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Buffalo Bills News - July 22, 2000

Marker Jones, Hansen step into Bills' leadership role [2:27 PM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Phillips didn't mention strong safety Henry Jones and defensive end Phil Hansen by name, but he didn't have to. With 10 years each with the Bills, the leadership mantle automatically falls to them. "I guess I won the title by default," Jones said after the first training camp practice Friday at St. John Fisher College. "It feels a lot different not having Bruce and those guys around. I've always had somebody here older than me to look up to and listen to. But now, I'm that guy people are coming to for advice." "It's really hard to believe that Bruce, Thurman and Andre are gone," added Hansen. "They were such a big part of our success for more than a decade. Now it's time for guys like myself and Henry to take a more prominent role."'

Marker Tillman relieved to be in camp [2:26 PM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Tillman admitted to having some anxiety over the drawn-out negotiations, which threatened to keep him out of training camp. "I was getting a little worried because it was very important for me to be here on time to get out and start working again," he said following the morning session. "I just told my agent I wanted to be here, and I wanted him to make it happen."'

Marker Thurman Thomas dons Dolphins uniform [7:57 AM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reports: '"It wasn't because when I first signed here and got to be in this locker room with all these players, you kind of forget about that,"; said Thomas, a likely Hall of Famer. "The only time you're reminded about it is when (the media personnel) ask me."'

Marker Bills kick off camp at Fisher [7:48 AM]
D and C reports: 'The official kickoff yesterday of the Buffalo Bills' first training camp workouts in Rochester provided a peek into what lies ahead for the team, on and off the field. Though inclement weather and a work day kept attendance to moderate numbers and far below what officials predicted, it didn't dampen people's enthusiasm. From the moment 81-year-old team owner Ralph Wilson walked onto the practice field at 9:30 a.m. to warm cheers, the party was on. "I could never have envisioned all of this, but who could?" said Wilson, glancing at the carnival-like scene of corporate tents, merchandise sales and interactive games.'

Marker Porter, Bills look ahead to future, but remember Titans' kickoff return [7:45 AM]
D and C reports: 'Daryl Porter realizes that for as long as he lives, the horrible memory will remain deep in his mind. "I still haven't gotten over it," Porter said yesterday when asked to recall Homerun Throwback, the miraculous 75-yard trick kickoff return that Tennessee executed last Jan. 8 which doomed the Bills to one of the most heartbreaking losses in their history. "That will be something that's in the back of my mind for the rest of my life."'

Marker Bills wait for Metz to send Flowers [7:43 AM]
D and C reports: 'Butler called talks "ongoing" but gave no positive indications that a deal would be struck soon. Bills vice president of business administration Jim Overdorf is handling the details with agent Eric Metz. One issue is that Metz has numerous other clients he's trying to get signed with other teams and hasn't been devoting total attention to Flowers. It's believed the Bills and Metz are talking over a deal similar to the one last year's top pick, Antoine Winfield, received: $7 million over five years with a $3.5 million bonus. However, unlike a year ago, the Bills are struggling to find salary cap room that can accommodate a large bonus for Flowers. "It's got to meet terms, length, money," Butler said. "He (Metz) has a client to take care of, and we have a club to take care of."'

Marker Californians make dream a reality [7:41 AM]
D and C reports: '"This place is fantastic," said Miller, who is spending two weeks with his sister and brother-in-law in Niagara Falls. "Everything about this facility is first class. The sight lines are great. "We'll probably come back one more time before we head back." Miller, his wife and four of their children are all registered members of the Southern Cal Bills Backers club. He hasn't had a chance to register 5-month-old son Jacon yet. The family usually watches the Bills play on Sundays at a sports bar near their home.'

Marker Hansen recalls the good 'ol days [7:40 AM]
D and C reports: '"For me what was more disappointing than the loss (to Tennessee in the wild-card playoff game) was to see all the players go in the offseason," Hansen said. "I thought we were on the verge of something special last year. "Those were major contributors to this team. That team will never be together as a team again."'

Marker Bills having deep thoughts [7:36 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: '"I just have to stay away from getting hurt," Johnson said. "A lot of quarterbacks get hurt. The hits you take with the size of the guys that are hitting you, you are going to get bumps and bruises. "But you have to stay away from the major wounds." Johnson's frailties are part of the reason the Bills don't mind having Flutie waiting in the wings. It also is why in his heart, the former Argo believes he'll get another shot at starting.'

