The nine-year relationship between the Bills and Aaron Schobel has officially come to an end. Though the team announced on Monday that they were moving forward without him on their roster, the plan was to keep him on the Reserve/Did Not Report list until he made a decision about his playing future. That plan changed on Wednesday as the team outright released him.
"As everyone knows by now, on Monday we had informed Aaron's agent that he was not in our plans for the 2010 season and we made a formal announcement right after that so our fans knew," said Bills GM Buddy Nix. "Aaron remained on the "Did Not Report to Camp" list so no transaction had taken place at that time. We continued to evaluate the situation and feel the best way to proceed is to release Aaron and that's what we have done."
Releasing Schobel frees the Bills of the last four years of Schobel's contract. It also gives Schobel the opportunity to pursue a playing opportunity elsewhere if he chooses to play in 2010.
As of Wednesday morning Schobel was still undecided.
"I don't know what I'm going to do," Schobel stated via text to Buffalobills.com. "I'm going to take a week and then maybe, I would say within a two week period I'm going to go one way or the other, that's for sure. I'm either going to try to get it going or I'm going to put my (retirement) papers in. That's what I'll do."
Nix made it clear that the organization felt Schobel deserved the opportunity to play elsewhere if he chooses to do so.
"If he chooses to retire, he will do so as a Buffalo Bill," said Nix. "But this move allows him the opportunity to play somewhere else if so chooses and we felt that was a fair thing to do for a guy who has played hard for us the past nine seasons. I enjoyed a good conversation with Aaron after we turned the transaction into the league and he still has not decided what he wants to do. Our fans should know that this decision was made in the best interests of the Buffalo Bills and Aaron Schobel and like I said on Monday, we wish Aaron the best of luck in whatever he ultimately decides."
Knowing his young family, which includes three school age children, is a big part of the decision making process, many believe if Schobel does elect to play one more season that he would prefer the Houston Texans, which are about an hour away from his Columbus, Texas home. Houston's defensive line coach Bill Kollar also coached Schobel in Buffalo for three seasons and is a close personal friend.
The Texans are a team looking to get over the hump and make the playoffs and might consider Schobel a worthwhile option if the price is right, especially with top pass rusher Mario Williams currently sidelined with a hip injury.
Schobel, who turns 33 in a month, is coming off a 2009 season in which he had 10 sacks, the fourth double-digit sack season of his career.