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Buffalo Bills News - October 5, 2000

Marker It's time for Bills' new crop of stars to show leadership [9:01 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'If ever there was a time for the Bills' young stars to shine, Sunday against the Miami Dolphins is it. Winning on the road is never easy, and when you're playing at the home of your most fierce rival, the challenge becomes even more daunting. But big-time games call for big-time performances. When it comes to the Bills versus Dolphins, it doesn't get much bigger than that. Regardless of your current opinion of Thurman Thomas in light of his recent comments, there's no denying that games like this are what defined his greatness as a Bill. The same goes for Bruce Smith and Andre Reed, who always got fired up to play the Dolphins. Now is the time for the Bills' new stars to rise to the occasion the way the old ones did.'

Marker Players not fazed by mind games [9:00 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'One of the coaches on the Miami Dolphins' staff thinks the Buffalo Bills had a bit of a psychological edge on the Dolphins last season. The Bills beat Miami twice in '99. "In all honesty, we thought they intimidated us," Miami tight ends coach Pat Jones told the Miami Herald. "We thought they out-toughed us. I hate to admit it, but we felt that at times." Jones, who was Thurman Thomas' college coach at Oklahoma State, thinks the ex-Bill helps the Dolphins combat that attitude this year. The Bills weren't quick to buy into the perception. "We were really playing well on defense both times we played them last year," said safety Henry Jones. "We really made some good plays and took it to them. That might be where he's coming from. If I remember correctly, we ran the ball pretty well the second time we played them. I think especially when our offense is running the ball well, and when we're playing like we can on defense, we're a physical team."'

Marker Bills pumped for Fish-ing trip [7:26 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'Around the Buffalo Bills locker room and practice field, it is known simply as Miami week. No further explanation or incentive is required as the 2-2 Bills prepare for a trip Sunday to Pro Player Stadium to meet the 4-1 Miami Dolphins.'

Marker Thurman: Bills cold at the end [7:24 AM]
Palm Beach Post reports: '"I wish I got a call from (Buffalo owner) Ralph Wilson or something like that," Thomas said. "I never got the opportunity to say bye or wish everybody well. You play there 12 years and you think this is where I'm going to finish my career. . . . I wished it happened better than it did. I would've loved to go out like Jim Kelly or Steve Tasker or Kent Hull. I felt like I was embarrassed, not getting a phone call from Mr. Wilson or from people in the organization until a week after I was released."'

Marker New field at Pro Player is 'best ever' [7:23 AM]
Palm Beach Post reports: 'Even before the rain, the groundskeepers at Pro Player Stadium knew this was going to be a crazy week. They had only six days after the Marlins' season finale to rip out the field and lay down 70,000 square feet of new grass -- transported from Greg Norman's turf farm in Avon Park -- in time for the Dolphins' game against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. Then it started to rain Monday. And it kept raining for 30 hours. By Tuesday night, nearly 14 inches had fallen, leaving the field looking like it would need swimming lap markers, not yard lines. By Wednesday afternoon, though -- thanks to a $1 million drainage system and more than 30 workers sharing shifts that went around the clock -- the transformation was on track.'

Marker Wilson going all out to re-sign Butler [5:08 AM]
D and C reports: '"I've talked to John," Wilson said. "We had a brief conversation and I said we'll talk about renewing his contract when he's ready. "Whenever that is, I'll gladly sit down with him and hopefully we can come to an agreement." Butler, on a scouting trip to Florida and unavailable for comment, is unlikely to be actively seeking another NFL job. The Chicago native has a daughter in high school, strong ties in the western New York community, passionate feelings for the team and a very good relationship with Wilson, the club's 81-year-old patriarch. While not as close to coach Wade Phillips as he was to his predecessor Marv Levy, he has worked effectively with Phillips the past two seasons to field playoff teams. However, there is valid speculation that Phillips would welcome more authority were Butler to depart.'

Marker Thomas turns anger to Wilson [5:05 AM]
D and C reports: 'In a conference call yesterday with Western New York media, Thomas -- the new Mouth of the South -- said he is no longer angry with former teammates Phil Hansen, Henry Jones and John Holecek, the people he called out earlier in the week. Instead, the new target of his ill-will is Wilson, the soon-to-be 82-year-old patriarch of the Bills. The source of Thomas' feelings is that Wilson never spoke to him personally after the Bills cut him and fellow long-time superstars Andre Reed and Bruce Smith last Feb. 10 in a historic salary-cap purging. Wilson did write Thomas a glowing letter, thanking him for all he had done for team -- he played 12 seasons and is the Bills all-time leading rusher. But Thomas felt he deserved more.'

