Rhodes joins Bills with two-year deal

Updated: April 19, 2009, 12:34 PM ET
Associated Press

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Running back Dominic Rhodes agreed to a two-year contact with the Buffalo Bills, giving Buffalo an established starter while Marshawn Lynch opens next season serving a three-game suspension.

[+] EnlargeDominic Rhodes
Stan Liu/US PresswireDominic Rhodes led Indianapolis with six rushing touchdowns last season.
Rhodes is an eight-year veteran who became a free agent this offseason after spending last year with Indianapolis. The deal was announced Saturday and comes after Rhodes visited the Bills this past week.

The Bills needed to bolster their depth at running back after the NFL last week suspended Lynch without pay for violating the league's personal conduct policy. Lynch has until next week to appeal.

Rhodes is the latest addition to a revamped offense that will now feature receiver Terrell Owens. Buffalo is also retooling its offensive line after trading Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters to Philadelphia on Friday and releasing left guard Derrick Dockery in February.

The Bills are coming off three consecutive 7-9 seasons and haven't made the playoffs in nine years -- the longest drought in franchise history.

Rhodes spent the 2007 season with Oakland and returned to the Colts last season, sharing starting duties with Joseph Addai. In 15 games, Rhodes had 538 yards rushing, including a team-leading six touchdowns rushing. He added 302 yards and three TDs receiving.

WK 16 Can't-Miss Play: Take the easy Rhodes

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Running back Dominic Rhodes takes a pass from Peyton Manning 10 yards for a TD.

Rhodes broke into the NFL in 2001, when he was signed by the Colts as an undrafted free agent out of Midwestern State. He enjoyed his best statistical season as a rookie, setting career bests with 1,104 yards rushing and nine touchdowns. Rhodes also played a key role in helping Indianapolis win the 2007 Super Bowl.

His versatility as a rusher and receiver fits the Bills' offensive philosophy under coordinator Turk Schonert. Lynch and Jackson combined for 84 catches and 617 yards and a touchdown last season.

Meanwhile, third-year backup Fred Jackson is unhappy over contract talks. The Bills control Jackson's rights after offering him a $460,000 tender. Jackson, however, has yet to accept while attempting to negotiate a long-term deal.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press