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RB Anthony Dixon figures to help Bills' special teams units


The Buffalo Bills’ signing of free-agent running back Anthony Dixon is another move they hope will bolster their special teams units.

Dixon spent the past four years with the San Francisco 49ers and was a regular on their special-teams units.

“I definitely found the love of special teams in my years in San Francisco,” Dixon told reporters today after signing a contract with the Bills. “I just got better and better. Now it’s just a part of who I am. I’m looking forward to coming down here and contributing on special teams. Whatever coach wants me to do.”

The Bills’ special teams ranked 31st in the NFL last year, according to the Dallas Morning News’ annual survey. Coach Doug Marrone has said adding more core special teamers is a priority. Buffalo signed former Pro Bowl special teamer Corey Graham, a cornerback, this week. They expect newly-signed linebacker Keith Rivers will see significant time on special teams, too.

Dixon played on both kickoff coverage and returns and punt coverage and returns for the Niners.

“I did all four phases all my years down there in San Francisco, and I pretty much played every position,” he said. “It’ll be something I’m fully capable of, and I’m just ready to get to work.”

Dixon is a big back, at 6-foot-1, 235 pounds. His size brings an added dimension to the Bills’ backfield as the No. 3 back, behind C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson. Dixon yearned for more carries with the Niners. He averaged only 26 carries a season and about four plays a game on offense over the past three seasons. Tashard Choice, the Bills’ No. 3 back the past two years, got 35 carries in 2013 and 46 in 2012.

Barring injury, Dixon isn’t going to get a lot of carries, but he thinks he will get more than he got in San Francisco.

“That was my whole idea in the process,” he said. “I wanted to go somewhere where somebody was going to put me to work, like I wanted. … I talked to coach Marrone. That’s their plan to put me to work.”

Dixon also explained his nickname, "Boobie," which he got in college at Mississippi State.

"It happened when I was a freshman in college," he said. "The Friday Night Lights movie was coming out. I went out there my freshman year and I was balling and making plays and doing some of everything. All the players were calling me that. Coach Sylvester Croom at the time started calling me that and it just stuck."

James "Boobie" Miles was one of the lead characters in the movie.

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About the reporters

Vic Carucci returned to The Buffalo News as a Bills beat reporter in September. Carucci covered the Bills for 17 years before joining as a columnist in 1999. Prior to rejoining The News, he spent three years as a senior editor for the Cleveland Browns.

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida.