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Buffalo Bills News - April 11, 2003

Marker Remembering Former Bills G.M. John Butler [4:42 PM] reports: Charley Ferguson - "John will be well missed. He was a good person for talent, a man who really did his job well, got along with the fans and the players and really helped to continue to turn things around here. He believed in the Alumni and was a strong Alumni supporter."

Marker Former Bills G.M. John Butler Passes Away [4:42 PM] reports: Orchard Park, NY - The Bills organization was saddened today by the news that former General Manager John Butler has passed away at the age of 56. Butler had been diagnosed with cancer last July and died of complications from the disease this morning. A native of Illinois, Butler had several stops throughout the country during his career but spent 14 years - one quarter of his life - working for the Buffalo Bills.

Marker Chargers GM Butler dies of cancer [2:46 PM]
Sportsticker reports: 'Butler's first-ever selection for Buffalo and his top choice in 1988 was running back Thurman Thomas, who was chosen in the second round after 27 teams passed on him. Buffalo's top pick in 1989 wasn't until the third round and Butler selected receiver Don Beebe, who played for six Super Bowl teams. Perennial Pro Bowl guard Ruben Brown, Pro Bowl receiver Eric Moulds, running back Antowain Smith and cornerback Antoine Winfield were also among Butler's first-round picks in Buffalo.'

Marker San Diego general manager Butler dies at 56 [1:30 PM]
AP reports: 'Butler’s NFL tenure spanned 18 seasons, including four in San Diego and 14 with Buffalo from 1987-2000, where he had a hand in making the Bills one of the NFL’s most-successful teams of the 1990s. Buffalo went to the playoffs 10 times and had a 140-83 (.628) record during his time with the team, second only to San Francisco’s 156-67 (.699) record during that period.'

Marker Former Bills GM John Butler succumbs to cancer [1:12 PM] reports: 'Chargers General Manager John Butler, who was diagnosed with cancer last July, died of complications from the disease on Friday morning. He was 56.'

Talk about your memories of Mr. Butler on The Stadium Wall.

Marker Player Profile: Dainon Sidney [9:33 AM] reports: Speedy cornerback who provides experience and depth to young secondary. ideal for "gunner" position on punt coverage with speed and size…drafted by Tennessee in third round (77th overall) in 1998.

Marker Win a Josh Reed Autographed Media Guide [9:18 AM] reports: Win a 2002 Buffalo Bills Media Guide autographed by wide receiver Josh Reed! Subscribe to the Bills E-Newsletter The winner will be notified via e-mail on April 11, 2003.

Marker Bills add former Titan to cornerback collection [9:00 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I think this is a chance for a fresh start and most important the Bills wanted me," Sidney said. "They say they're going to give me a chance to compete like everyone else. I don't think they're going to sign a guy just to sit."'

Marker Bills interview guard O'Hara [7:40 AM]
Cleveland Plain Dealer reports: '"We like the kid, but it didn't seem to be the right fit," said Tom Donahoe, Bills GM. "He probably projects to start there, I imagine, and for us he probably wouldn't. So he may be in a better situation where he is." Restricted free agents, such as O'Hara, have until next Thursday to sign an offer sheet from other teams.'

Marker Former Bill Hollis a Giant [5:24 AM]
D and C reports: 'Place-kicker Mike Hollis, who played for the Buffalo Bills last season, has signed with the New York Giants.'

Marker Bills signings give Bledsoe's step a bounce [5:23 AM]
D and C reports: '“Josh made some big plays for us as a rookie, and he’s been working really hard this off-season,” Bledsoe said. “He doesn’t have that blazing, stretch-the-field speed that Peerless has, but he’s a dependable guy who’s tough to bring down after he catches it. We are looking for big things out of him, and he’ll be helped by (free agent acquisition) Bobby Shaw.”'

Marker Sidney ready to start over in Buffalo [5:22 AM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: 'Sidney, a third round draft pick by the Titans in 1998, will be reunited with several familiar faces in Buffalo. His former defensive coordinator with the Titans, Gregg Williams, is now head coach of the Bills, and his old position coach in Tennessee, Jerry Gray, is Buffalo's defensive coordinator.'

Marker Sidney shuffles off to Buffalo [5:21 AM]
Nashville City Paper reports: 'Sidney signed for the NFL veteran minimum of $530,000 and also received a $25,000 signing bonus.'

Marker Miami signs returner Rogers [5:21 AM]
Miami Herald reports: '''I think Keith Armstrong is one of the better special teams coaches in the league, and I think Charlie is the missing piece for that return game,'' Scott said.'

Marker Rogers added to return game [5:20 AM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: '"We feel Charlie could be the missing piece on special teams for the Dolphins," said agent Everett Scott, whose client spurned an offer from the New York Jets to sign with the Dolphins. "The opportunity really presents itself. It's a pretty attractive scenario."'

