PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Peerless Price has discovered a few unexpected benefits since he returned to Buffalo after a three-year absence.
For one, Price didn't need to buy a roadmap to familiarize himself with a city in which he spent the first four years of his NFL career.
"I live right around the corner from where I lived before," the wide receiver said. "So all of this is familiar. And it was easy to get reacquainted and readjusted."
Now, comes the harder part, something for which even Rand McNally can't provide direction: Price retracing his steps to jump-start what had been a promising career before the Bills -- unable to justify his hefty contract -- traded him to Atlanta in March 2003.
"That's what I look to do and that's why I came here," Price said. "Any time you go through what I went through the last couple of years, kick-start, jump-start, it's just to get the juices flowing again, making plays and feeling like you're involved and needed."
Buffalo's second-round pick in the 1999 draft, Price signed with the Bills as a free agent in April, attempting to erase the dreadful memories of his last three seasons.
There were his first two in Atlanta, where he was unable to find his niche in a run-oriented offense led by Michael Vick. The team eventually releasing him before training camp last year. Price then signed with Dallas, getting one start in seven appearances, but never warmed to Cowboys coach Bill Parcells.
Although Price was rewarded by leaving Buffalo, earning a $10 million bonus as part of a $37 million contract he signed upon joining the Falcons, he never gained the premier receiver status he so desired.
Price's best season came in 2003, when he had 64 catches for 838 yards and three touchdowns in Atlanta.
But that was nothing compared to his final season with the Bills, when he had 94 catches for 1,252 yards and nine touchdowns, teaming with Eric Moulds to become among the NFL's top receiving duos.
The Bills, as it turned out, were in need of an established receiver such as Price to replace Moulds, who forced his trade to Houston in April.
Price's new role in Buffalo is similar to the one he had before. He's to serve as the No. 2 receiver to complement Lee Evans, Buffalo's 2004 first-round draft pick. The Bills are also experimenting using Price in the slot, because of his crisp route running ability and capable hands.
"It's like a reunion, man," said receiver Josh Reed, entering his fifth season in Buffalo. "It's even better to see him back in the same form he was in when he left."
Reed said the only noticeable difference he's seen in Price is an increased desire to succeed.
"I can say he's humbled a little bit more," Reed said. "Not to say he was an arrogant guy, but he does go out there and works even harder. He just realizes that this is his opportunity to show all the people that might have doubted him that he still has it."
Price doesn't hide his motivation while acknowledging he was prepared to quit football after what happened in Dallas, the Cowboys eventually granting his request to be released in December.
"I was in the tank. I was thinking about giving up football altogether," Price said. "But what I've learned over the last couple of years is that you've got to persevere."
Another lesson is, unlike Atlanta, finding a place where he fits the offensive scheme. Although the Bills will rely on the run, their offense features numerous multi-receiver sets under first-year coordinator Steve Fairchild.
Price, last spring, had narrowed his choices to New England, Miami and Tampa when, on a whim, he asked his agent to contact the Bills to gauge their interest.
The Bills jumped at the opportunity, and signed Price within days of the first phone call.
Price is eagerly awaiting to play his first game back at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Friday, when the Bills host Cincinnati in a preseason matchup.
"It's going to be exciting. It's going to bring back a lot of memories," Price said. "It's coming home."
Hopefully Price can get back to the receiver he once was with the Bills a few years back... On a side note, I went to the Bills training camp a couple days ago, and Josh Reed gave me one of his gloves! !
SkinSFan22 wrote:Hopefully Price can get back to the receiver he once was with the Bills a few years back... On a side note, I went to the Bills training camp a couple days ago, and Josh Reed gave me one of his gloves! !
That's always cool to hear about. Last Colts game I went to, Vanderjagt gave me his wristband. I'll never forget that experience. I'm sure the same can be said for your experience with Reed. Very cool.
and I was standing right behind you about to ask him for a glove lol, but NO lee evans didnt give me one either lol. you'd think that after going to 10 practices this year i would have one by now but everyone just tells me that they are new gloves so they cant give em away.
2008 bills prediction: 10-6
you know you've been playing too much madden when clinton portis doesn't look right in a 'skins uniform
Joined: 16 Aug 2005
Home Cafe: Football
Location: Fairport: Home of the '91 and '97 NY State Football Champs