buying out," the final three years of his active-duty commitment.

A squatty 5-foot-9, 240 lbs., Viti has a extremely low center of gravity, the Bills may seek in their power rushing attack. While scouts say he is effective at the initial point of attack, they also say he doesn't play with aggression and quickness.

Viti, a team captain at Army, played in 45 career games and started 28. He rushed for 321 yards on 91 carries with three touchdowns in his career.

With the Bills, he'll have a legitimate opportunity to start. Not bad for an undrafted free agent.

Still, Viti doesn't see the NFL as the ends-all to his life goals.

"I'm cognizant of the fact that I represent more than just the Buffalo Bills, but also the United States Army. I just have to do the best I can and serve in multiple facets. I don't look at it as backing away from my commitment because I still am serving my country in the role of a recruiter. My service to my nation won't be done when I'm done with the Buffalo Bills because no matter if I spend one day or 10 years in the NFL, I plan on serving my nation when my career is over."

Lots of dough

The Rogers Communications Inc. will pay $78 million (Canadian money) for the eight Bills games to be paid in Toronto at the Rogers Centre, reported the Toronto Star.

The figure comes from Rogers' quarterly financial statements. The $10 million per game cost ousts the estimated revenues from tickets and concessions at Ralph Wilson Stadium per game ($6 million of U.S. money).


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