Marker Dolphins hoping for big returns [5:19 AM]
Palm Beach Post reports: 'With the Bills in 2002, Rogers averaged 20 yards on kickoff returns and 5.3 yards on punt returns. Both averages were lower than those of Dolphin returners Travis Minor (23.3) and Dedric Ward (10.6), but Miami thinks Rogers is better-suited for its return scheme than Buffalo's.'

Marker Dolphins pounce on return specialist Rogers [5:18 AM]
ESPN reports: 'In essence, the Dolphins will represent his fourth different team since the end of the 2001 season.'

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April 10, 2003

Marker Lary Bump: Simonton named Offensive Player of the Week [10:57 PM]
Shout! reports: Well, the Bills are at it again. Ken Simonton, a street free agent signed by Buffalo, was NFL Europe's Offensive Player of the Week for its season-opening weekend.

Marker Bills reach agreement with Sidney, sign Polk [10:00 PM]
AP reports: 'Polk accepted a qualifying offer of about $600,000 made in February.'

Marker PK Mike Hollis signs with Giants [9:59 PM]
AP reports: 'Hollis converted 75.8 percent (25 of 33) of his field goal attempts for the Buffalo Bills last season, finishing with 115 points, fifth among AFC kickers.'

Marker Busy Falcons agree to deal with Carpenter [6:53 PM]
ESPN reports: Carpenter, 25, came to the Falcons following three seasons in Buffalo, after the Bills did not tender him a qualifying offer last spring. He led all Atlanta secondary players with 73 tackles and also had four interceptions to go with 10 passes defensed.

The advantage Carpenter had when he joined the Falcons was a familiarity with the scheme being installed by first-year DC Wade Phillips, his head coaching for two of three seasons with the Bills.

Marker Bills Agree To Terms With Sidney; Polk Signs [5:00 PM] reports: 'Drafted by Tennessee in the third round of the 1998 NFL Draft out of Alabama-Birmingham, Sidney (6-0, 188) played for the Oilers/Titans from 1998-2002. During that time, he appeared in 48 games (six starts) and recorded six interceptions.'

Marker Bills add depth with acquisition of Sidney [3:57 PM]
ESPN reports: 'The five-year veteran spent his entire previous career with the Tennessee Titans and knee and forearm injuries have limited him to five appearances over the past two seasons. Sidney drew surprising interest, however, during the signing period, and rejected offers from the Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions to join the Bills instead.'

Marker Bills owner to receive award [9:08 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Bills General Manager Tom Donahue, former coach Marv Levy and All-Pro player Ruben Brown will make the presentation. Many current and former players also will attend the event.'

Marker Bills interview O'Hara for right guard spot [9:01 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills could use someone to push two-year veteran Marques Sullivan, who started last season at right guard but is not proven enough to be entrenched at the position.'

Marker Eight-ball [9:00 AM]
CNNSI reports: What's not to like about Buffalo's aggressive overhaul of its defense, which ranked 27th in points allowed and 29th against the run last season? The Bills got better in terms of run-stopping with defensive tackle Sam Adams and end Keith McKenzie, improved their tackling and play-making at linebacker with Takeo Spikes and Jeff Posey, and upgraded at free safety with Izell Reese. Overall, they're quicker across the board on defense. Plus, they played the tricky Peerless Price situation like a Stradivarius, trading their No. 2 receiver to Atlanta for a No. 1 draft pick. That means they're back in the draft, even after giving up their 2003 No. 1 last year in the Drew Bledsoe deal. If Josh Reed steps up at receiver, replacing Price, the Bills are right there in the rugged AFC East. This much we're certain of: Nobody in the division has improved more.

Marker Kelly becomes latest NFL star to jump to NASCAR [6:48 AM]
Florence Times Daily reports: '"This sport is just incredible," Kelly said. "Being from Pennsylvania, I was more of an open-wheel fan growing up, but I got hooked on NASCAR later on. The sport is just so competitive. This gives me the opportunity to continue to compete."'

Marker Jets are talking to kickoff returner [6:46 AM]
Newark Star Ledger reports: 'Buffalo Bills unrestricted free agent kick returner/running back Charlie Rogers visited the Jets on Tuesday and may end up being the replacement for the departed Chad Morton.'

Marker Miller close with Ravens [6:45 AM]
Akron Beacon Journal reports: 'Shaun O'Hara, who could be the Browns' center in 2003, spent Tuesday in Buffalo visiting the Bills. It's not known how much interest the Bills have in O'Hara, but their right guard, Marques Sullivan, is not entrenched. O'Hara started 13 games at right guard for the Browns in 2002 and three games at center when Dave Wohlabaugh was injured. The Bills would have to complete a deal by April 18. After that date, restricted free agents become exclusive property of their former team.'

April 9, 2003

Marker "Corner"stone of the Bills "D" [9:31 PM] reports: '"We know each other's strengths and weaknesses and how each other reacts, which helps," said Winfield. "We had that familiarity with each other before so when Nate got here last year we picked up right where we left off. We didn't have to learn to react to each other."'

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