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Bills sign former Vikings center Fowler

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (March 21, 2006) -- Former Vikings center Melvin Fowler signed with the Buffalo Bills, who are finally beginning to address their offensive line needs.

Fowler is a four-year NFL veteran who had nine starts in 11 games with Minnesota. The signing comes after he visited with team officials earlier in the day at the Bills headquarters in Orchard Park.

Fowler, who also played guard in college, is expected to compete for Buffalo's starting job at center since the team did not re-sign veteran Trey Teague earlier this month. The Bills have one other center in fourth-round pick Duke Preston, who saw time mostly as a reserve right guard and on special teams as a rookie last season.

Fowler becomes the 10th free agent the Bills have added -- including re-signing four of their own -- since the NFL's free-agency period began March 11.

Buffalo still is seeking to bolster itself at left guard and right tackle.

Fowler was Cleveland's third-round pick in the 2002 NFL Draft out of Maryland and has 23 starts in 41 career games. He was acquired in a trade by the Vikings from Cleveland last September after Minnesota center Matt Birk had season-ending surgery.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2006, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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