The Post-Journal

Bills Sit Back While Conlan Checks What's Available

The Buffalo Bills have always been No. 1 on Shane Conlan's shopping list, but they may be bumped from that top spot if they're not careful, according to his agent.

"All things being equal, they may be slipping a little," Bret Senior told The Post Journal Thursday afternoon. "The ball is in their court."

And, so far, Senior said, the Bills haven't been willing to play.

"(They) sure haven't done much," the Philadelphia-based agent said. "They've sort of sat there and haven't made a move to try and re-sign Shane."

Conlan is an unrestricted free agent and can sign with any team. The Frewsburg native has gone on record that he would like to remain in Buffalo, but Senior said the Bills' wait-and-see approach has "sort of turned off some of the players a little bit."

Senior noted that Conlan, who made $975,000 last year, would like to sign a deal comparable to the $1.75 million annual pact former teammate Carlton Bailey received from the New York Giants.

"That's something we have to use as a barometer," Senior said.

And while acknowledging that Bailey "is a tremendous athlete," Senior said he can't compare to Conlan on the field.

"My personal opinion is he'd not anywhere near the kind of football player Shane is," Senior said. "Some people fall in love with certain types of players and others don't."

And if the Bills' offer isn't competitive, Conlan has other options.

The three-time Pro Bowl tine-backer has met this week with the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Raiders in California, and a visit with Pittsburgh will be arranged as soon as logistically possible. Meanwhile, talks with Kansas City, Tampa Bay and Washington continue.

"Now it's starting to heat up," Senior said of the interest in Conlan. "They realize where the market is going and they figure, 'We better do something sooner rather than later because the dollars are escalating."

Conlan talked with Raiders owner Al Davis Thursday in Los Angeles, one day after touring the Rams' facilities in Anaheim. In both places, Conlan was impressed, Senior said.

"He has liked the Raiders' personality and their aggressiveness, and he's impressed with the Rams. He just thought Anaheim was absolutely gorgeous."

Senior admitted that some teams are concerned about Conlan's health and durability, but the agent emphasized they shouldn't be.

"If you look at the facts, he's been more durable than Cornelius Bennett or Bruce Smith," he said. "He didn't miss any regular-season games in 1990 and 1991 and he missed three because of the sprained ankle in 1992."

The additional financial assistance of the community is critical to the success of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame.
We gratefully acknowledge these individuals and organizations for their generous support.