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Buffalo Bills News - February 7, 2002

Marker Agent: Winfield misquoted [9:05 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Buffalo Bills cornerback Antoine Winfield's agent said a magazine misquoted the player about accepting gifts from an agent while at Ohio State.'

Marker Jags interview Clements [9:04 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Clements also has interviewed for the offensive coordinator job in Buffalo.'

Marker Another dishonest player agent comes under the gun [8:26 AM]
Pro Football Weekly reports: Winfield and his agent are at odds. Apparently, Winfield feels his agent defrauded and stole from him. The thing that I always find interesting about players is how stupid they can be. If you come to people with your hand out and they?re willing to commit a legal act to get your name on a contract, why don?t these athletes realize that they are dealing with dishonest people? You do not want dishonest people handling your money and finances.

Marker Levy looks back on drafting Thurman Thomas [8:25 AM]
Pro Football HOF reports: Marv Levy talks about the 1988 draft, the year the Bills picked Thurman Thomas. Thomas was the eight RB taken that year. Anyone remember the Bears' Brad Muster?

Marker NFL greats compete in legends Beach Bowl [7:04 AM] reports: 'Reed also spoke about former teammate Jim Kelly, the former Bills quarterback who was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday. "What can you say about Jim," Reed said. "There was probably no one more deserving to get in on his first try. It's great for the city of Buffalo and it's great for the Bills."'

Marker Agent: Former Ohio State star misquoted [7:02 AM]
AP reports: 'Buffalo Bills cornerback Antoine Winfield's agent said a magazine misquoted the player about accepting gifts from an agent while at Ohio State.'

Marker Bills sign four [5:08 AM]
D and C reports: 'Two centers, Michael Early and Tom Schau, cornerback Jason Bostic and defensive tackle DeVonte Peterson were added to the roster.'

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February 6, 2002

Marker Bills sign four free agents [9:11 PM]
AP reports: '...and center Tom Schau.'

Marker Bills sign another Center [6:30 PM] reports: The Bills today announced that the team has signed free agent center Tom Schau. He has a twin brother, Ryan, who played with him on the offensive line at Illinois and is currently a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Marker Bills sign three free agents [3:22 PM]
AP reports: 'The Buffalo Bills signed three free agents on Wednesday, including center Michael Early, who spent part of last season with the team. Also signed were cornerback Jason Bostic, who spent all of the 2000 season with the Philadelphia Eagles, and defensive tackle DeVonte Peterson, who attended Bills training camp last summer before being released.'

Marker Bills sign three free agents [2:15 PM] reports: The Bills today announced that the team has signed three free agents: cornerback Jason Bostic, center Michael Early, and defensive tackle DeVonte Peterson.

Marker Stick to the plan. It's called CYA football [12:11 PM]
The Sporting News reports: Coordinators are being hired to run a "system" even if the team's personnel doesn't fit. The Bills tried the West Coast way in 2001 even though QB Rob Johnson will never be mistaken for the prototype West Coast QB. The result was miserable. They gained decent yardage, but on third down and in the red zone, they flopped. With a new OC for 2002, you had better not mention WCO in Buffalo anymore.

"I want the Bills' offense," says GM Tom Donahoe. "I don't like systems. Too many guys are wedded to a system, and they run it come hell or high water even if the personnel doesn't fit it. Good coaching is putting your players in positions where they have a chance to be successful. And I don't see that happening enough in this league. The problem with the WCO is, unless you have Steve Young and Jerry Rice, it's not going to be the same."

Marker New full year pigskin calendar by Gina 'Moose' Mustico [9:28 AM] reports: The Buffalo Bills website has a new full year wallpaper desktop calendar with a pigskin theme by TBD contributor Gina 'Moose' Mustico.

Marker Erin to represent Bills Cheerleaders at Probowl [9:21 AM] reports: Our own Buffalo Jill, Erin, will represent Western New York and the Bills in the 2002 Pro Bowl which will take place in Honolulu Hawaii on Feb. 9, 2002.

Marker Croom not interested in Bills [9:06 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'One hurdle the Bills face in selling the opening is the question of job security.'

Marker Winfield knew that gifts in college were wrong [8:30 AM]
ESPN reports: Buffalo Bills cornerback Antoine Winfield said he violated NCAA rules by accepting gifts from an agent while he played at Ohio State, according to published reports.

Marker Money Players [7:37 AM]
US News and World Report reports: 'Antoine Winfield's story is one that should give every new NFL hotshot heartburn...[Winfield's agent Dunyasha Mon Yetts] cheated Winfield out of $1.35 million...Yetts lost about $30,000 playing craps at Winfield's house in Buffalo.'

Marker Winfield says agent gave him gifts [7:34 AM]
AP reports: 'Winfield said his former agent, Dunyasha Mon Yetts, gave him cash, trips to the Bahamas and Las Vegas, suits valued at $1,500 and Ohio State football tickets that he resold for profit.'

Marker Bills' options shrink [5:00 AM]
D and C reports: 'However, five of the seven [offensive coordinator] candidates have been eliminated without even coming to Buffalo for an interview.'

February 5, 2002

Marker Ramsdell declines interview for Bills job [4:06 PM]
AP reports: 'Pittsburgh Steelers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements has been the only candidate to interview in person for the Bills' position, left open after Mike Sheppard was fired last month. Former Steelers offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride and former San Diego coach Mike Riley discussed the job with the Bills, but only over the phone. Riley has since joined the New Orleans Saints as assistant head coach and secondary coach.'

