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Need some yards? Call CJS-2828

By Tim Graham

SpillerMugWhen I interviewed Buffalo Bills captain George Wilson a couple months ago about the culture change taking place within the organization, he proudly mentioned all the locker-room lawyers are gone.

Wilson apparently hasn't spent enough time with running back C.J. Spiller. He has adopted a slogan you usually hear after a deep voice invites slip-and-fall victims to call the number on the screen.

"I read a quote that says, 'Past results don't guarantee future success,' " Spiller told me this week at his locker. "I can't bank on what I did last year. I can only continue to build on it. So that's the quote that I'm using for this year. It put everything in perspective."

I kept waiting for a catchy jingle, but never heard one.

Spiller was referring to his molten finish at the end of least season. In the six games he started after Fred Jackson went on injured reserve with a broken leg, Spiller ran for 446 yards and three touchdowns and caught 24 passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns.

That's a Pro Bowl pace: 1,189 rushing yards and eight rushing TD plus 64 catches for 499 receiving yards and five touchdowns.

Unlike an ambulance-chasing lawyer, Spiller isn't downplaying what he can do this season to be tepid. He's taking the approach he hasn't proven anything yet.

"I can't dwell on what I did last year," Spiller said.

Here's another number Spiller won't guarantee: what percentage of himself he considers a receiver.

There has been much speculation about how Bills coach Chan Gailey plans to get Spiller more involved. Spiller was pressed into receiver duty when that position was decimated with injuries and before Jackson got hurt.

Spiller and Jackson were used simultaneously on seven plays against the Oakland Raiders in Week Two, three plays against the New England Patriots in Week Three, seven plays against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week Four and three plays against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week Five.

Spiller's coming of age and his ability to line up in the slot should increase those tandem situations.

"I take a lot of pride in catching the ball," Spiller said. "I'm a running back, but I can still get out there and run routes.

"I'm about a 30 percent receiver."

He paused.

"Maybe 20."

He paused again.

"I'll go 90-10, running back," he said with a smile. "I love doing it because it gives you another dimension on offense. I don't do typical running back routes. I can run a comeback. I can run a deep post if I need to. I can run across the middle. Whatever they ask. I take pride in catching the ball."

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham | [email protected]


Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan | [email protected]


Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski | [email protected]

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