Free agent Chandler hopes to see turnaround through


His approach to the offseason as an unrestricted free agent had a familiar sound to it like a few other Bills players who have faced the same circumstances in recent years. Tight end Scott Chandler, who will be free to shop his services to the rest of the league come mid-March absent a contract extension, would like to remain on Buffalo's roster to finally deliver a postseason berth to its playoff-starved fans.

"You'd like to be a part of the solution in a place like Buffalo where there have been a lot of hard times," said Chandler. "You don't want to be a part of the problem. You want to be a part of the solution. That's what I want to be."

Chandler has certainly had a productive season in this the final year of his contract. He led the team in receptions (53) and receiving yards (655) as he set single-season career highs in both categories in his first season under head coach Doug Marrone, which included the first 50-catch season of his career.

"Yeah I'm excited to be able to have that. Obviously I wish we would've had more team success, but it's something that I know that when I'm older I'll look back on and say it was a lot of fun and a good season to be proud of."

Marrone clearly appreciates what Chandler brought to the team at the tight end position in terms of playmaking ability, especially coming off a torn ACL late last season.

"We get here he's coming off a major injury. Here's a player who is in here working his tail off to get ready," Marrone said. "Very professional in that regard. A player that came back to camp earlier than expected from the injury. I think he's been highly productive. He really has. He's done a great job. I have a great amount of respect for the job he's done, not just on the field, but off the field and what he brings to the team. I'm extremely happy with that."

That certainly makes it sound like Chandler's future has a good chance of continuing where he successfully carved out his place in this league as a bona fide starter. At the same time he's been in the league long enough to know the best intentions don't always lead to the most desired conclusion.

"I love Buffalo. You want it to all work out like that and I hope it does," he said. "But things don't always work out like that in this business, so you have to understand that. But you'd like to have the Jason Witten or Antonio Gates type career where you just stay with one team and play every year with the same quarterbacks. That's what you want. That's what everybody wants."

When asked directly if he'd like Chandler back in the fold for 2014 and beyond, Marrone deferred to his general manager.

"I think that's a good question for Doug (Whaley)," he said. "I'm going to be asked my opinion on that. I haven't really thought about it because I've just been going from game to game and week to week. I know Doug will ask me what my opinion is on players and that will be an after season evaluation."

Buffalo will have some athletic options at tight end under contract next season in Chris Gragg and Tony Moeaki. Lee Smith is also still under contract. So the cupboard isn't completely bare if Chandler is not re-signed.

"Collectively when you look at that position we have a couple of guys that we feel can be a matchup issue because of their speed and catch ability," said Marrone. "And we're developing those players to become better blockers and true all-around tight ends."

But as Chandler sees it returning to the team where he made a name for himself, at the right price, is his ideal outcome.

"That's the best," he said. "That's definitely the best scenario."

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