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Buffalo Bills News - May 21, 2001

Marker Modrak to interview with Bears, already has offer in Buffalo [7:53 PM]
AP reports: '"We spoke again this morning with Tom and reiterated our interest in trying to get him here in Buffalo," said Donahoe, who worked with Modrak when both were with the Pittsburgh Steelers.'

Marker Project Special Teams [8:56 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"Sam Cowart is in every meeting that I have," special teams coach Danny Smith said. "The only person I have not met with in a special teams situation is Rob Johnson. I have met with every other player on this team." Welcome to the mother of all special teams rebuilding projects.'

Marker Turk Schonert, former Bills coach, recommended against trading for A-Train [12:15 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'The Panthers took a look at Smith but their new quarterbacks coach, Turk Schonert, knew him from the seasons they spent together in Buffalo and advised Carolina against trading for him.'

Marker The Buffaloization of San Diego continues [12:14 AM]
The Sporting News reports: 'The Buffaloization of San Diego continues. Soon, they may change their name to the Charge Bills. The only thing new general manager John Butler hasn't brought along with him are Buffalo winters and chicken wings.'

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May 20, 2001

Marker Jags working against proposed realignment [9:02 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'If Tom Modrak wants to work in the NFL this year, his best option is Buffalo...Modrak will be a top candidate for any GM job that opens up the next couple of years. He can bide his time in Buffalo, work with pal Tom Donahoe, and wait for the perfect opportunity to move.'

Marker No surprise as Bills release Antowain Smith [8:48 AM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'A straight-ahead power runner, Antowain was neither elusive, nor a particularly gifted blocker. But his worst short-coming was two skillet hands that caught only 38 passes in four seasons with Buffalo.'

May 19, 2001

Marker Arrival of Rogers spells send-off for QB Moreno [10:11 AM]
San Diego Union Tribune reports: 'Rogers was selected by the second round of the 1994 draft. He started 11 games last season and 79 of 101 in seven seasons with the Bills, but in San Diego he is expected to split time with Gerald Dixon on the strong side.'

Marker Bills drop Antowain Smith [9:00 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Buffalo Bills freed up salary cap room for their rookies Friday. Guess how they did it? By releasing Antowain Smith. Big surprise there.'

Marker Bills finally cut Smith [7:15 AM]
D and C reports: 'The move cleared $1.25 million -- Smith's base salary -- in cap space. Approximately $352,000 in unaccounted bonus money will count toward Buffalo's 2001 cap, a "hit" the team could've spread out over two seasons had Smith been released on June 1. The amount wasn't significant enough to take advantage of the loophole.'

Marker Bills plan larger camp [7:13 AM]
D and C reports: 'Fearing injuries to players, former coaches Marv Levy and Wade Phillips eliminated full-speed contact from their camp practices. But the energetic Williams, 42, is from a different school.'

May 18, 2001

Marker Chargers sign Rogers, release Moses Moreno [9:11 PM]
AP reports: 'In his career he has 500 tackles, 21 1/2 sacks, two interceptions, six forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries.'

Marker Bills release RB Antowain Smith [9:05 PM]
Sportsticker reports: '"We liked what we saw in minicamp from our young running backs and want to give them every opportunity possible," said Bills president and general manager Tom Donahoe after waiving Smith.'

Marker Chargers sign LB Sam Rogers to five-year deal [8:12 PM]
Sportsticker reports: 'Rogers, who turns 31 on May 30, started 11 games last season and had 74 tackles, five sacks, one interception and forced three fumbles. The 6-3, 245-pounder missed the final five games of the season with a torn groin muscle.'

Marker When minimum is too much [6:42 PM]
Fox Sports reports: Alex Van Pelt doesn't suffer from delusions of grandeur. The Buffalo quarterback has a handle on his skills and his value to the team. Sometimes, that's not enough. For a handful of backup players on every club in the NFL, the union that was organized to protect their interests often prices them out of the market with the veteran minimum. That happened to Van Pelt last season before a training-camp injury opened the door to his return. "Exactly,'' Van Pelt said. "I was like hey, my union is supposed to be out there helping me, and instead, it's keeping me out of work.''

