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Bills sign OL Hangartner

Posted Feb 28, 2009

The Bills made it two signings in two days on the opening weekend of free agency as Buffalo came to terms with free agent center/guard Geoff Hangartner. The four-year veteran has played his entire career with the Carolina Panthers.

“I’m really excited,” said Hangartner. “There’s a great owner here in Mr. Wilson in the Hall of Fame. I’m really appreciative of him and all the staff, coach Jauron. Really excited to be here.”

Appearing in all 16 games for the Panthers last season, making eight starts at center and guard, Hangartner was part of an offensive line that set franchise marks for rushing yards (2,437) and fewest sacks allowed in a season (20).

According to Hangartner (6’5” 315), the Bills like him best in the pivot.

“We’ve been talking about playing center,” said Hangartner. “I’ve played some guard, but center has always been my primary position. Center is definitely my preferred position and where I feel most comfortable, and what I plan on doing for the Bills.”

Hangartner has played in 54 games in his career, making 27 starts. The Texas A&M product knows the job he’s inheriting with the Bills as he’ll have to face some of the toughest nose tackles in the league in the Jets Kris Jenkins, New England’s Vince Wilfork and Miami’s Jason Ferguson. But Hangartner welcomes the tall task.

“We’ve got some great noseguards in this division, but it’s a challenge I’m looking forward to,” he said. “I like playing against Pro Bowlers and I know Kris having been a teammate of his for three years in Carolina. He’s a heck of a player and I know the other guys are too. It’ll be a fun challenge.”

One of the more attractive qualities for Hangartner about Buffalo was the young talent at the skill positions, particularly Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson.

“Those guys remind me a lot of the two guys we had in Carolina,” said Hangartner. “They’ve got a good tandem here. They want to run the ball, they’re physical runners and run hard and make good cuts and that’s an exciting thing for an offensive lineman to have two good backs like that.”

On his visit Saturday, which was pushed back a day due to flight delays, Hangartner had a chance to sit down with offensive line coach Sean Kugler and is encouraged about the offensive scheme believing it fits the strengths of his game.

“They run a lot of zone, which I’m comfortable with and some power which is a great approach,” said Hangartner. “A lot of one back stuff and two tight ends. We talked a little about the schemes and protections and I’m really excited about working with those guys.”