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 PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) -The Buffalo Bills could begin fining Jason Peters up to $15,000 a day after the Pro Bowl left tackle failed to report for the start of training camp Friday morning because of a contract dispute.
``That's a resource that's available to us,'' Bills chief operating officer Russ Brandon told The Associated Press. ``And if he's not here, we anticipate using it.''
The Bills opened camp with two practices at their training facility in suburban Rochester. Besides Peters, two other players were absent: defensive tackle Kyle Williams, who was excused because of the birth of his child; and first-round draft pick Leodis McKelvin, a cornerback who is still negotiating his rookie contract.
Peters' absence was not unexpected, especially after he was fined $8,638 for missing all of the team's 15 spring minicamp sessions, including two mandatory practices.
Entering his fifth NFL season, Peters has three years left on his contract. But he wants it restructured after earning his first Pro Bowl selection last season in his first full year at left tackle. Peters is scheduled to make a base salary of $3.25 million this season, considered low for a player at such a prominent position. He's currently Buffalo's third-highest paid offensive lineman, behind left guard Derrick Dockery and right tackle Langston Walker.
Peters has not commented publicly about the dispute. His agents, Eugene Parker and Vincent Taylor, have also declined comment and have not returned numerous messages left with them by The AP over the past three days.
A day earlier, Brandon said he's had very little contact with Peters over the past few months. He added he's disappointed with Peters' decision and how it might affect the Bills' progress through camp.
``There's always angst. There's angst every day with all of your guys,'' Brandon said. ``And Jason's a big part of what we're trying to do. But if he's not here, then we'll work around it and move on.''
Brandon said he's open to the possibility of negotiating a new contract, but only if Peters begins taking part in team functions.
Signed by the Bills in spring 2004 as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Arkansas, Peters broke in as a tight end before being converted to an offensive lineman before the 2005 season. He took over the starting right tackle spot midway through that season and was then moved to the left side during the 2006 season.
Listed at 6-foot-4 and 340 pounds, Peters is quick on his feet, agile and strong for someone his size.
Coach Dick Jauron deferred most questions to team executives, saying he didn't think it was fair for him to comment on Peters' contract status.
``We'd love to have him here,'' Jauron said. ``But from my perspective, I deal with the players that are here only, and I wish he was one of them but he's not.''
In Peters' absence, Kirk Chambers has spent the most time - dating to spring minicamps - practicing at left tackle. Chambers signed with the Bills in January 2007 and appeared in all 16 games last season, including a start in Buffalo's season finale after Peters was placed on injured reserve because of a groin injury.
Chambers is committed to staying focused.
``I can't let it affect me. I have to go out there and produce just as if there wasn't this whole situation with Jason,'' Chambers said. ``We all want Jason here. But he's doing what he's got to do so, I get an opportunity to go out and show what I can do.''
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