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NFL notebook

Bills lock up Fitzpatrick for 6 years, $59m

RYAN FITZPATRICK Seventh-round pick in ’05 RYAN FITZPATRICK Seventh-round pick in ’05
Associated Press / October 29, 2011

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Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn’t intend to shed his scraggly beard or lose his large collection of T-shirts after signing a six-year, $59 million contract yesterday that secures him as the Bills’ franchise quarterback.

Given how much he’ll be making and his new high-profile status, Fitzpatrick might have a hard time sticking with the no-name label, though.

The onetime journeyman, 2005 seventh-round draft pick, and Harvard graduate has formally arrived as a bona fide NFL starter after being rewarded with what could potentially become the most lucrative contract in team history. It’s a reward for a player who as a first-time starter this season has led Buffalo to a surprising 4-2 start.

Fitzpatrick becomes the first starting quarterback since Doug Flutie in 1999 to earn a contract extension with Buffalo. And Fitzpatrick’s deal includes $24 million in guaranteed money, according to a person familiar with negotiations, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the team does not release contract terms.

That’s a significant raise over the $3.22 million base salary he was making this season. Fitzpatrick was in the final year of the three-year contract - worth $7.405 million in base salary - he signed upon joining the Bills as a free agent in 2009.

Injury draws inquiry

The NFL is looking into the events surrounding a concussion suffered by Chargers offensive lineman Kris Dielman. Dielman was concussed with approximately 12 minutes remaining in the Jets game last Sunday, after which he struggled to maintain balance. Dielman never came out of the game despite intermittent signs of struggle, although he performed well as a blocker. The Chargers said they never saw a reason to evaluate their Pro Bowl left guard.

Dielman was not assessed until after the loss, and the Chargers announced the injury shortly before the team boarded a plane for San Diego. Dielman suffered a grand mal seizure near the end of the team’s charter flight, although he was cleared of long-term complications surrounding the concussion and seizure.

Stafford unsure

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford isn’t yet sure whether he will be able to play tomorrow in Denver because of his injured right ankle. Meanwhile, starting running back Jahvid Best will be out for a second straight game with a concussion, and defensive tackle Nick Fairley likely will also be inactive after aggravating his surgically repaired left foot last week . . . The agent for Chris Harris said the safety, released Thursday by the Bears after asking for a trade, has joined the Lions. The Lions didn’t immediately confirm the move, but placed safety Vincent Fuller (elbow) on injured reserve . . . Saints running back Mark Ingram will not play tomorrow in St. Louis after missing all week with a right heel injury. As a result, the Saints will move running back Chris Ivory from the physically unable to perform list to the 53-man active roster . . . Peyton Hillis, whose marriage this week was confirmed by teammates, missed his second straight practice with a strained hamstring, an injury that kept him out of the Browns’ win last week. Browns coach Pat Shurmur said Hillis will travel to San Francisco and has not yet been ruled out. The Browns will be missing wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi, who sustained a concussion last Sunday, but tight end Benjamin Watson will play tomorrow after missing two days as he recovered from a concussion . . . Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson completed his most extensive day of practice since suffering a pectoral injury three weeks ago and appears likely to return for the Seahawks tomorrow against the Bengals . . . Cornerback Adam “Pacman’’ Jones was activated by the Bengals after being sidelined for approximately a year by a bulging disk in his neck that required two surgical procedures. He takes the roster spot of running back Cedric Benson, who is suspended for the game for violating the NFL’s conduct policy.

Head butt costs $15k

Seahawks defensive end Red Bryant was fined $15,000 by the NFL for head-butting Browns tight end Alex Smith last week. Others who have to pay up include Ravens safety Bernard Pollard, who was fined $10,000 for his hit on defenseless Jaguars running back Deji Karim; Chiefs linebacker Tambi Hali, who was fined $15,000 for striking Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer in the knee area; and Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers, who was nailed for $10,000 for using the football as a prop . . . The consecutive-games streak - 214 over 14 years - of Redskins linebacker London Fletcher might continue despite a hamstring injury . . . Texans receiver Andre Johnson will miss his fourth straight game with a hamstring injury.

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