Well, the Bills have blinked.
With defensive end Aaron Schobel contemplating retirement throughout the offseason and then deciding he would be willing to play in a city other than Buffalo, the Bills had three options.
They could trade him, they could tell him, “Play for us or play for no one,” or they could release him.
After insisting that Schobel would not be released, the Bills now reportedly plan to simply set him free. (For those of you who wonder why the team has been so mediocre-to-bad lately, we hope you’re paying attention right now.)
Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Schobel will be released later today, and that Schobel plans to sign with a new team.
Under contract through 2012, Schobel was due to earn a base salary of $6.025 million this year. The 15th pick in the second round of the 2001 draft, Schobel has spent nine seasons with the Bills. He started every game from 2002 through 2007 and in 2009. (Injury limited him to five games in 2008.) He also appeared in every game and started 11 as a rookie.
The 32-year-old has 78 career sacks, and he cracked double digits for the fourth time in his career last season.
But here’s perhaps the most important stat, from Schobel’s perspective. Through nine NFL seasons, the total number of postseason games he has seen without a TV or a ticket is . . . zero.
The Texas native could be eyeballing the Houston Texans, whom many expect to get to the postseason for the first time in team history. Bill Kollar, who was Schobel’s position coach for three years in Buffalo, is the assistant head coach/defensive line coach in Houston.