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July 21, 2000

Marker On the defensive [9:28 PM]
AP reports: 'Flowers' agent Eric Metz refused to comment on negotiations when reached by The Associated Press. "I can't really talk about it right now," Metz said. Bills general manager John Butler simply said talks are "ongoing." All of that leaves coach Wade Phillips in a bit of a lurch. "I want to say one more practice and he's got to be here," Phillips said, worried about Flowers falling behind. "Each individual's a little different as far as how long they could go without hurting them and consequently hurting the football team." Asked if Flowers will benefit from the time he spent attending the Bills' two spring minicamps, Phillips said: "He was doing fine, but he won't be OK for a while. I want him in here as quickly as he can."'

Marker These three spell relief for Bills [6:16 PM]
ESPNet reports: 'Those who are wondering who are the Bills' "Next Three" better consult their spellchecker. Marcellus, Antowain and Peerless.'

Marker Johnson, Flutie still uncomfortable about switch [6:14 PM]
ESPNet reports: 'The tough part for both Flutie and Johnson is that the subject remains so uncomfortable. They don't have answers for the reason why Phillips made the switch at that time, and while they can peacefully coexist now that Johnson is the starter, both quarterbacks won't feel comfortable again until the season ends and the results are in.'

Marker Buffalo Bills Survivor: Jim Kelly vs. Steve Tasker [9:19 AM]
TBD reports: 'It is down to the final two players. Jim Kelly vs. Steve Tasker. Who should survive? Who is most deserving of the title: Mr. Buffalo Bill. Here are the opinions of two fans. You decide who is right.'

Marker New facilities impress Wilson [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Buffalo Bills haven't practiced at their new training camp at St. John Fisher College yet, but owner Ralph C. Wilson Jr. already has proclaimed the move a success. The campus will make its official debut as the Bills' summer home today. "We're excited about being here," Wilson said during a news conference. "Everything looks fantastic."'

Marker Flowers still not at camp [8:56 AM]
Buffalo News reports: "Meanwhile, talks between the Bills and Flowers are continuing. Neither Butler nor Flowers' agent, Eric Metz, could be reached for comment. Both had expressed confidence last week that an agreement would be made soon. Bills coach Wade Phillips said Flowers can't afford a long layoff. "At some point it will hurt young players not to be here, but it's not to that point right now," Phillips said. "It's hard for both sides to get exactly what they want. But I'm not into the business side of it. I'm into the football part. Whoever's out there, I'm going to coach them."'

Marker The read on Reed: experience counts [8:50 AM]
Denver Rocky Mountain News reports: 'Reed said he contemplated retirement but a chance to get that elusive Super Bowl ring was too hard to pass up. "I wanted to finish out on my own terms and come to a team that has a good rep, a good coach and good players and fit into a situation. It worked out for me. I'm happy to be here," he said.'

Marker Rochester camp key to Bills marketing expansion [7:55 AM]
AP reports: '"We have a large stadium in Buffalo. And in the present environment of the National Football League, (Buffalo) is going to have a very difficult time supporting this franchise," Wilson said. "So we have to reach out to Rochester and Syracuse and across Western New York to establish ourselves as a Western New York franchise.'

Marker Training camp ushers in new Bills era [7:53 AM]
AP reports: 'New location. Revamped team. Combined, they made Wade Phillips feel like a rookie head coach again Thursday as the Buffalo Bills prepared to open training camp. "I'm excited about being here as I am every year, but I think even more so this year -- it's something new," said Phillips. "It seems like the first year I was here. The excitement is there because it's something new. "I think that helps. I think that'll help our football team respond the right way."'

Marker New faces make fans look twice [7:26 AM]
Denver Post reports: 'Reed went to the Super Bowl four times with the Bills but never came home a winner. He believes Shanahan may help him get that elusive championship ring. "I just heard tremendous things about him from people around the league," Reed said. "It's no secret that he's a proven winner and what kind of show he runs here. He just wants guys to win, and that's why I'm here. I told Mike that I just want to taste (winning a Super Bowl) one time. I think I had the best chance of doing that by coming here."'

Marker Former Argo Giancola taking kicks with Bills [6:53 AM]
Toronto Star reports: 'Giancola will be trying to land the placekicking job currently held by veteran Steve Christie, but a more realistic outcome would have him handling strictly the kickoff duties...Bills coach Wade Phillips was impressed with Giancola's performance during the team's first mini-camp in the spring, but said the rookie faces a formidable task in unseating Christie. "Steve's an awfully good kicker and has been for a long time,'' said Phillips, measuring his words carefully. ``I don't know that Giancola can do that, but maybe he can do some things that we need. If he can help us with kickoffs, then he has a chance to make the team. But if he's not a whole lot better than Steve as far as kickoffs are concerned, then I'd think he'd have a tough time making the team. But if he can, then he has a chance."'

