Bills S Whitner advises McKelvin to `sit tight' Print
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Saturday, 26 July 2008 09:30
NFL Headline News

 PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) -With contract talks progressing slowly between the Buffalo Bills and first-round draft pick Leodis McKelvin, safety Donte Whitner telephoned his rookie teammate to offer some simple advice: Don't sweat it.
``I told him to sit tight,'' Whitner said Saturday, the second day of Bills training camp in suburban Rochester. ``I told him, `Enjoy your family right now and when you get here, you get here. Nobody's looking at you differently. Nobody's looking at you as being a selfish guy. This is just the business part of football.'''
Whitner, the Bills 2006 first-round draft pick, knows all about waiting after he missed the first eight days of training camp before signing his rookie contract.
``Everybody goes through it. I went through it for two weeks,'' Whitner said. ``It happens every year.''
McKelvin was selected 11th overall out of Troy University. The cornerback is now only one of four first-round draft picks yet to sign with their respective teams after numerous first-rounders reached contracts on Saturday.
The Bills and McKelvin are comfortable with the five-year length of the deal, but negotiations - which only began this past week - are hung up on monetary terms, including incentive clauses.
The holdup is unusual because the parameters of the deal were established Friday, when the players drafted immediately before and after McKelvin signed their contracts.
Linebacker Jerod Mayo, the No. 10 pick, signed a five-year, $18.9 million ($13.8 million guaranteed) contract with New England. Offensive lineman Ryan Clady, the No. 12 pick, signed a five-year $17.5 million ($11.5 million guaranteed) with Denver.
With NFL rookie first-round picks' contracts essentially slotted in descending order, that means McKelvin's deal should fall somewhere in-between Mayo and Clady.
McKelvin was the first defensive back selected in the draft, and the Bills expect him to immediately compete with Jabari Greer for a starting job opposite Terrence McGee. McKelvin also is an explosive special teams threat, after returning seven punts and one kickoff for touchdowns during his college career.
Bills chief operating officer Russ Brandon initially expressed hope that McKelvin would be signed in time for the team's first training camp practice. Brandon, on Friday, said talks are ongoing and he remains hopeful a deal will be reached soon.
McKelvin's agent, Hadley Engelhard, declined comment when reached by phone Saturday morning.
McKelvin has missed four practices over the first two days of camp. The Bills have team meetings and only a brief walkthrough set for Sunday, before they're scheduled to put on the pads for their first full-contact session on Monday.
McKelvin is familiar with the Bills defense after taking part in all of the team's spring minicamp sessions.
Coach Dick Jauron is concerned about the time McKelvin is missing.
``It's hard to catch up. Hopefully, he'll be in as soon as he's able to be here,'' Jauron said. ``Every practice is significant. ... We can spend extra time with him, but there are reps that just keep going by.''
Whitner is also looking forward to having McKelvin in camp to bolster an already revamped defense that features the new additions of veteran defensive tackle Marcus Stroud and linebacker Kawika Mitchell.
Whitner, though, stressed that it's important for McKelvin to sign a fair contract.
``You have to take care of that first and foremost,'' Whitner said. ``You'd say that to anybody in the NFL: `Don't go in there until you get your contract signed and get what you're asking for.'''
Whitner befriended McKelvin after he was drafted, having the rookie from Waycross, Ga., stay at his home in suburban Buffalo during minicamps.
 

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