WR Price back with Bills

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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) – Peerless Price signed a four-year contract with the Buffalo Bills on Monday, rejoining the team with which he’s enjoyed the most success.

A seven-year NFL veteran, the wide receiver returns to the Bills after failed stints with Atlanta and Dallas – moves that came after he forced a trade from Buffalo to the Falcons three years ago. His new contract is worth more than $10 million and includes additional incentives should he take over as the Bills No. 1 receiver.

The signing comes a week after the Bills traded disgruntled starter Eric Moulds to Houston. Price is expected to compete for his former No. 2 spot behind Lee Evans, who has begun practicing at Moulds’ position.

Price’s agent, Tim McGee, said Moulds’ departure led him to contact the Bills last week, believing the team could use an established receiver and his client could regain his spark in a familiar environment.

“Very seldom do you see all the things fall in place in this business, but I thought it was one of those situations where it was a no-brainer,” said McGee. “When I called him and told him what I wanted to do, he probably thought that I was a little crazy. … But I thought it was a win-win situation.”

Anticipating Moulds’ departure, the Bills had already bolstered their receiving corps last month by re-signing Josh Reed and adding free-agent Andre’ Davis.

Price was Buffalo’s second-round pick in the 1999 draft and enjoyed his best season in 2002 when he and Moulds were among the NFL’s most productive duos. Price set career highs that season with 94 catches for 1,252 yards and nine touchdowns, finishing second to Moulds, who set franchise records with 100 catches for 1,292 yards.

The solid production then came in the final year of Price’s contract.

The Bills initially prevented Price from becoming a free agent by designating him their franchise player. With Buffalo’s permission to seek a trade, Price negotiated a $37 million deal that included a $10 million bonus with Atlanta. In return, the Falcons traded Buffalo a first-round draft pick.

Price struggled in Atlanta, failing to build a chemistry in a predominantly run-oriented system behind quarterback Michael Vick. He had 109 catches for 1,413 yards and seven touchdowns in two years with the Falcons before he was released before last season.

Price then signed with Dallas, reuniting with former Bills quarterback Drew Bledsoe. But he again struggled in finding his role. He was released by the Cowboys in December after getting six catches for 96 yards in only seven games.

All Price needed, McGee said, was to find the right fit.

“He got a taste of the grass on the other side. And I don’t necessarily say the grass wasn’t greener. But sometimes you’ve got to go back home. It’s kind of funny,” McGee said. “He’s the same wide receiver he was when he caught 90-plus balls in Buffalo.”

In 103 career games, including 83 starts, Price has 347 catches for 4,811 yards and 28 touchdowns.

“Peerless has shown what he can do,” McGee said. “It’s just a matter of getting refocused and rekindle his career by showing he can do it. He hasn’t lost a step.”

AP-ES-04-10-06 1704EDT

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