ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (Feb. 26, 2007) -- Calling no player "untouchable," Buffalo Bills coach Dick Jauron said the team would consider trade offers for starting running back Willis McGahee.
"It's in our best interest to listen to everybody, and no people are untouchable," Jauron told The Associated Press at the NFL's annual scouting combine at Indianapolis. "He's a good back. He's our starting running back right now. It's no surprise to me at all that people are interested."
Asked specifically if McGahee is on the trading block, Jauron said: "Well, people talk. People talk in the league all the time."
It's unusual for trade discussions to be made public, or for a coach to acknowledge any talk that involves players -- particularly a player of McGahee's caliber. The three-year starter has one year left on his contract and had expressed interest in seeking an extension with Buffalo.
News that the Bills would shop McGahee first came up last weekend, when New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese expressed interest in the player as a potential replacement for Tiki Barber, who retired after last season.
"There is some Willis McGahee talk," Reese had said. "We'll investigate Willis, we'll investigate everybody with trade talk. We'll leave no stone unturned."
Reese's comments created a stir in Buffalo, where the Bills had previously sidestepped questions about McGahee's long-term status with the team.
McGahee was unavailable for comment and his phone number is not listed. His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, did not immediately return calls.
Buffalo's first-round pick out of Miami in 2003, McGahee is coming off a down season in which he finished with a career-low 990 yards rushing, but led the team with six touchdowns rushing in 14 starts.
In 2005, he had 1,247 yards rushing and five touchdowns in 15 starts. He established himself as the Bills starter in 2004 with 1,128 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns in 11 starts. That performance led the team to trade former starter Travis Henry to Tennessee the following summer.
McGahee sat out his rookie season recovering from major knee surgery.
The Bills have been disappointed in McGahee for conducting most of his offseason workouts in his native Miami, rather than traveling to the team's Orchard Park headquarters. McGahee also created a stir last month, when he was quoted in a magazine article suggesting the NFL consider moving the Bills to Toronto.
McGahee later released a statement saying his comments were taken out of context and that he would never suggest such a move.