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Buffalo Bills News - January 30, 2004

Marker Nice rebound for Pats [8:59 PM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'Bills linebacker Takeo Spikes just shook his head at the memory yesterday, amazed at how good his team looked and how putrid the Patriots appeared. "It's nice to be (at the Super Bowl) but not under these circumstances," said Spikes, in town for the Super Bowl festivities. "I mean we beat those guys badly."'

Marker Levy To Serve As Honorary Pro Bowl Coach [4:37 PM] reports: '"I am looking forward to going back to the sidelines very much. It is an honorary coaching position and I am looking forward to working with the Indianapolis Colts staff. Their offense is very similar to what we ran when I was in Buffalo and I have a lot of respect for their coaching staff. It will be wonderful to be on the field again with all of the great players. It is going to be nice weather in Hawaii and I am looking forward to being there."'

Marker Bledsoe assesses 'frustrating' season [4:36 PM]
Portland Tribune reports: '"Frustrating," he says. "The style of offense we were forced to play was dramatically different than a year ago. We were set up personnelwise to play a lot more conservative style, but at times we tried to play the same style as last year. We just didn't have the personnel for it."'

Marker Spikes Excited About First Pro Bowl Trip [3:59 PM] reports: '"I am happy that Coach Gray is staying because stability has always been very important to me. I always wanted to feel comfortable with the people and the system that they have in place, and right now in Buffalo I feel comfortable. We don't have to learn a new system this year, we can just let our athletic ability take over without even thinking about the system. I felt like from week eight through 16, our defense really picked it up and played to its ability, so I am excited that everyone is still in tact and that we still have the chemistry that we had last year. Now we are catching on."'

Marker Ask Kick Returner Antonio Brown [3:58 PM] reports: 'Here's your chance to ask Brown a question!'

Marker Buffalo Bills Sign Shafer to NFL Europe [1:28 PM] reports: 'Shafer was Syracuse’s starting punter for four years, 1999-2002. He is the school’s all-time leader with 249 career punts and 10,073 career punting yards, and he ranks fourth on the yards per punt list (40.5 ypp).'

Marker Shula, Levy honorary Pro Bowl coaches [12:38 PM] reports: "I've been working day and night on the game plan," Levy said during a press conference at the Super Bowl media center in Houston. Levy also joked that the last time he coached in the Pro Bowl it was against Knute Rockne. On a serious note, Levy and Shula expressed excitement at the idea of getting to work with some of the top players in the NFL today.

Marker Bills sign quarterback among five free agents [8:58 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Zolman was a four-year starter at Vanderbilt, finishing with a school-record 596 completions for 7,981 yards. He was signed by Indianapolis as an undrafted rookie in 2002 but failed to make the team, and he finished the year as a member of Green Bay's practice squad.'

Marker Centers cherishing Super Bowl moments [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Spikes will be richly rewarded for his trip to Hawaii. His contract with the Bills included a Pro Bowl roster bonus believed to be about $500,000.'

Marker Pataki seeks surcharge on sports tickets [8:56 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"Ticket prices, particularly here in Buffalo, are already sky high, and adding another tax to it would be too much," said Tim Kane, president of the Monday Quarterback Club, a Buffalo Bills support group. "Any additional increases in price, and people just might not go."'

Marker Fine imposed in case linked to former Bill [8:55 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'A Sloan man involved in drug activity with former Buffalo Bills lineman Jerry Crafts has been fined $2,000 and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service.'

Marker Law, Patriots Remain Friendly With Milloy [5:20 AM]
Washington Post reports: '"I talk to Lawyer every week,'' Law said. "He's one of my best friends. . . . I still don't say we're a better team without Lawyer Milloy. That would be ignorant to say. He's one of the best safeties in the league. We still miss him. But at the same time, we're a good football team. That goes to show you, no one man wins a championship.'''

Marker Belichick makes Super case for cutting Lawyer [5:19 AM]
New York Daily News reports: 'While the Milloy situation was depicted as a dispute over money - he refused to take a $1.4 million pay cut on his $4.6 million salary - it actually went beyond dollars and cents. Milloy, a former Pro Bowl player, had become selfish in the eyes of the organization. He demanded his $4.6 million salary even though he knew it would've forced the team to release three or four players to stay under the salary cap. That, the club felt, wasn't very Patriot-like.'

Marker Inside slant [5:18 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'The Bills interviewed seven candidates, including offensive and defensive coordinators and some with previous NFL head coaching experience. But in the end, Donahoe felt most comfortable tapping his roots. It only made sense. With a hire this important to the Bills, who haven't made the playoffs in four seasons, and to Donahoe, whose three-year master plan to rebuild the Bills has produced a 17-31 record and put his own career in jeopardy, why gamble on somebody he didn't know? He did that with Williams and whiffed big time.'

Marker Strategy and personnel [5:17 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: '"I feel great about it," said Gray, whose Bills' units have steadily improved from 21st to 14th to No. 2 in the league. "This is a great situation. I'm excited about what we can accomplish. He knows I'm going to support him 100 percent and do everything I can to help him win."'

Marker Notes, quotes, anecdotes [5:16 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'A possible addition to Mularkey's staff in a yet-to-be-determined capacity is Tom Cross, the offensive coordinator at Macalester College. When Cross was the head coach at Concordia-St. Paul in Minnesota, he befriended Mularkey, who played for the Vikings, and hired him as an assistant coach. Mularkey would like to repay the favor if Cross were interested in making the leap to the NFL.'

Marker Bills Sign Five More [5:15 AM] reports: 'Mike Shafer was a place kicker/punter at Syracuse. He holds the school records in for punts and punting yardage. Shafer had previous tryouts with the Texans and Rams.'

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January 29, 2004

Marker Bills Add Five To The Roster [5:26 PM]
WGR-AM reports: 'Two of Buffalo's latest signings have Arena League experience. Linebacker Asa Francis played with the New Jersey Gladiators in 2001. Carter was named Arena League Defensive Player of the Year after picking off 14 passes for the Arkansas Twisters.'

Marker QB Zolman among five free agents signed by Bills [2:01 PM]
AP reports: 'Zolman was a four-year starter at Vanderbilt, finishing with a school-record 596 completions for 7,981 yards.'

Marker Bills Sign Five Free Agents [1:01 PM] reports: 'The Bills today announced that the team has signed defensive back Kahlil Carter, offensive lineman Jasen Esposito, linebacker Asa Francis, kicker/punter Mike Shafer, and quarterback Greg Zolman. All five players have been allocated to participate in NFL Europe.'

Marker Bills sign pair [8:53 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Shelton played four seasons with Jacksonville after being selected by the Jaguars in the sixth round of the 1997 draft (184th overall) out of Sacramento State. He played for Chicago in 2001 and 2002, joining the Bears as an unrestricted free agent. He sat out 2003 after being released by Chicago in the preseason.'

Marker Henning keeps the Panthers grounded [8:52 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I loved Marv," Henning said. "Marv is a great motivator and the most intelligent guy you ever want to meet. We had an average season up there. It was a changeover after Jim Kelly had left. But I loved the people of Buffalo. They are the greatest - except when they go to the stadium. When they go to the stadium, they're out of control."'

Marker Calling the shots [8:51 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"To tell you the truth, I think I nailed both those interviews," Weis said. "I think I went in prepared. I think I presented myself well. . . . I really liked Tom Donahoe (the Bills' president and general manager). But things didn't work out. They hired Mike (Mularkey), and I wish them well - just not against us."'

Marker Wilson smart to hold line on ticket prices [5:16 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'The average Bills ticket cost $41 in 2003 ($30 to $39 for season tickets and $30 to $48 for individual game tickets). It was the third-cheapest ticket in the 32-team NFL this season.'

Marker Habitat for Humanity, NFL among groups doing heavy lifting for house [5:15 AM]
Houston Chronicle reports: 'Jack Kemp didn't do any heavy lifting Wednesday as well-muscled football players hefted the Vidaurri family's furniture into their new home -- the first of 38 that will be built by Habitat for Humanity volunteers in conjunction with Sunday's Super Bowl.'

Marker Bills Sign Two [5:14 AM] reports: 'Shelton was Jacksonville's sixth round draft pick in 1997. He played four seasons with the Jaguars. Shelton then signed as a free agent with Chicago, where he played the 2001 and 2002 seasons. He was out of football last year.'

January 28, 2004

Marker Bills sign free agents FB Shelton, OL Smith [6:54 PM]
AP reports: 'For his career, Shelton has 104 yards rushing and one touchdown, and 324 yards receiving and one touchdown. He also missed four games in the 2001 and 2002 seasons after the NFL suspended him for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.'

Marker Bills Sign Two Free Agents [5:06 PM]
WGR-AM reports: 'Smith had spent the past two years with the Baltimore Ravens, mostly on the practice squad. Hicks has also played in NFL Europe, spending the 2003 season with the Amsterdam Admirals.'

Marker Bills Sign Two Free Agent [4:10 PM] reports: 'The Bills announced that the team has signed fullback Daimon Shelton and offensive lineman Lawrence Smith.'

Marker Aaron Schobel Takes Next Big Step [2:23 PM] reports: 'Q: How important was it to the defensive players that Jerry Gray was kept on board as defensive coordinator? AS: I'm glad that I know him and that he understands what I can do and vise versa with me and him. I'm glad they kept him because that's the most important for me because I deal with him everyday. I understand his scheme and that's the most important part, and we get along.'

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