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Fred Jackson eager for Bills signings, yet willing to be patient

By Tim Graham

How Fred Jackson is like most Buffalo Bills fans: He wants them to sign some players, too.

How Jackson is unlike most Bills fans: He's not frustrated by the team's lack of recent activity.

Jackson is aware there are holes all over the Bills' roster, but he's willing to let the front office apply the spackle without criticism from him.

"You definitely would like to see players added here or there," Jackson told me this week, "but at the same time you have to put faith in the coaches and see what they decide to do and who they decide to bring in or what pieces they decide not to bring back.

"That's their job. As player, we just have to go out there and compete with the guys we do have here. We can't always control what's going on."

Jackson expressed disappointment in seeing two offensive starters leave last week.

The Bills released quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and didn't re-sign left guard Andy Levitre. Both signed with the Tennessee Titans.

Levitre was a mainstay on the offensive line since the Bills drafted him in 2009. That was Jackson's breakout season, when he rushed for 1,062 yards and caught 46 passes for 371 yards.

"You hate to see a guy like that go, a guy that's been a constant on the offensive line since he's been here," Jackson said. "He didn't miss a single game. He's been out there, busting his butt to stay on the field.

"He definitely opened up some holes for me, and I'm going to miss him. He's a guy that made me better. But at the same time, you're happy for him. He was able to hit free agency and get a big pay check because of it. I wish him the best."

Jackson said Fitzpatrick is "a guy I was really close to." One of the first calls Fitzpatrick made upon learning the Bills were cutting him was to Jackson.

"It's one of those things that he felt disappointed in himself because he wasn't able to get it turned around -- as we all feel bad," Jackson said. "If we have a winning season or get in the playoffs, a lot of these changes don't happen."


Andy Levitre | Fred Jackson | Ryan Fitzpatrick
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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 |

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 |

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 |