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Buffalo Bills News - March 2, 2002

Marker Saints cut costly Blake in attempt to clear salary cap [6:35 AM]
Biloxi Sun Herald reports: 'The Bills will probably now take a run at Blake as a free agent.'

Marker Saints dump QB Blake to make salary cap room [6:34 AM]
Mobile Register reports: 'Saints general manager Randy Mueller tried to trade Blake to the Buffalo Bills Friday but neither team could agree on compensation for the veteran quarterback so he was released by the Saints.'

Marker Bishop, Robinson getting interest from Williams' Bills [6:33 AM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: 'Safety Blaine Bishop, released by the Titans on Thursday, spoke yesterday with Buffalo Bills Coach Gregg Williams and, not surprisingly, there is interest on both sides.'

The Titans may also have some stiff competition for defensive tackle Jason Fisk. His agent, Josh Wright, said Fisk is heading to Indianapolis tonight and will meet with representatives from the Browns, Bills and 49ers.

Marker Saints release QB Blake [6:32 AM]
Sportsticker reports: 'The Buffalo Bills, who released quarterback Rob Johnson on Thursday, could be among the teams interested in the 31 year-old Blake's services.'

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March 1, 2002

Marker Speculation on Cowart [11:42 PM]
Pro Football Weekly reports: Possible suitors: Buffalo Bills, New York Jets, New York Giants, Houston Texans, Atlanta Falcons. Reports out of Buffalo indicate that Cowart, despite missing all of last season with an Achilles injury, will demand a signing bonus in the neighborhood of $10 million. That eliminates teams like Jacksonville and Baltimore, who have the need but lack the cash. Houston, with its 3-4 defense and cap room, makes sense. The Giants need a replacement for Jessie Armstead, and the cap-strapped Jets could find a way to make Cowart work and keep him in New York with Marvin Jones and James Farrior on the market. Atlanta, with talent like Keith Brooking, Chris Draft and Mark Simoneau at :B, could use a player like Cowart if new DC Phillips decides to go to a 4-3 look. Cap concerns - the Falcons are only $800,000 under the cap at this writing - and the likelihood that owner Arthur Blank wants to spend his money on offensive players to surround Michael Vick could nix such a deal.

Marker Buchsbaum's look at players released [11:37 PM]
Pro Football Weekly reports: @ After being cut by Buffalo, QB Rob Johnson will have to take the veteran's minimum, with incentives, in order to get a job with another NFL team. Johnson is a workout warrior, very smart, tough - you can't say a bad thing about him if you go off practice tapes. He throws the ball beautifully, has a strong arm, and is not immobile. The problem is that Johnson is a thinker, not a reactor in games. He's got to see the play develop, think about it and then go, and that takes way too long. As a result, he holds onto the ball way too long, gets sacked way too many times and gets injured because he?s holding onto the ball so long and is so focused that he has almost no peripheral vision for the rush.

Marker Bills don't tend offers to three [11:14 PM]
CBS Sportsline reports: @ The Buffalo Bills did not tender offers to 3 players, including LB Kenyatta Wright, making them restricted free agents Friday. Joining Wright are offensive lineman Craig Heimburger and safety Keion Carpenter, according to a list of free agents released by the NFL.

Wright struggled in an attempt to help take over for Sam Cowart, who partially tore his Achilles' tendon in the Bills' season opener. After appearing in Buffalo's first 11 games, Wright was listed as inactive for the final five games.

Marker Reinfeldt turns down offer to be Falcons' GM [11:08 PM]
CBS Sportsline reports: @ With Seattle Seahawks vice president Mike Reinfeldt turning down the job, the Falcons' other options are Saints general manager Randy Mueller and Tom Modrak, the Buffalo Bills' director of player personnel. Modrak would fill the personnel side of the job, but that could force the Falcons to make another hire to handle the business side.

Marker Where are they now - Mark Pike [10:54 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: @ Update on the bigger half of the Bills Special Teams Demon Pair, Tasker and Pike. He owns 3 health clubs back home in Cincinnati and in North Kentucky area.

Marker Saints release Jeff Blake......Bills Interested? [10:49 PM]
NFL.com reports: Now that the Saints have released Blake, the Bills have the ability to sign him as an UFA and do not have to absorb his salary cap figure. There were rumors the Bills were waiting for New Orleans to release him before they actively pursued Blake. Will Blake land in Buffalo to compete with Van Pelt for the starting job in 2002?

Marker Bills fail to tender offers to Wright, Heimburger and Carpenter [7:43 PM]
AP reports: 'The Buffalo Bills did not tender offers to three players, including linebacker Kenyatta Wright, making them restricted free agents Friday. Joining Wright are offensive lineman Craig Heimburger and safety Keion Carpenter, according to a list of free agents released by the NFL.'

