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Walker ready to miss start of Bills minicamp

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (June 10, 2007) -- With contract talks progressing slowly, veteran defensive tackle Darwin Walker is prepared to face a fine for missing the start of the Buffalo Bills' mandatory minicamp June 11.

"We're moving at a snail's pace," Walker's agent, Albert Irby, told The Associated Press. "We ain't that close. I don't know if we're going to get anything done today."

Irby said he spoke with Bills general manager Marv Levy on June 9, but wasn't sure when the team would get back to him.

Walker brought his football gear with him to attend a wedding in Chicago this weekend, Irby said, but his client has not made plans to travel to Buffalo for the start of the three-day camp. It's the Bills' only mandatory session and their last series of practices before the start of training camp in late July.

Should Walker not report, he stands to face a fine because he has two years left under his current contract.

Walker is holding out to negotiate a contract extension, a condition he agreed to with Buffalo when the Bills acquired him in March as part of a deal that sent linebacker Takeo Spikes to Philadelphia.

The seven-year veteran has not reported to the Bills since the trade and has vowed he won't do so until a new deal is completed.

"At this point, Darwin feels he has to do what he's got to do. And I imagine they feel the same way," Irby said. "But nobody's slammed the door. We're having cordial talks. As long as we're talking, we're moving forward. But it is a slow pace."

Levy did not immediately return a message left with him.

Walker has missed 12 voluntary minicamp practices and is well behind in learning Buffalo's defensive system. He's a key addition to a young defense that has lost three starters: Spikes, linebacker London Fletcher and cornerback Nate Clements.

An agile and penetrating tackle, Walker is considered a good fit for the Bills, who ask their defensive linemen to do more than merely stop the run. He had 36 tackles and six sacks in 15 games last season and added two sacks in a 27-24 loss to New Orleans in the playoffs.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2007, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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