Veteran RB Rhodes looking to make impact after signing with Bills

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- New Bills running back Dominic Rhodes doesn't consider himself a backup even if Buffalo's depth chart will say otherwise.

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After the eight-year veteran free agent signed with the Bills over the weekend, Rhodes had only one thing on his mind -- a start in Buffalo's season-opening game against the New England Patriots while incumbent Marshawn Lynch serves the first of his three-game suspension.

"When I get in the game I try to give them a reason not to take me out and a reason to keep putting me back in," Rhodes said on Monday. "The first three games is definitely a plus, and anything after that I'll just -- with practicing hard and playing hard -- show them what I can do. Hopefully things will still be pretty good from there."

Rhodes comes to Buffalo after spending last year with the Indianapolis Colts, where he split the starting duties with Joseph Addai, and relishes the opportunity to be the main man in Buffalo's backfield early in the season.

"I don't look at myself, ever, in any situation, as a backup," he said. "My mindset is that opportunities are always there, and I compete to start. I don't go anywhere trying to sit on the bench. That's not my thing."

Buffalo's signing of a backup running back was imperative. With Lynch unavailable until late September, the Bills had just third-year backup Fred Jackson and 2008 rookie Xavier Omon on a roster that is undergoing significant changes this offseason. Rhodes will solidify the position after gaining 538 yards rushing, including a team-leading six touchdowns rushing, in 15 games last year with the Colts.

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He also added a career-high 45 receptions for 302 yards and three TDs receiving in 2008, and played an instrumental part in Indianapolis' Super Bowl XLI win over the Chicago Bears. Rhodes rolled for 113 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries in the game.

"I'm always trying to make myself be felt by everyone," he said. "I think in my career I've done a pretty good job of that. I've opened some eyes and people definitely respect me for the way that I compete on the field. I leave everything out there every Sunday."

Rhodes is the latest addition to Buffalo's new-look offense. Since finishing 2008 with a 7-9 mark and missing the playoffs for the ninth straight year, the Bills are overhauling an attack that ranked 25th in the league last year. They've already signed Pro Bowl receiver Terrell Owens while jettisoning starting left guard Derrick Dockery and trading Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters to Philadelphia on Friday for draft picks.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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