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Erik Pears nails down starting right tackle job

By Jay Skurski

Erik Pears was supposed to be pushed for his starting right tackle job this season with the Buffalo Bills.

But with Chris Hairston unable to practice during training camp, that never happened. Whatever chance there was for the competition ended Monday when Hairston was put on the reserve/non-football illness list, ending his season.

The good news for the Bills is that coach Doug Marrone has been pleased with Pears' performance.

"Outstanding. He really has. I’ve seen him really make a jump, especially recent days," Marrone said. "He gets a lot of great work. Obviously going against Mario and the defensive ends on our team, I think that he’s really upped his production from what you’ve seen when he’s played here in the past. I really think he’s going about it as a pro, he works extremely hard."

Pears started all 16 games for the Bills in 2011, but played in just seven last year before going on injured reserve. Marrone, a former offensive lineman, said he sees a player in Pears who has untapped potential.

"I work with that group, and I really see him. The funny thing is people look and they'll say 'gosh, this guy has been here six years or eight years and he is what he is.' A lot of times, those players, they can continue to get better," the coach said. "I see him as a guy, even though he's a veteran, he's really got a lot better, especially in these past couple of days."


Chris Hairston | Doug Marrone | Erik Pears
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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 |