Marker Bills Alumni to host Recognition Luncheon [1:17 PM]
reports: The Buffalo Bills Alumni Association will be hosting a luncheon this Friday, February 8 at 11:00 AM for the representatives of the charitable organizations that received donations from the Alumni Foundation this past year.

Marker Couldn't That Be Us? [12:23 PM] reports: 'Bills fans should look at New England's win over the Rams and take comfort and confidence in it. Why? Because it's just further evidence that in today's NFL, teams can go from the bottom to the top in quick fashion and the Patriots are just the most recent (and most obvious) example.'

Marker Jim Kelly lands in Hall of Fame [7:02 AM]
Butler Eagle reports: 'Jim Kelly's football career began in East Brady. It's winding up in Canton, Ohio.'

Marker Ramsdell tells Buffalo he's staying put [5:27 AM]
St. Louis Post Dispatch reports: '"I decided to pull out of it," Ramsdell said Monday evening after the Rams had returned to St. Louis. "I talked to Gregg [Williams] about it and said that basically the best thing for me and my family after talking about it was to stay here. That's kind of the bottom line of it."'

Marker Buffalo's offensive improvement hinges on down-to-earth approach [5:23 AM]
Niagara Falls Reporter reports: 'Every successful version of the West Coast, from Joe Montana's 49ers to Donovan McNabb's Philadelphia Eagles, has one thing in common -- a quick-thinking, accurate-throwing quarterback. If you could hang Rob Johnson's arm from Alex Van Pelt's shoulder, you'd have the ideal quarterback for the offense. But you can't and you don't. And if you don't, you'd better find a new way to move the football. As Bills fans learned this year, the West Coast can be just as ugly as any other offense when you lack the proper point man.'

February 4, 2002

Marker Faith and football [5:04 PM]
Holland Sentinel reports: 'Riemersma takes his responsibility as a pro athlete seriously. He believes it's his duty to let people know he is a Christian and that he plays and lives with faith as a foundation.'

Marker Ex-Bill, Raider inspires man to walk [2:21 PM]
CNN/SI reports: Villapiano, who played for Raiders from 1971-1980 and for Buffalo Bills from 1980-84, won the ring with the Raiders' 32-14 win against the Vikings in the 1977 Super Bowl.

In an impulsive act, Villapiano gave a discouraged Oellrich his Super Bowl ring to motivate him not only to resume his rehabilitation, but to double his workouts so he could walk again. Oellrich protested, but the former All-Pro insisted that he could only return the ring once he could walk. Oellrich returned the ring Sunday after taking about 10 steps with the help of a cane and going immediately back into his wheelchair.

Marker CNNSI's Phil Taylor rips Kelly's HOF bid [2:18 PM]
CNNSI reports: Hall of Fame spots should go only to the truly great.
But Kelly, the Buffalo Bills quarterback, was never even considered the best at their position in his era.

Marker Jim Kelly Memtioned in Slate's TMQ [2:18 PM]
MSN - Slate reports: How Can You Tell He's From Western Pennsylvania?

Hearing of his selection to the Hall of Fame, Jim Kelly said, "I'm going out with my dad and brothers for shots and beers."

Sentimentality note: In a hotel room in New Orleans, Kelly waited for word of whether he'd been selected with his father, five brothers, and his high-school coach from East Brady, Pa. Oh football gods, why did you deny this man a ring?

Enlightened Hall Politics:

TMQ praises the Canton loya jirga for taking Jim Kelly on the first ballot. That the Bills honked four straight Super Bowls should not prevent admiration for the fact that they were able to get into four straight meaning they are the only team ever to win four straight conference championships, which is the preferred emphasis in Buffalo. Buffalo never got the ring but may end up with seven in Canton from its Super Bowl team - Kelly and Marv Levy, already; Thurman Thomas and Bruce Smith, locks; Steve Tasker, Kent Hull, and Andre Reed, likely. Thus the football gods console the vanquished.

Kelly himself deserves kudos for his grasp of Hall politics. As TMQ noted a year ago, Kelly cut his career a little short, since he might have played an extra season or two, in order to become eligible in 2002, when he would have less Canton competition. Staring at Kelly's brake lights are John Elway, Dan Marino, and Steve Young, all eligible soon and sure to monopolize Hall admission slots for quarterbacks. It was a savvy move for Kelly to make sure he got admitted before such gentlemen's names went on the ballot.

Marker Belichick's defense repeats Superbowl performance [1:17 PM]
Sporting News reports: Eleven years ago, current Patriots coach Bill Belichick capped off his run as the Giants' defensive mastermind by working with coach Bill Parcells to shock another offensive juggernaut, the 1990 Buffalo Bills. The Giants won the closest game in Super Bowl history, surviving 20-19.

The Giants relied on a ball-control conservative offense (they held the ball for a Super Bowl-record 40 minutes, 33 seconds), leaning on the strength of Belichick's unit, the cautious play of inexperienced starting QB Jeff Hostetler and the running of Ottis Anderson. Brady was in Hostetler's role in February 2002, carefully watching over Weis and Belichick's game plan. Antowain Smith provided the backfield punch for Brady, grinding out 92 yards on 18 carries.

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