Bills appear set with staff; scouting next [9:00 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Grumbling among players during the season was directed mostly at the play-calling of offensive coordinator Mike Sheppard and at offensive line coach Ronnie Vinklarek.'
Bills may 'tag' Cowart [5:07 AM]
D and C reports: '"We could do that," Donahoe said, "and that's still an option that we'll certainly take a look at. I don't like it because I think sometimes it creates hard feelings. But in the system that we have it's available to us. We would be foolish if we didn't explore it."'
End of Rob Johnson's brief and ill-fated career with Bills appears imminent now [10:39 PM]
ESPN reports: Donahoe reiterated that Buffalo will not offer Johnson a long-term contract extension and still prefers a deal that allows the team one more season to evaluate him. The indications are that Johnson won't accommodate the club with that kind of contract.
Donahoe doesn't rule out franchising Cowart [8:00 PM]
AP reports: '"I think it's totally unfair to expect a player, who would normally get his bonus at one time, be expected to tier it in a way that means he has to audition," Burrough said. "Once you activate a player, then you've determined by activating him that he's ready."'
Bills sign three free agents [4:00 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: The Bills signed 3 free agents: WR Reggie Allen (1999, 2001 Bills training camp), WR Scott Keys (Eagles 2001 camp), and Safety Chad Sears (1996-2000 University of North Alabama).
Bills sign three free agents [3:30 PM]
AP reports: 'The Buffalo Bills signed three free agents on Friday, including receiver Reggie Allen, who spent part of last year on the team's practice roster.'
Bills' great Kelly among finalists for Hall of Fame [9:07 AM]
AP reports: Marv Levy opened the door to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Jim Kelly might be the first to follow him in. In his first year of eligibility, and a year after Levy was inducted, Kelly was among 15 finalists announced for selection into the hall. The class of 2002 will be determined on Feb. 2, a day before the Super Bowl, following a vote of the hall's board of selectors.
Kelly, Lofton make Hall cut [9:06 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"Whether it's this year, whether it's next year or two years down the road, my dream is that my son will be around to watch me go into the Pro Football Hall of Fame," Kelly said. "He's my life."'
Freak show haunts Smith [6:54 AM]
Boston Herald reports: '"Did I learn anything from that game? You bet I learned something from that game," said Smith. "I learned you have to be ready for all situations. I thought the Bills were ready for everything that Tennessee thought of for us except the last play of the game on special teams with that throwback. That taught me we have to be ready for all situations no matter what comes up and never stop playing."'
Modell takes step toward Hall [5:24 AM]
Canton Repository reports: 'If there is a favorite among the 15 [finalists], it is Kelly, the only one in his first year of eligibility.'
Kelly, Parcells and Modell among finalists [3:31 PM]
AP reports: 'Kelly is the only candidate in his first year of eligibility.'
Parcells among finalists for Pro Football Hall of Fame [3:30 PM]
Sportsticker reports: 'Quarterback Jim Kelly, Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell and punter Ray Guy were among the other finalists for the Class of 2002, which will be announced Febuary 2 in New Orleans.'
Draft Dish: Bills show interest in Carr, Harrington [2:39 PM]
SportingNews reports: There's a strong sense around the NFL that Buffalo is banking on picking either Joey Harrington or David Carr, the top two QBs in this year's draft class. It's likely team president Tom Donahoe will let oft-injured QB Rob Johnson go, leaving Alex Van Pelt, who recently agreed to a five-year contract extension, as the starter.
Fifteen Finalists for Hall of Fame Election announced [12:48 PM]
ProFootballHOF.com reports: Jim Kelly, QB, 1986-1996 Buffalo Bills
James Lofton, WR, 1989-1992 Buffalo Bills (among others)
Kelly also played two seasons in the defunct USFL with the Houston Gamblers (1984-85).
Big Ted going to Pro Bowl in place of Sapp [11:00 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: Ted Washington never gets tired of going to the Pro Bowl.
Although he's a Pro Bowl veteran, this will be the first time Washington has represented the NFC. His other three trips -- 1996, 1997 and 2000 -- came when he was in Buffalo.
Up close in the off-season: Dan O'Leary [10:21 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: Offseason plans: get an intern in Cleveland Clinic in their computer area.
Chris Mortensen's chat items on Buffalo [9:49 AM]
ESPN reports: Just Buffalo related remarks:
Q: You recently said that Buffalo would try to get Harrington or Carr in the April draft, yet we're also hearing they are going to trade down for more picks. Any updates?
A: I think that the Bills are very high on Carr and Harrington, but there are a couple of other QBs that may catch their eye, too, like Kiitner and Davey, so if they got great value for the fourth pick that would enhance their overall draft - and still get a QB they believe will be a quality NFL starter - then I'm sure they would consider it. But that's what the next couple of months are about - to evaluate everything.
