After bringing back Wide Receiver Stevie Johnson earlier this week, the Bills brought back another weapon on offense Thursday when they agreed to terms on an extension with Tight End
Chandler, who turns 27 in July, set career highs in 2011 with 38 receptions for 389 yards and 6 touchdowns. The six touchdowns tied a franchise record for single season franchise record among tight ends. The 38 catches were the most by a Bills tight end since Jay Riemersma had 53 in 2001.
He kicked off the year with a bang catching five passes including two for touchdowns against the Kansas City Chiefs in the season opener. He followed that performance by scoring in each of his next two games against the Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots. Later in the season he caught two more scores against the Washington Redskins.
Chandler suffered an ankle injury in week 13 against the Tennessee Titans which forced him to sit out two games. In the season finale he also was forced out of action with a knee injury but he tells buffalobills.com that he running great, working out, and he’s looking forward to getting back on the field.
The fifth year veteran also sees the commitment the Bills are making to keep some of their core players and thinks it bodes well for the future, “It’s great that the front office is getting these guys re-signed and I think it’s great that the players want to be here. That’s a big part of it, too. I think that says a lot about the atmosphere and the dynamic that we’ve got going and I think we’re all excited to be back.”
Chandler was originally drafted in the fourth round by the San Diego Chargers in 2007, but only appeared in one game as a rookie with San Diego. Entering his second season Chandler appeared to have a good shot at being a backup to Antonio Gates. But he suffered a season-ending injury in the final preseason game and a day after the 2009 NFL draft, the Chargers released him.
A month later however, he was signed by Dallas, his hometown team, despite the fact that they had just drafted John Phillips to be the team’s third tight end behind All-Pro Jason Witten and Martellus Bennett. The Cowboys liked Chandler’s game, but there was no role for him on the active roster. Dallas signed him to their practice squad.
Late in the 2009 season, the New York Giants signed Chandler off of the Dallas practice squad to their active roster. Chandler was hopeful he’d get an opportunity, but again he found a logjam at the position and was inactive for the last two games of the season.
Leading up to the 2010 season, Chandler thought he’d have a chance to make New York’s roster, but things never panned out. Chandler eventually signed back with the Cowboys and appeared in nine games during the 2010 season, but did not record a reception as he served on special teams and in a blocking role at times as a fullback.
The Bills claimed him late in the 2010 season when he was waived by the Cowboys. He played in four games for Buffalo that year and immersed himself in the playbook as he prepared for his first chance at starting in the NFL which came last season.
Now that his future is secure, Chandler reflects on his long NFL journey, “It’s night and day. I’ve been cut four times and I think the last couple of times that I got cut I didn’t know if there was going to be anymore NFL ball for me. I’m just really grateful to the Bills for the opportunity and am very excited to move forward and continue to build with our team. I think we’re going to come back next year and have a great year.”