Marker Bills will be bullies [4:49 AM]
Miami Herald reports: 'Dolphins players concede the Buffalo Bills are the most physical and perhaps most intense opponent on their schedule from year to year. But now there is a question whether the Bills actually intimidate the Dolphins. "Well, in all honesty, we thought at times last year they intimidated us," Dolphins tight ends coach Pat Jones said. "We thought they out-toughed us at times. You hate to admit it, but we felt that at times."'

Marker Buffalo offense in search of points [4:48 AM]
Miami Herald reports: 'The Bills move the ball better than the Dolphins. Much better. They rank No. 10 overall in the league in offense, compared to No. 27 for the Dolphins. Buffalo just has problems scoring. Those problems can lead to losses. On Sunday, the Bills (2-2) lost 18-16 to Indianapolis at home, getting beat when the Colts hit a 45-yard field goal as time ran out. The Bills are averaging 18.3 points per game, the lowest of any team with a .500 record or better.'

Marker Konrad, Thomas unlikely for Sunday [4:47 AM]
Miamio Herald reports: 'Fullback Rob Konrad, nursing a sprained knee and ankle, and linebacker Zach Thomas, nursing an ankle injury, are unlikely to play against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.'

Marker Heavy rain changes work routine for all [4:46 AM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: 'The grounds crews at the Dolphins' practice facility and at Pro Player Stadium had to work extra hard to get the fields in playing condition after the heavy rains Monday and Tuesday, but both crews seem to have things in order. "That was probably the best part of [Wednesday] was the grounds crew," coach Dave Wannstedt said, "because we didn't practice the way we needed to. We need to definitely practice better the rest of the week if we're going to be ready for Buffalo."'

Marker Dolphins report [4:44 AM]
Orlando Sentinel reports: '"I was getting those when I was playing in Buffalo from Miami fans," Thurman Thomas, on receiving death threats this week from Bills fans.'

Marker Thomas set for Bills [4:43 AM]
Dolphin Digest reports: '"I'm not going to lie," Thomas told the Miami Herald back in May. "If there are two games I want to win this year, it's those two games. I've always been an honest person and always spoke my mind. When we play the Bills, it won't be just another game for me."'

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October 4, 2000

Marker Dolphins stadium workers scramble to replace turf following storm [8:59 PM]
AP reports: 'A new field at Pro Player Stadium will be ready for Sunday's game between the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills despite a storm that dumped 14 inches of rain in the area, officials said. Work to put down 70,000 square feet of turf was delayed when the storm hit Monday. The project will be completed on time by working around the clock, said Alan Sigwardt, director of grounds and engineering at Pro Player Stadium.'

Marker Thomas still waiting for explanation from Bills [8:58 PM]
AP reports: '"I felt like I was embarrassed not getting a phone call from Mr. Wilson," Thomas said Wednesday, referring to Bills owner Ralph Wilson. "I really never got the opportunity to say, 'Bye,' or to wish everybody well there. ... I just want to hear (Wilson's) voice and hear him say what happened and how it went down."'

Marker From the editor [2:57 PM]
Dolphin Digest reports: 'Defense -- This is the strength of both teams and, although the Bills have an outstanding defense, the Dolphins are better because the Bills don't have a linebacker like Zach Thomas or a defensive back like Sam Madison...Special teams -- Olindo Mare will be the difference and Matt Turk should keep the Bills backed up...The Dolphins will win, say 17-13, and it will mean a wonderful bye week for a team that is quietly sneaking up on the rest of the league.'

Marker Morris a pleasant surprise for Bills [9:02 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'When fullback Sammy Morris was taken by the Buffalo Bills in the fifth round of the draft last April, his goals were modest. Maybe a few snaps here or there and an appearance or two on special teams would have made the former Texas Tech star very happy. Morris did earn a job on special teams. As for playing in the Bills' backfield, that hasn't worked out the way he expected. It's worked out better.'

Marker Keeping Butler should be top priority [9:01 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Butler is four months away from auctioning off himself. For some unfathomable reason, Ralph Wilson has not re-signed the big guy who bleeds Bills blue and red. It's the current talk of the league, where Butler enjoys consensus ranking as one of the three or four best general managers in the NFL.'

Marker Walker makes it safety last [8:50 AM]
Palm Beach Post reports: 'Dolphins strong safety Brian Walker smiles at this topic. He's been having to prove his toughness since he came into the league in 1996 as an undrafted 186-pound cornerback. It didn't change this season when the 206-pounder was asked to switch from free safety. "My job is all about banging," Walker said. "Back there at free safety, you didn't have to worry about going against the tight ends and pulling guards because those big guys don't want to run downfield that far. I know I've got to play a physical game."'

