The Times West Virginian

Sports

March 23, 2013

Bills meet, dine with Smith

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Bills’ offseason search for a quarterback led them to West Virginia on Friday, where they conducted a private workout involving Geno Smith.

A person familiar with what happened told The Associated Press that Smith’s workout took place on campus in the morning. The person added the former Mountaineer had dinner the previous night with general manager Buddy Nix, assistant GM Doug Whaley, coach Doug Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.

The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Bills would not reveal any details except to announce the workout had been scheduled.

Smith is regarded as one of the top quarterback prospects available in the NFL draft next month.

The Bills open the draft with the eighth pick, and Nix has already expressed an interest in selecting a quarterback, though he won’t be pinned down to what round.

Buffalo’s need at quarterback grew larger last week after the team released returning starter Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has since signed with the Tennessee Titans. That leaves Tarvaris Jackson as the only experienced quarterback currently on the Bills roster.

Last season, Smith threw for 4,205 yards and led the nation with 42 touchdown passes.

This is the second time in a little over a week that Bills officials have watched Smith work out. Several team officials attended West Virginia’s pro day on March 14. Smith also participated in the NFL combine at Indianapolis last month.

Marrone is already very familiar with Smith. Hired by the Bills in January after four seasons at Syracuse, Marrone went 3-0 against Smith and the Mountaineers. That included a 38-14 win in the Pinstripe Bowl in December.

Smith struggled on a snowy day, going 16 for 26 for 197 yards and two touchdowns, but also gave up two safeties.

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