Q: What do you think of the Johnson situation in Buffalo? Personally, I think they should let him go if he wont accept contract changes. I doubt houston would want to take him in the Expansion draft.
A: Don't be so sure about that. Chris Palmer was one of Rob's offensive coaches in Jacksonville and he was pretty high on the guy, I think. Palmer is the Houston OC.
Cottrell vs Dungy [9:19 AM]
ESPN reports: Ex-Bils DC Ted Cottrell is going head-to-head with Bucs ex-HC Tony Dungy for positions with Panthers and Jets. Indianapolis will interview New York Jets DC Ted Cottrell on Saturday and the Panthers will meet with him on Thursday. Dungy's agent is still working on times and places to meet.
Wilson won't ask for any coaching staff changes [5:08 AM]
D and C reports: 'The fact the Bills were competitive, with nine games decided by a touchdown or less, encouraged and impressed Wilson and left Williams on solid footing.'
Cowart talks may mask hidden agenda [9:08 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'It could be that Cowart's condition is merely a convenient excuse to jettison another veteran.'
Carolina added to list seeking to interview with Ted Cottrell [6:35 AM]
ESPN reports: Carolina officials on Tuesday sought and were granted permission to discuss their head coach job with Cottrell. It marked the 2nd consecutive day in which the Jets granted permission to talk to Cottrell, who will meet with Colts officials by the end of this week.
An 18-year league veteran, Cottrell moved to the Jets staff in 2001 after spending 7 years on the Buffalo Bills staff, the last three of those seasons as DC. His defense led the NFL this season in takeaway/turnover differential and Cottrell was key in making a critical switch at midseason from a "cover two" scheme to a "cover three" alignment.
Bruuuuuuce is not ready to hang up cleats yet [6:28 AM]
ESPN reports: Ex-Bill great Bruce Smith has warmed up to new Redskins coach Steve Spurrier. "He's a coach that believes you should burn it on the game field instead of the practice field," Smith said.
Smith injured his shoulder early in training camp and didn't come close to repeating his 10-sack season of the previous season, finishing with just five. Smith called Spurrier "very refreshing" and noted the coach's no-tackling rule in practice.
Smith is 12 sacks short of Reggie White's NFL career record of 198, a mark Smith would dearly love to have. He also wants one more chance to win a Super Bowl, having lost four in a row during his 15 seasons with the Buffalo Bills.
Marv Levy to Colts: 'I am ready to coach' [5:32 AM]
ESPN reports: 'Nevertheless, Irsay said that while he has "tremendous respect for guys like Marv Levy and Ted Marchibroda," he sounded somewhat reluctant to endorse Levy as his next coach. "If we could just meet, if we stirred up the coals, I think he would have a different view," said Levy. "But he has to be open for it to work."'
Levy, 76, would listen to the Colts [5:23 AM]
Indianapolis Star reports: '"I didn't apply for the job," said Levy, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August after posting a 154-120 record (including playoffs) during 17 years as a head coach. If the Colts expressed an interest? "I'll give you an honest answer rather than dance," Levy said. "I would probably listen."'
TEAM BY TEAM DRAFT REVIEW [3:33 PM]
Dallas Morning News reports: • • •
2001 picks: 12.
On roster: 8
On reserve lists: 2
The Bills' draft class started a combined 66 games in a 3-13 season. That's the league high. All eight draft picks started games. No. 2 pick Travis Henry rushed for 729 yards with two 100-yard games.
April grade: A
January grade: A+
Bills want Cowart...but at what cost? [1:28 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'They could declare Cowart their franchise player and pay him the average salary of the top five middle/inside linebackers in the NFL. And though, Donahoe hates to use that designation, it might make the most sense if Cowart doesn't agree to a contract. That way the Bills would only be bound by a one-year agreement, ample opportunity to assess his health.'
Vote for the Bill of the Year [10:41 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: All the players who won Game Ball of the Week awards are now eligible to win the buffalobills.com Game Ball of the Year title.
Vote for the Jill of the Year [10:08 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: Which Buffalo Jill deserves the honor of being named the Jill of the Year?
Cowart could test market [9:08 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The signing bonus will be the most contentious part of the negotiations. Burrough has proposed a tiered bonus that would pay Cowart a certain amount when he signs, when he passes a physical and the rest when he is activated to the regular-season roster.'
Colts Receive Permission With Jets to speak with Ted [7:04 PM]
AP reports: Cottrell spent 11 seasons with the Buffalo Bills, the last three as DC, when his defenses never finished worse than sixth in the NFL. His time with Buffalo also overlapped with that of Colts president Bill Polian.
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