ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) – The last thing Travis Henry wanted was another season in Willis McGahee’s shadow in Buffalo. The last thing the Bills wanted was the distraction a disgruntled player can cause.

The problems were solved Monday when Bills president Tom Donahoe announced he traded Henry to the Tennessee Titans for a third-round pick in next year’s draft.

The deal ends a standoff between the team and player after Henry vowed not to play the final year of his contract with Buffalo next season. Henry, the Bills’ former starter, did not attend the team’s minicamp sessions last spring.

, unhappy after losing his job to McGahee in October.

Donahoe said he didn’t want the disgruntled player’s status to become a distraction once the Bills report for training camp July 29.

“We’re really not interested in having players here that don’t want to be here. It just creates a distraction,” Donahoe said. “The focus should be on the football team. It shouldn’t be on individuals, on contracts, players that are disgruntled. … I think it’s good for our team that this is out of the way.”

In granting Henry’s trade demand, the Bills provided the running back a homecoming of sorts after he played his college career at Tennessee. He is the Volunteers’ career leading rusher with 3,078 yards – an average of 5.5 yards per carry.

A spokesman for the Titans declined comment on the deal.

Tennessee had been attempting to negotiate a contract extension with Henry, who is scheduled to make a base salary of $1.25 million next season. The extension was not key to the trade being completed.

Donahoe said Henry was expected to report to the Titans and take a physical on Tuesday.

Donahoe said the Titans had agreed to the deal in principle last Tuesday and that the NFL had approved the terms of the deal Friday.

Neither Henry nor agent Hadley Engelhard was immediately available for comment.

The Titans were looking for a capable alternative to two-year veteran Chris Brown, who hasn’t played an entire NFL season because of injuries. Brown is hurt again, recuperating after breaking his right hand during a minicamp practice in May.

Henry, Buffalo’s second-round pick in 2001, enjoyed 1,300 yard rushing seasons in 2002 and 03. Henry missed only one game in 2003 despite nursing a rib injury and a broken bone in his right leg.

Henry had 326 yards rushing in five starts last season, and missed the final five games with torn ligaments in his right ankle.

Donahoe said the Titans expressed the most serious interest in Henry over the past few months, adding that Seattle and Jacksonville also contacted the team.

Donahoe said the Jaguars’ interest in Henry was inconsistent. He said the Jaguars backed out of the running on July 11. Donahoe said the Jaguars then renewed their interest the following day, but after the Bills had agreed to the deal in principle with Tennessee.

Donahoe said the Bills were adamant in getting at least a third-round pick.

“We felt we couldn’t live with less than that pick, and if we didn’t get that pick, we were prepared to go to training camp with him on the roster,” Donahoe said. “Whether he showed up or not, that would be another issue.”

The Bills have already addressed their running back depth, signing former Dallas backup ReShard Lee last May. Also on their depth chart are returning veterans Joe Burns and Shaud Williams.

AP-ES-07-18-05 1911EDT


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