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Hangartner, Wood To Battle For Center Job in 2011

Mac’s Football Blog states that both Eric Wood and Geoff Hangartner will go at it for the center job in 2011.

Bills used the second of their two first-round picks in 2009 on University of Louisville center Eric Wood with the expectation being that he’d become the anchor of the offensive line. Wood opened his career at right guard, with veteran free agent Geoff Hangartner starting at center between Wood and Andy Levitre, the Bills’ second-round pick in ’09.

Wood started ten games before suffering a gruesome broken leg against the Jacksonville Jaguars and landing on injured reserve. Wood started another ten games at right guard last season before moving to his more natural center position for the final four games after Geoff Hangartner injured his knee.

Mark Gaughan of The Buffalo News writes that Bills general manager Buddy Nix thinks that, if healthy, Wood could be the starting center going forward, but Hangartner isn’t going to let a starting role at his preferred position go without a fight.

“That’s my mind-set, yes,” Hangartner said of remaining in the middle. “I haven’t spoken with anybody about it. But that is my mind-set.”

Hangartner, 29, is scheduled to earn $2.55 million in the third season of his four-year, $13 million contract he signed in March of 2009.

Wood is too talented to not start somewhere on the Bills offensive line this season. But the lockout and the group losing an off-season of work with offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris could keep the status quo in place to start the 2011 season, which would also impact Kraig Urbik and Chad Rinehart’s ability to push for the starting right guard job in camp.

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