Bills at camp, but Peters' absence is noted
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Clear skies greeted the Buffalo Bills for the opening of their mandatory camp Wednesday, but a few nasty clouds hovered around the franchise.
Halfback Marshawn Lynch, who was in attendance and was practicing, is awaiting word from the Erie County District Attorney's office whether it was going to charge him for his alleged role in a hit-and-run accident on May 31.
District attorney Frank Clark has said his office believes Lynch was the driver of a 2008 Porsche SUV that struck a woman in downtown Buffalo.
"The Buffalo police department has an ongoing investigation," Bills coach Dick Jauron said. "We have great faith in them, and we have great faith in the legal system. Marshawn has representation, so any comment will come from either him or his lawyer."
Lynch did not do any interviews after the morning practice and has not commented since the incident occurred.
The other cloud involves Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters, who has skipped the offseason program in hopes of getting a new contract.
Peters, who has three years remaining on the five-year, $20.1 million deal he signed in 2006, missed the minicamp Wednesday and might choose to hold out of training camp.
Peters is scheduled to make a base salary of $3.25 million this season, which is considered low for someone playing such a prominent position. His deal ranks third among Bills offensive linemen, behind left guard Derrick Dockery and right tackle Langston Walker, both acquired in free agency last year.
"I wish Jason was here," Jauron said. "This is a mandatory minicamp. He's going to be fined. Since he's not here, there really isn't more to say. We have a bunch of guys out there practicing. We are spending our time with them and having fun. They are having a good time."
Jauron said he thinks Peters will show up at training camp, but he added about Peter's absence at minicamp, "I thought he would be here."
Dick Jauron says Jason Peters will be fined for not being at the team's mandatory minicamp.
Jauron declined to say whether he or anyone in the Bills' front office had spoken with Peters, who also was the only Bills player to miss all 13 of the team's voluntary sessions the past month.
According to the NFL Players Association, the most Peters can be fined is $8,638 for missing one or all three mandatory sessions.
As far as Lynch, who made several nice catches and runs during the 90-minute practice, Jauron didn't want to label Lynch's predicament a distraction for the team.
"I don't think so," Jauron said when asked if it was an issue. "But there is no way you can pretend it is not being publicized. For us, we get to come out and practice football. We can't do anything about it [the Lynch situation]."
Should Lynch be charged, he likely would be able to play most, if not all, of the 2008 season.
The hit-and-run incident is considered a Class A misdemeanor, which usually carries a one-year prison sentence. However, a person who doesn't have a previous record likely won't receive that severe a sentence.
Lynch is not known to have a record, but the NFL might choose to fine or suspend Lynch, depending on the resolution of the case.
As for Peters, if he doesn't show up at camp, the Bills might have to try Walker at left tackle until Peters shows up.
"We've got to be prepared like he's not going to be here, and that's the way we're going to operate in training camp," first-year offensive coordinator Turk Schonert said. "Hopefully, we'll see him soon, sooner rather than later, but we've got to plan like he's not here, because he's not."
John Clayton is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press also was used in this report.
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