The strong side linebacker position is one that still has some uncertainty for the Bills. With Angelo Crowell unlikely to return and restricted free agent Keith Ellison only tendered, Buffalo continued exploring other options with veteran free agent linebacker Cato June in town for a visit.
"It's a great organization," said June of the Bills, during his first free agent visit. "Of course, defensively, their schemes fit me and fit me well. I think I could fit in well with the players that they have here. They're on the brink of being a championship team, so to me that's a great asset and a great way to continue my career."
June played his last two seasons with the Buccaneers mainly at the strong side linebacker spot, with perennial Pro Bowl linebacker Derrick Brooks manning the weak side. But he along with Brooks was released last week by Tampa Bay in a youth movement under new head coach Raheem Morris,
"I guess I fit that bill of anyone over 29 had to get out of Tampa and I was right on the border," said June. "Going from a long-term contract to a long vacation as of right now. Like I said, I hope everything works out for the best and everything happens for a reason. I'll move on to things that will be better for me and my family."
June (6'0" 227) has been a starter for six of his seven NFL seasons with his most productive years coming in Indianapolis where he posted three consecutive 100 tackles seasons. In 2005 he also added five interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns helping him to earn AFC Pro Bowl honors.
In 2006 June had a career high 142 tackles as he was instrumental in helping the Colts to their first Super Bowl title since moving to Indianapolis.
The Michigan product is also very familiar with Buffalo's defensive system as he has played in virtually the same scheme his entire career in his time with Indianapolis and Tampa. But at the same time June believes each defense is unique in some way.
"A lot of the same terminology, a lot of the same schemes and it's really about, kind of like I said when I went from Indy to Tampa, it's about fitting in with the players that they have here," said June. "Being a part of this defense, which is uniquely its own as opposed to being in the same defense in Indy and in Tampa."
If he had his preference June would prefer to play on the weak side again as he did in Indianapolis. But what matters more to June is he sees himself as a fit with the two other entrenched starters at linebacker.
"I've watched them on film," June said. "We've probably watched each other's games just because of the schemes and the teams we play like the system. They're very physical guys, play-making guys. Kawika came off of a championship and that always shows winning habits and winning spirit and consistency in a player, so just being around two other great linebackers, linebackers that have the physical (ability) and make plays and can create a lot of turnovers for the defense (is exciting)."
June, who will turn 30 late in the 2009 season, would be a legitimate contender for the Bills starting strong side linebacker position if signed by Buffalo.
Denver free agent Jamie Winborn was the first linebacker to come to Buffalo for a visit (Feb. 26).