Price to have surgery on neck, season likely over

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills receiver Peerless Price's season is likely over after he was scheduled to have surgery Friday to repair a disc in his neck.

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Coach Dick Jauron said the team will place Price on injured reserve, making him the eighth Bills player -- and fourth starter -- on the season-ending list five weeks into the campaign.

The announcement came as a surprise, because Price had not missed practice until Friday. He was noticeably stiff - unable to turn his neck - when he spoke to reporters at his locker Wednesday.

Jauron said the severity of the injury was revealed after Price had tests Thursday.

Jauron said he believed the neck problem developed over the course of Price's career and was not the result of a particular hit. In four starts this season, the nine-year NFL veteran had seven catches for 68 yards.

The Bills (1-3), preparing to host the Dallas Cowboys (4-0) on Monday night, made two roster moves Friday. They placed reserve linebacker Kevin Harrison on IR and activated Anthony Hargrove after the backup defensive end completed a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.

Harrison hurt his knee on the opening kickoff of Buffalo's 17-14 win over the New York Jets last weekend. The Bills had signed Harrison just last week to bolster their banged-up linebacker corps.

Price's injury means the Bills will rely more on slot receivers Roscoe Parrish and Josh Reed to take the focus off starter Lee Evans.

Buffalo's offense has lacked chemistry this season, with rookie Trent Edwards producing the team's first touchdown pass of the season - a 1-yarder to tight end Michael Gaines -- in last weekend's 17-14 win over the New York Jets.

Edwards' 234 yards passing against the Jets was a season-high after the Bills combined for 352 yards in their first three games.

The third-round draft pick will make his second straight start Monday, filling in for J.P. Losman, who sprained his left knee.

The Bills did have some good news Friday. Jauron said linebacker Keith Ellison has recovered from a high ankle sprain and is expected to play Monday. Ellison, who won a starting job in training camp, has been out since he was hurt in Buffalo's preseason finale at Detroit on Aug. 30.

Price is in his second season back with the Bills, who initially selected him in the second round of the 1998 draft out of Tennessee. Price spent his first four years with Buffalo and enjoyed his best career season in 2002, when he had 94 catches for 1,252 yards and nine touchdowns playing alongside Eric Moulds.

Unable to meet his contract demands, the Bills traded Price to Atlanta the following year, but the receiver did not duplicate his production.

The Falcons released him before the 2005 season, and he played seven games with Dallas before re-signing with the Bills last year.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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