Marker Bills are ordinary, not a contender [5:07 AM]
D and C reports: 'It is farcical to consider the Bills a serious threat this year to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl and serve as sacrificial lambs to the St. Louis Rams. In fact, if the Bills lose Sunday in Miami, you may have to cross them off the list of contenders for the AFC playoffs because the hole they will be in will be almost inescapable.'

Marker Living for the moment [5:06 AM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: 'Lost amid the brouhaha surrounding the preseason demotion of ex-starter J.J. Johnson is the fact the Dolphins have another talented tailback worthy of playing time. Denson proved that in Sunday's 31-16 victory over Cincinnati. "It got me a chance to show what I could do and that I could contribute," said Denson, who rushed eight times for 32 yards and caught one pass for five yards in his first action of the season. "I want them to feel I'm one of those players they kind of need to be out there every week."'

Marker Gadsden becoming Fiedler's choice [5:03 AM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: '"When the opportunity arises, I think the people in the locker room count on me to make some plays. I want to do that for the people that are fighting [to win] everyday, especially when it gets down in the red zone."'

Marker Bills dismiss Thomas as a grumpy old man [5:01 AM]
Miami Herald reports: 'Mostly, Thomas' former teammates put his remarks down to his typical behavior. Thomas has historically found ways to motivate himself through the perceived disrespect by others.'

October 3, 2000

Marker Miami game now looms huge for Bills [2:37 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'Heading into a meeting with the Dolphins at Broward County's Pro Player Stadium five days from now, the Bills are already in trouble in the AFC East. Bad enough they're 2-2 a quarter of the way into the season, worse they're 0-2 in the NFL's toughest Division and about to meet a Miami team with a defense almost the equal of their own...on the road.'

Marker Thomas' blasts heat up Bills-Dolphins [9:01 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'In Monday's Miami Herald, Thomas was especially harsh toward to defensive end Phil Hansen, strong safety Henry Jones and linebacker John Holecek. Thomas attacked Hansen for his public comments about fellow ex-Bill Bruce Smith and his training camp holdouts. Thomas also claimed Jones and Holecek disrespected him in practices.'

Marker Same old Thurman stages verbal rerun of his tired act [8:59 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Thurman says he didn't forget what happened in the offseason, but nobody forgot about him, either. The sorry thing about Thurman's act is that he gave us a refresher course about himself. He's older, but he's not any wiser.'

Marker Dolphins notebook [7:23 AM]
Orlando Sentinel reports: '"He`s as big as all outside." -- Linebacker Robert Jones on Buffalo nose tackle Ted Washington.'

Marker Dolphins gearing for Bills [7:22 AM]
Orlando Sentinel reports: '"I guess with Buffalo and the Jets, it starts feeling more intense around here than any other week because of the rivalry," receiver Oronde Gadsden said. "With the history between the teams we`ve put together, it`s going to be a little more intense."'

Marker Dolphins have a different look [7:15 AM]
Palm Beach Post reports: 'Robert Jones couldn't say it last week. He wanted to, and he was even asked to, but he couldn't say anything bad about Cincinnati for fear of motivating the Bengals. He doesn't have such a problem this week with Buffalo up next. "Now that it's done and over with, I can honestly say I didn't have much respect for Cincinnati," the linebacker said. "I only said that (to the media), but I do respect Buffalo. Buffalo's got a lot of talent. Great quarterbacks. Either one can give us trouble. Both have given us trouble in the past. Great wide receivers. A harem of running backs, massive offensive line. It's going to be a tough, physical battle this week." How tough? "Look at their mascot," he said, "it's a buffalo. There's nothing finesse about a buffalo."'

Marker Dolphins' backfield crowded [7:13 AM]
Palm Beach Post reports: 'Thurman Thomas will get all the attention -- it is, after all, Buffalo week -- but the Miami Dolphins' running backs are learning to share the football. For the first time this season, three Miami runners got at least five carries in Sunday's 31-16 victory over Cincinnati. This depth was needed after Thomas was held out with a groin injury.'

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09/07 @ Chicago Bears 1:00 pm
09/14 Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm
09/21 San Diego Chargers 1:00 pm
09/28 @ Houston Texans 1:00 pm
10/05 @ Detroit Lions 1:00 pm
10/12 New England Patriots 1:00 pm
10/19 Minnesota Vikings 1:00 pm
10/26 @ New York Jets 1:00 pm
11/09 Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 pm
11/13 @ Miami Dolphins 8:25 pm
11/23 New York Jets 1:00 pm
11/30 Cleveland Browns 1:00 pm
12/07 @ Denver Broncos 4:05 pm
12/14 Green Bay Packers 1:00 pm
12/21 @ Oakland Raiders 4:25 pm
12/28 @ New England Patriots 1:00 pm

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