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Bills reach agreement with QB Holcomb

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (March 4, 2005) -- Quarterback Kelly Holcomb agreed to a four-year deal with the Buffalo Bills to serve as J.P. Losman's backup.

Holcomb accepted the Bills' offer, which includes a bonus, after growing frustrated in his attempts to re-sign with Cleveland, Holcomb's agent Frank Bauer told The Associated Press.

Holcomb is a nine-year veteran who spent the last four seasons with Cleveland, appearing in 19 games, including 12 as a starter.

Holcomb was initially expected to re-sign with the Browns after the team released starter Jeff Garcia after last season. Talks with Cleveland, however, broke down this week when rookie Browns coach Romeo Crennel suggested he was preparing other plans.

"We didn't feel real comfortable with what's going on in Cleveland," Bauer said. "When someone tells you they want to think about it or revisit it, you better move because there's something burning in the kitchen. ... You never know if you wake up tomorrow morning and suddenly they have a quarterback and you're hung out to dry."

Bauer said the Bills were the first team to express interest in Holcomb when the free-agency period began.

The Bills have been searching for an experienced backup to Losman, who was named the starter last month, a move that led to Buffalo's release of Drew Bledsoe. Losman was the second of Buffalo's two first-round draft picks last year and missed the first half last season with a broken left leg.

Holcomb is a good fit, with experience as both a backup and starter. Bauer said he's already informed the Bills that Holcomb would have no problem playing behind Losman.

Holcomb's deal includes incentives based on playing time and if he should take over as starter for any reason. Holcomb is expected to sign the contract early next week.

A Middle Tennessee State college product, Holcomb broke into the NFL in 1995 as an undrafted free agent on Tampa Bay's practice squad. He then spent five years as a backup in Indianapolis before joining Cleveland in 2001.

Also, the Bills signed free agent Mike Gandy to help bolster their offensive line.

Gandy, drafted by Chicago in the third round in 2001, started five games at right guard last season and 14 games at left tackle in 2003.

The Bills lost starting left tackle Jonas Jennings, who signed with San Francisco, and didn't re-sign offensive linemen Marcus Price and Mike Pucillo.

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