Bills re-sign Lindell; hire Metzelaars as TE coach

JOHN WAWROW AP Sports Writer Published:

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) -- Kicker Rian Lindell avoided free agency by re-signing with the Buffalo Bills on Tuesday. And there's another familiar face returning to the fold, after the Bills hired Pete Metzelaars, the most productive tight end in team history, as an assistant coach.

Lindell will return for a 10th season in Buffalo after signing a four-year contract worth about $11 million. The Bills announced the signing, while the terms of the deal were revealed by Lindell's agent, Paul Sheehy, in a text to The Associated Press.

With 878 career points, Lindell is the Bills' second-leading scorer. He also holds several team records including hitting 18 straight field-goal and 225 consecutive extra-point attempts.

He had played in 180 consecutive games before finishing the season on injured reserve. He missed the final eight games after breaking a bone in his right shoulder while attempting to make a tackle in a 27-11 loss to the New York Jets on Nov. 6.

Lindell had said his injury had nearly fully healed after the season finale last month. He was replaced by Dave Rayner and Brandon Coutu.

Metzelaars returns to Buffalo to serve as the tight ends coach, a position he's very familiar with after a 16-year NFL career as a player. He played 10 seasons with the Marv Levy-coached and Jim Kelly-led Bills, from 1985-94, and still holds team tight end career records with 302 catches, 2,921 yards and 25 touchdowns.

He was a three-time Pro Bowl alternate selection and his 235 games rank third in the NFL among tight ends. Metzelaars retired after the 1997 season, and spent the past eight years as an assistant in various positions with the Indianapolis Colts.

"I'm excited. It's a lot of fun. And it's a little bizarre," Metzelaars said. "It's been 18 years or so since I've really been back here, so to come back, it's neat."

He fills the final vacancy on Chan Gailey's staff that was left open after Bob Bicknell took over as receivers coach, replacing Stan Hixon, who took a job at Penn State last month.

The status of the Bills tight end group is in question, with starter Scott Chandler eligible to become a free agent next month.

Metzelaars said the Bills are interested in re-signing Chandler, who had 38 catches for 389 yards and six touchdowns.

"He had a very good year last year and we'll try to build upon that," Metzelaars said. "I'd like to get some players to break any and all the records that I may still be holding around here -- find somebody better than me."