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Buffalo Bills News - September 4, 2002

Marker Cards to look at ex-Bills tackle John Fina [1:28 PM]
Arizona Republic reports: OT John Fina plans to visit the Cardinals today and take a physical as the club tries to bolster its offensive-line depth. Fina, who played at Tucson Salpointe High and Arizona, is a 10-year veteran. He was chosen by Buffalo in the first round of the 1992 draft. Fina has also drawn interest from Washington but would prefer to sign with Arizona because he lives in Tucson, said his agent. Fina likely wouldn't sign until next week. Veterans on the roster in the first week are guaranteed their season's salaries should they be cut later. As a result, many veterans such as Fina often aren't signed until Week 2.

Marker Drew Bledsoe: Buffalo Bills [11:56 AM]
Orange County Register reports: '"Sometimes, when you're in the same place for a long time, it's human nature: You get a little stale," Bills general manager Tom Donahoe said. "The opportunity here seems to have revitalized him, re-energized him."'

Marker Bryson's status settled - for now [9:05 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I'm glad that I'm a part of this team, and I'm glad to have the trade stuff behind me," said Bryson, still listed as Travis Henry's backup. "Now I can just focus on playing. It gets kind of tough when people keep bringing it up because you don't ever know what's going to happen."'

Marker Wire at safety strengthens run defense [9:05 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Wire was a steal as the 97th overall pick in the draft, but he's a converted linebacker and still a bit shaky in pass coverage. But he sure can hit, and the Bills are willing to risk an occasional big pass play to fortify their questionable run defense.'

Marker 2002 NFL Preview: AFC East [8:48 AM]
Bergen Record reports: 'Path to the playoffs: Williams has a strong defensive background and he will need to use all of it to improve the Bills' rushing defense enough to get them near .500. At least he's got a terrific pair of young corners in Antoine Winfield and Nate Clements.'

Marker Fair Catch for Bills [5:38 AM]
D and C reports: '"We hope that's a routine thing," Bills coach Gregg Williams said of Rogers' touchdown against the Lions. "We've worked very hard on that phase of our game, on making returns a part of our offense."'

Marker Bills add 4 players; Jackson, Farris cut [5:37 AM]
D and C reports: 'The Buffalo Bills added four players on Tuesday, claiming offensive lineman Mike Houghton and linebackers Maugaula Tuitele and Anthony Denman off the waiver wire while signing free agent tight end Cory Geason.'

Marker Drew shot not a hit with Mo [5:36 AM]
New York Daily News reports: 'Now they meet again, Lewis and Bledsoe, Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium. It's their first competitive encounter since that fateful day in Foxboro, when Lewis knocked Bledsoe out of the game, out of his job, and, basically, out of New England.'

Marker Cowart puts leg to test [5:36 AM]
New York Daily News reports: 'The former Pro Bowl linebacker claimed he's "not out for revenge," but he acknowledged, "It will be a tale of two tapes. If I go to Buffalo and play bad, they'll be like, 'I told you so.' If I play great, they'll be like, 'We should've kept him.'"'

Marker Cowart to make Bills pay [5:35 AM]
New York Post reports: '"I felt like I deserved more than a one-year audition and that's basically what they were giving me," Cowart was saying of the Bills' meager effort to re-sign him. "The way it was structured, they wanted to back-end everything. It didn't have anything written in stone after the first year and I needed something written in stone."'

Marker Evans expects titanic battle with Bills [5:34 AM]
New York Post reports: '"I'm looking forward to this," Evans said. "Gregg is a fiery coach, a no-nonsense guy who'll have his team fired up. He's a coach you love to play for."'

Marker Jets Guard Against Bills Surprise [5:33 AM]
New York Newsday reports: '"Some people are writing them off, but we're not writing them off at all," the Jets cornerback said. "They've got nothing to lose. I remember having that feeling in '96 when I was with Jacksonville. Nobody even thought we were going to make the playoffs."'

Marker Cowart pumped for Bills [5:32 AM]
White Plains Journal News reports: 'Is he ready to play? "Ask me Sunday evening and I can answer your question precisely,'' Cowart said. "Right now I feel ready to go, but you never know until you get out there and start hitting, start banging and get back into the feel of things again."'

