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Mother Nature finally cooperates for workouts in Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- With the weather finally warming up in Buffalo, and no end in sight to the NFL lockout, about 30 Bills players are preparing to begin a series of informal workouts in town next week.

"I know you've probably seen a few teams around the league doing it, and it's like 'Where are the guys in Buffalo?' " safety Jon Corto said Thursday. "Well, we don't have the convenience of the best weather. But, we've still got the guys coming up next week."

Out-of-town players are set to travel to Buffalo this weekend, with the first session scheduled for Monday. The workouts are tentatively planned to last the week, and are expected to be held inside a suburban Buffalo sports complex, where Corto and a handful of teammates have been working out this month.

Next week's workouts were organized through a collaborative effort between several veterans, including linebacker Andra Davis and safety George Wilson, the team's union representative, who sent invitations by email.

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick texted that he's set to attend. Last month, he held a similar workout with a handful of Bills players in Arizona. Receiver Lee Evans, running back Fred Jackson and cornerback Terrence McGee are also expected to participate.

Rookies selected by the Bills in last month's draft have also been invited, though it's unclear how many will attend.

The sessions will be non-contact and conducted on an artificial turf field to limit the chance of a player getting hurt.

The Saints, Jets, Giants, Redskins and Lions are among teams whose players have held similar workouts over the past month.

The Bills' workouts were organized the same week in which a federal appeals court ruled that the NFL lockout can remain in place until a full appeal is heard June 3. That means the labor dispute will likely extend into next month, wiping out much of the time teams traditionally use to hold voluntary and mandatory minicamps.

"A lot of this stuff is out of our control, so we're going to do what we can so when this thing gets rectified, we'll be ready to go," Corto said. "It'll be good to get together at least once for camaraderie, go over some concepts, throw the ball around, get a lift in and do some running."

Missing minicamps is one thing. Corto is more concerned about the labor dispute potentially affecting the start of training camp.

"Right now, there hasn't been that much missed. However, guys are concerned," Corto said. "I think everyone's concerned on both sides. Hopefully, this can come to an end soon for everyone, the fans, everyone."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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