INDIANAPOLIS — David Fluellen doesn’t know if he’ll watch the NFL draft at his father’s Kenmore home.
The University of Toledo running back is expected to get picked on the third day of the draft. Sitting in front of a television and hearing all those other names get called ahead of him might be too much to bear.
But Fluellen does know this: He’ll be aware how many times he gets ignored.
“I feel like you’ve got to play with a chip on your shoulder,” Fluellen said Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “Even if you get picked mid to late rounds, you can show these guys what they passed up on.”
Fluellen, a Lockport High alum, was magnificent when healthy last season. He led the country in rushing yards before Achilles and ankle injuries hobbled him over the final five games.
Fluellen ran for 1,121 yards and 10 touchdowns, averaging a gaudy 6.7 yards per carry. He caught 27 passes.
As a junior, he ranked eighth in the nation in rushing yards per game. He had 1,498 yards and 13 touchdowns.
But the combine will be critical for him. Scouts want to see how well his ankle has recovered. Fluellen was fine for the Senior Bowl last month. He ran eight times for 44 yards.
“I think I did a pretty good job in Mobile at the Senior Bowl and turned a lot of heads while I was out there,” Fluellen said.
Fluellen has been preparing for Sunday’s combine workout at the Performance Enhancement Professionals facility in Scottsdale, Ariz. He’ll return to Western New York on Monday to train at the Northtown Center at Amherst.
Fluellen said he has been running 40-yard dashes in the high 4.4-second range, but hopes to run 4.4 flat Sunday.
“I just want to put on a show for everybody out here,” Fluellen said.
The Bills announced they will meet with Jairus Byrd’s agent today to discuss what it will take to re-sign the Pro Bowl safety.
Bills General Manager Doug Whaley wouldn’t say today whether the club has decided to use the franchise tag on Byrd for a second straight year.
“In that situation, you’re going to use every option open,” Whaley told reporters at the combine. “We don’t want to put ourselves in a corner, and I don’t want to say to you guys, ‘We’re going to do this,’ and then something changes and we do something different. Then you guys look at me different when you ask me a question.
“We as an organization, again, we’re going to leave every option open for Jairus because we would like him back.”
Byrd’s tag for this year would be $8.299 million. Many analysts believe that’s too much money for a safety.
If the Bills don’t franchise Byrd and he signs elsewhere, then Whaley said a spot would open up for sophomores Duke Williams or Jonathan Meeks. No mention was made of Da’Norris Searcy or Jim Leonhard.
“We’re excited about the guys we have on campus,” Whaley said. “With Duke Williams and Meeks, those guys showed not only some athletic ability and some play-making skills on special teams, we think if unfortunately something comes up where we can’t keep Byrd, that those guys will have a chance to show what they have.”
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers showed their affection for receiver Mike Williams last year with a six-year, $40 million contract extension.
Seven months later, the Bucs might be on the verge of dumping the Riverside High alum.
Williams has generated controversy again. This time, he has been accused of causing $43,000 in damages at a rental home, scene of raucous parties. There reportedly was a stripper pole in the living room and five 911 calls since June.
“It was horrible,” neighbor John Hagensicker told the Tampa Bay Times. “I despise Mr. Williams. … It was shocking to me. He was the absolute worst neighbor anyone can imagine.”
New Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith and General Manager Jason Licht are displeased with Williams’ behavior.
Asked Friday what Williams must prove to the new staff, Licht replied, “He has to prove he shouldn’t make headlines off the field. So start with that.”
Williams has landed in trouble for years. Depending on the source, he either quit or was kicked off the Syracuse team when Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone ran the program. Williams was arrested for DUI his rookie season with Tampa Bay.
“There’s a pattern here, and it’s disturbing,” Lovie Smith said. “No one is bigger than this football team. He has to understand that.”
The Jacksonville Jaguars are flush with draft picks. Their general manager wants more.
The Jaguars hold the third overall draft choice. But Dave Caldwell, a St. Francis High grad, considers this year’s draft class deeply talented and said Thursday he wouldn’t mind trading back to stockpile additional picks.
“We have 10 picks already, and when we did the Eugene Monroe trade we felt it would be a deep draft,” Caldwell said. “We feel really good about having an extra four and an extra five. It would be beneficial to us if we trade down.”
Caldwell claimed this year offers one of the most impressive draft classes he’s evaluated. He’s the second-youngest GM, but he has been scouting for 17 years with the Indianapolis Colts and Atlanta Falcons before joining the Jaguars.
“This whole draft is one of the better ones I’ve been involved with,” Caldwell said.