- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 4, 2010

PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) - The Buffalo Bills intend to release Aaron Schobel on Wednesday, leaving the door open for the veteran linebacker to sign with another team or retire.

A person familiar with the Bills‘ plans confirmed their decision in an e-mail to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the Bills have not made an announcement.

The move would come two days after general manager Buddy Nix said the Bills were moving on without their leading pass-rusher, who had spent the offseason contemplating retirement.

The Bills, who are off until they open practice at 7 p.m., did not return a message seeking comment. ESPN first reported the team’s plan to release Schobel on Wednesday morning.

Schobel told the AP on Monday that he hadn’t ruled out playing one more season, adding he intended to wait a few weeks before deciding on his future. He also said the Bills told him they would release him if he reported to the team at this point.

Schobel did not participate in any team activities this offseason and was placed on the Reserve/Did Not Report list when he failed to show up for the start of training camp in suburban Rochester last week.

Selected in the second round of the 2001 draft out of TCU, Schobel’s 78 sacks rank second on the team behind Hall of Famer Bruce Smith.

He had four years left on a $50.5 million contract extension he signed in 2007. It’s a deal that included a $2 million roster bonus he was due March 1. Schobel did not receive that money, because the payment was due on the condition he passed a physical.

The length and size of Schobel’s contract would have made it difficult for the Bills to trade him, especially after he’s indicated he has no intention of playing beyond this year.

Nix has said he never had any discussions to trade Schobel and, until this week, was hoping the player would play for the Bills.

If Schobel does sign with another team, it’s likely to be one close to his home outside of Houston. That would make the Texans an obvious candidate, as well as Dallas and New Orleans.

At 32, Schobel first discussed the possibility of retiring before the start of last season. Schobel said football was no longer fun to him, and he was growing frustrated with the Bills‘ failure to make the playoffs during his tenure.

Another factor was he was afraid of the toll another season would take on his body. He also wanted to spend more time with his family. Schobel began making that transition when he sold his Buffalo-home this spring and relocated to Texas.