Marker Flutie won't get his back up [6:45 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: '"I have no choice but to deal with it and I will, I'll be ready," Flutie said. "Chances are I'm going to get a chance to step on the field at some point. In what capacity whether it's filling in, mopping up or taking over for a segment of the season who knows? "But it is my job to be ready when that opportunity comes."'

Marker Magic makes its way to Fisher [6:34 AM]
D and C reports: 'At 9:30 a.m. Friday, the Bills will start their three-week training camp. As they settled in, the players gave the set-up at Fisher good reviews. "The facilities look beautiful," Flutie said. "I'm sure the crowds will be bigger down here in Rochester." Defensive end Marcellus Wiley was equally impressed. "When I drove up, it looked like a carnival over here," Wiley said. ". . . You can see it's set up to be something big." The camp was put together by Fisher, the Bills and Wegman's Food Markets Inc., the main sponsor. "This was my first look at the camp," said Wegmans CEO Robert Wegman. "I think Rochester is in for a treat."'

Marker It's still fun for Flutie [6:29 AM]
D and C reports: 'At 37, Flutie doesn't think he's had his last hurrah. Given Johnson's history of injuries, it's quite likely he will be called upon at some point again, just as in '98 when he guided the Bills to a 7-3 record and a playoff berth after Johnson injured his ribs.'

Marker Flutie's fans flock to Fisher [6:28 AM]
D and C reports: 'Flutie's one-day camp had been put together by Wegman's Food Markets Inc., the training camp's main sponsor. Jo Natale, a Wegman's spokesman, said 5,000 young people ages 9-14 had entered the drawing for spots at the camp. Talks on nutrition and other issues were mixed in with the activities. The campers were also given lunch featuring the Flutie's Favorite Sub marketed by Wegmans.'

Marker Bills sign Tillman to 4-year deal [6:26 AM]
D and C reports: 'Tillman agreed to a four-year, $2.1 million contract, and his agent, Ben Dogra of St. Louis, said his client is looking forward to starting his NFL career. "He is very excited," said Dogra. "It was his goal to be in camp on time and he will. He recognizes this is a great opportunity for him and he wants to seize it." Tillman is a free safety, and that is a position that will be up for grabs in camp because of the free agent departure of six-year starter Kurt Schulz. Tillman will compete with Daryl Porter and Keion Carpenter, backups last season.'

Marker It's Day 1 for Bills to overhaul the lineup [6:25 AM]
D and C reports: '"There may have been some questions by a lot of people, a lot of guys on the team even, about the moves that were made in the offseason," veteran strong safety Henry Jones said. "It was a time to clear the air for us and to say, 'OK, every year there's change, the only difference this year is that some veterans who were here a very long time are gone.' But that just means some guys are going to have to step up and play."'

Marker Bills can contend, says ESPN's Clayton [6:24 AM]
D and C reports: 'Though he has not seen the Bills do any type of work since their wild-card playoff loss to Tennessee in January, Clayton -- as he does every team in the league -- has a good feel for what to expect from the Bills this season. "They've been drafting well year after year, that's the one thing this franchise has done, they've brought in good athletes and because of that, they have a chance," he said. "And this division is the most changed in the league. Every team has taken a step back except Indianapolis. "I think Indy has the best team and there's going to be a battle for the No. 2 spot between Buffalo and Miami and right now I think Buffalo has the advantage."'

Marker No resting now [6:22 AM]
D and C reports: 'Buffalo Bills coach Wade Phillips said only two players will not participate in the opening workout. Defensive end Marcellus Wiley is recovering from lower back surgery, and free agent cornerback Courtney Jackson will be placed on the injured reserve list and will miss the entire season after blowing out his knee during the last mini-camp in June. Also, Erik Flowers' situation remained up in the air as of last night. As for the rest of the players, Phillips expects everyone to be in tip top shape and ready to work.'

July 20, 2000

Marker Buffalo Bills Survivor: Round 14 is complete! [10:58 PM]
TBD reports: The 14th castaway has been voted off Buffalo Bills Island. This former OG was recently elected into the NFL Hall of Fame. His combination of grit, skill, and determination finally won him his place in Canton. Only two players are left! Vote in the final round!

Marker Wade Phillips press conference (audio) [10:54 PM]
Shout! reports: 'Recorded in active audio, Wade Phillips says the Bills will likely be without Erik Flowers and Travares Tillman for at least the first meeting of training camp this evening. This was his first press conference of training camp at St. John Fisher College in Pittsford, N.Y.'

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