Bills DE Schobel weighing options, still unsure of return to NFL

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Bills defensive end Aaron Schobel isn't in a rush to collect his $2 million roster bonus because he still hasn't decided whether or not he'll come back for a 10th NFL season.

The two-time Pro Bowl selection was due to be paid the roster bonus Tuesday. Schobel remains a member of the Bills, but the payment is on hold because there's a provision in his contract that he must first pass a physical.

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That's fine with Schobel, who told The Associated Press by phone Tuesday that he's not willing to take the physical until he has made up his mind on whether or not to continue playing.

"I'm in no hurry to get up there and take the physical," Schobel said. "I'm not stressing over the money."

Schobel failed his end-of-year physical in January because of an elbow injury that bothered him for most of last season. He has since had surgery to repair the damage.

As for his future, Schobel said: "We'll wait and see. I'm not ready to make a decision either way."

The Bills previously have left the door open for Schobel's return.

"The ball is in his court," general manager Buddy Nix was quoted as saying on the team's Web site last month. "If he wants to play, we certainly want him back. If he wants to retire, we wish him the best."

Schobel likely would continue playing at defensive end while Buffalo changes its defense to a 3-4 scheme under new coach Chan Gailey.

Schobel, whose 78 sacks rank second on the Bills' career list, has four years left on a $50.5 million contract extension that he signed before the 2007 season. However, Schobel has been willing to forego the remainder of his deal since the start of last season, when he first began entertaining thoughts of retiring.

At 32, Schobel said age, his performance and enjoying a healthy life after football will all weigh into his decision. Another issue is his three children, whom Schobel wants to have grow up in his native Texas and be close to his family.

Schobel has put his Buffalo-area home up for sale and permanently relocated his family to Texas. Should he return to play, Schobel intends to rent in Buffalo.

Schobel has ruled out the possibility of being traded, saying he'll either play for the Bills or retire.

After missing 11 games with a foot injury in 2008, Schobel bounced back last season to lead the Bills with 10 sacks -- the most he has had since registering a career-best 14 in 2006.

Buffalo's second-round pick in the 2001 draft, Schobel is tied with punter Brian Moorman as the current team's longest-tenured player.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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