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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) - The Buffalo Bills began addressing their needs at linebacker by signing free-agent Manny Lawson to a four-year contract

"I get to also have a couple guys that I know and have played with," said Lawson. "One being Mario Williams. We played in school (North Carolina State) together."

"It will be good to jaw back and forth with him. Then other guys around the league that I have gotten to get to know playing against them and playing with them. I am just excited to be here."

The Bills announced the move Wednesday, a day after the NFL's free agency period opened. A person familiar with the contract provided the length of the deal, and spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Bills did not reveal the terms.

Listed at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, Lawson played the past two seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. He spent his first five seasons with San Francisco, after the 49ers selected him in the first round in the draft.

"I look at myself as also being a hybrid," said Lawson. "I am a defensive end in a linebacker's body or mentality as you want to put it. I look as far as though I can drop into coverage, I can rush the passer and I think I fit well in this scheme."

Lawson had 47 tackles and two sacks in 16 games, including 10 starts, last season. Overall, he has 18 sacks, two interceptions and seven forced fumbles in starting 81 of 96 career games.

"I would say I do not think I have lost anything. And if I did, what I lost in speed I make-up in wisdom, experience, overall reaction and instinct."