Marker Madden: Coach unafraid of Bledsoe [5:31 AM]
Boston Herald reports: '"Belichick knows something, has confidence and if he thought anything else, he wouldn't have done this," Madden said. "The question I have is what effect will Bledsoe being in Buffalo have on Tom Brady - plus or minus? Will he feel better without Bledsoe? I'm not sure."'

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September 3, 2002

Marker Some change for the better -- and some not [9:43 PM] reports: Gilbride has strong-armed Drew Bledsoe to throw downfield. He also has receivers in Eric Moulds and Peerless Price who have the size and speed to stretch a defense. When teams finally respect the Bills in the air, Gilbride has a 'talented line' and 'hard runners' in Travis Henry and Shawn Bryson.

Marker Bledsoe's arrival restores cautious hope in Bills [9:40 PM]
AP reports: '"People should be excited. You don't want to try to temper that in any way," Donahoe said weeks later as the Bills prepare to open the season against the New York Jets on Sunday. "But people have to be realistic. They have to understand that we're still a young team in a lot of areas."'

Marker Fantasy Football: Play for Your Favorite NFL Team! [2:00 PM] reports: Grand Prize: Super Bowl XXXVII Fantasy Experience, 2nd Place: Trip to 2003 Pro Bowl, 3rd Place: Trip to Pro Football Hall of Fame, Weekly Prize: Authentic NFL team helmet of your choice

Marker Cowart looking to repay the Bills [1:30 PM]
Bergen Record reports: '"I still want to prove to myself," he said, "that I can be what I was."'

Marker NFL 101: Football Clinic for Women - Tuesday, 9/24/2002 [1:28 PM] reports: Join Steve Tasker in NFL 101 is specifically designed to teach women the X's and O's of football and find out what happens behind the scenes in the NFL.

Proceeds to benefit the American Cancer Society

Marker Bills claim four off waivers; release four, including Jackson [1:27 PM]
AP reports: 'Sheldon Jackson's release leaves the Bills with only 13 players left from the roster Donahoe inherited in taking over in January 2001, following John Butler's dismissal.'

Marker Donahoe and Bills continue with overhaul [1:12 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'But as much as the 2000 draft was filled with failures, this year's roster survivors had plenty of success stories.'

Marker Clayton: Colts' backs were against the wall at RB [1:12 PM]
ESPN reports: The Colts tried everything they could to acquire a backup halfback from the Buffalo Bills, but they wouldn't settle on Richard Huntley, who was later released by the Bills. They preferred Sammy Morris or Shawn Bryson, but no trade could be worked out.

Marker Bills Add Four To Roster [10:38 AM] reports: The Bills today announced that the team has claimed off waivers offensive lineman Mike Houghton, linebacker Maugaula Tuitele, and linebacker Anthony Denman. The Bills have also signed TE Cory Geason.

Marker Wire tapped to start at strong safety [9:05 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills chose Wire over Billy Jenkins, the veteran free agent signed during the offseason. While Jenkins played well, Wire was better in the eyes of the coaching staff.'

Marker Three players claimed, three released [9:04 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills claimed linebackers Maugaula Tuitele from New England and Anthony Denman from Cleveland, and also added offensive lineman Mike Houghton from Green Bay. To make room for the trio, the Bills released veteran linebacker Fred Jones, rookie linebacker Dominique Stevenson and offensive tackle Kris Farris.'

Marker Catholics need to pay the Bills [9:03 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Monsignor Martin Association has the same challenge this season that the Harvard Cup experienced last year: paying the Buffalo Bills for use of Ralph Wilson Stadium.'

Marker Rookie Wire earns start [5:16 AM]
D and C reports: '"Every single situation we've put him in, all he's done is make plays," Williams said of the aggressive 6-foot, 209-pound Wire.'

Marker Biggest upgrade at QB belongs to the Bills [5:15 AM]
D and C reports: 'Has any veteran QB ever walked into a better situation than Bledsoe?'

Marker Bledsoe's Blur of Disbelief [5:14 AM]
New York Times reports: '"I can't imagine a better situation, for me personally, anywhere in the league," Bledsoe said. "Kevin's coaching style fits my style of play probably better than anybody I've ever worked with, from the standpoint of an offensive coordinator. He trusts me, and I trust him."'

September 2, 2002

Marker Making the Club: Grant Irons' Story [11:57 PM] reports: A defensive end from Notre Dame, 23 year-old Grant Irons signed with the Buffalo Bills as a rookie free agent. That meant he was the longest of longshots to make this team.

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