Marker Western New Yorkers react to Rob Johnson's departure [4:33 PM]
WGRZ-TV reports: '"Fortunately we didn't have a lot of Johnson inventory, it won't hurt us," Russo says. "But we'll have to take additional mark downs in order to clear it out."'

Marker Lions, Bills will look long, hard at a Duck [12:02 PM]
CNN/SI reports: @ At the combine, two teams very interested in Oregon quarterback Joey Harrington will be Detroit and Buffalo, who are scheduled to pick third and fourth in the first round of April's draft. Either team could draft Harrington. Either team could be open to trading down.

Marker Free agency begins with most teams in cap trouble [11:56 AM]
CNN/SI reports: @ There will be relatively few prime players available. Some of the best, in fact, may be players released for cap reasons in the past week or so. One player who could elicit interest is quarterback Rob Johnson, released Thursday by the Buffalo Bills, who had hoped when they signed him that he would be their long-term quarterback.

Marker Van Pelt tops Bills depth chart after Johnson's release [11:41 AM]
Fox Sports reports: @ Overall, Johnson went 9-18 as a starter and failed to finish 11 of 27 games he started. Van Pelt said bad luck played a big hand in Johnson's tenure in Buffalo. "It was just some freaky things that would sometimes knock him out," Van Pelt said. "Maybe it was bad luck."

Marker Johnson happy to cut [11:09 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: @ Rob Johnson, once considered the Buffalo Bills' long-term quarterback, was released by the team Thursday, proving too expensive, inconsistent and injury-prone.

"I'm kind of happy, really," Johnson said.

Marker Bills sack injury-prone Rob Johnson [9:11 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'He finished his Bills career as the franchise's most accurate passer, hitting on 60.48 percent to nose out Jim Kelly (60.13 percent). Johnson also had the lowest interception percentage (2.56) of any Bills QB, being picked off only 17 times on 663 attempts.'

Marker Johnson's departure official [9:10 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'He collected $18.85 million of the original $25 million contract he signed with the team.'

Marker Uneasy times dominated Johnson's tenure [9:09 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Flutie was known for doing a lot of politicking in the locker room, which Johnson thought was inappropriate.'

Marker See you later, Rob, thank you for . . . uh . . . [9:08 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Johnson lacks the savvy to sense pressure.'

Marker Johnson axed [6:50 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'Johnson's inability to avoid the sack led to his persistent injury woes. With the Bills, he was sacked an average of once every seven times he dropped back into the pocket. In four seasons, Johnson never started more than five consecutive games without getting hurt and failed to finish 11 of 27 games he started.'

Marker Bills sack QB Johnson [5:06 AM]
D and C reports: 'Johnson was due a $2.15 million roster bonus if still on the roster today. Instead, his release freed $6.15 million of cap space, giving the Bills room to sign a free agent or to make a trade for a veteran to compete with Alex Van Pelt for the starting quarterback job this fall.'

Marker Door still open for Cowart [5:05 AM]
D and C reports: 'General manager Tom Donahoe and representative Paul Healy were engaged in late-night talks in Indianapolis, site of the NFL scouting combine.'
The Bills did not extend offers to their four other unrestricted free agents: starting center Bill Conaty; defensive end Shawn Price; cornerback Lance Brown and long-snapper Mo Unutoa.

Marker Kelly upset about closing of hospital [5:05 AM]
D and C reports: 'Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly announced a rally Saturday to protest a plan to close Children's Hospital in Buffalo.'

Marker Rob Johnson's Highlights and lowlights [5:03 AM]
D and C reports: 'Highlights and lowlights of Rob Johnson's four-year stay in Buffalo...'.

Marker Van Pelt tops Bills depth chart after Johnson's release [5:01 AM]
AP reports: 'After spending most of his seven seasons in Buffalo as the team's third-stringer, he has now outlasted both Johnson and Doug Flutie.'

Marker Jeff Blake - Worthy of being a Bill? [12:10 AM]
Stadiumwall.com reports: If you are curious about QB Jeff Blake - here is a nice summary written last week on the Stadium Wall by our resident stat and fact queen Lori.

February 28, 2002

Marker Price ready for second turn at free agency [9:29 PM]
AP reports: 'Not expecting a contract offer from the Buffalo Bills before the deadline Thursday night, defensive lineman Shawn Price prepared to become a free agent for the second straight year. And he's not worried.'

Marker Bills release Johnson [9:27 PM]
AP reports: 'The Bills also announced that they released veteran cornerback Ken Irvin, saving another $1.9 million in salary cap money.'

Marker Bills waive QB Rob Johnson [9:26 PM]
Sportsticker reports: 'The Bills are well under the $71.1 million salary cap before Friday's deadline, but were not willing to pay the price for Johnson after he endured a disappointing season under first-year coach Gregg Williams.'

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