Marker Bills release Antowain Smith [6:40 PM]
AP reports: 'Along with slashing $1.25 million from their salary cap-strapped payroll, the move allows the Bills to concentrate on developing their youngsters.'

Marker Release of Antowain Smith creates salary cap room [3:17 PM]
TBD reports: The expected release of Antowain Smith creates much needed cap room for the Bills. According to the NFLPA, Smith was scheduled to earn $1.25 million in 2001. That money will be needed to sign the 2001 draft choices. Since this is the last year of Smith's contract, accelerated bonus money was not an issue with his release.

Marker Bills Release Antowain Smith [2:57 PM] reports: The Bills today released running back Antowain Smith. Smith was the team's first-round draft choice in 1997 and put together his most productive season in 1998 when he rushed for 1,124 yards as the starting running back. He started 11 games in 1999 and saw limited action last season, rushing for 354 yards.

"We liked what we saw in mini-camp from our young running backs and want to give them every opportunity possible," said Bills President/General Manager Tom Donahoe. "We have also added Larry Centers to our backfield and feel confident about the attributes he brings to our club."

Marker Centers centers on Bills [7:33 AM] reports: 'Larry Centers talks to the media about his role in the Bills' West Coast Offence, and how he wants to be part of a Super Bowl contender in Buffalo.'

May 17, 2001

Marker How did the Bills get their nickname? [11:29 PM]
TBD reports: '...given in an obituary from the Buffalo News (December 25, 1999):

SWEET - Donald E., gave Buffalo Bills their name 12/25/99
When the Buffalo Bisons of the All-America Football Conference sponsored an essay contest to re-name the team in 1947, Donald E. Sweet pulled an end run to win the $500 prize...'

Marker Bills/Chargers Game Hotel Information [11:16 PM]
TBD reports: 'The Bills Backers have arranged a group rate at The Holiday Inn located in the historic Old Town district of San Diego. The hotel is just steps away from dozens of shops, bars and restaurants. Most major attractions are just minutes away including beaches, Sea World, the San Diego Zoo and Qualcomm Stadium. Staying with the Backers is a great opportunity to meet and party with Bills fans from all over the country.'

Marker Bills claim Craig Heimburger off waiver wire [11:10 PM]
ESN reports: 'The Bills claimed a huge offensive lineman off the waiver wire from the Green Bay Packers. Craig Heimburger, a right guard during most of his college and pro career will be signed when he clears waivers. He's 6'2 312 pounds and was a 5th round draft choice of the Packers in 1999.'

Marker Shape up or ship out: Williams is what Bills need [8:31 PM]
CBS Sportsline reports: '"Many of the players who were here before Gregg said the one thing that was lacking was discipline," said Donahoe. "They wanted discipline, somebody to come in here and correct the way things were going. From the players I've talked to, there hasn't been any complaints about the changes."'

Marker Bills express interest in Modrak [7:58 PM]
AP reports: 'Modrak met with Bills president and general manager Tom Donahoe in Buffalo on Wednesday, Bills spokesman Scott Berchtold said. Berchtold described the meeting as an informal one...'

Marker Projected June 1 cuts [3:14 PM]
ESPN reports: 'Antowain Smith puts house up for sale--you do the math.'

Marker Former Bills scout Nix added to Chargers mix [10:03 AM]
San Diego Union Tribune reports: 'Nix was offered the position of director of college scouting with the Bills, but said he elected to join the Chargers because of his relationship with Butler.'

Marker Phillips case heard; Bills talk to Modrak [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'But given the outstanding job Modrak did in Philadelphia the past three years, he is a prime candidate for a general manager position in the NFL. He recently had an interview with the Chicago Bears.'

Marker Chargers hire Nix as director of player personnel [5:15 AM]
AP reports: 'Tapping his Buffalo connections again, San Diego Chargers general manager John Butler hired Buddy Nix as director of player personnel Wednesday. Nix spent the last eight seasons as a scout with the Bills.'

Marker Arbitrator to rule on Phillips [5:10 AM]
D and C reports: '"We're confident there will be a fair resolution of this matter ... and I expect it will not be a lengthy delay now," said Jerry Whalen, Phillips' attorney.'

May 16, 2001

Marker Phillips appeals contract dispute with Bills to NFL arbitrator [8:58 PM]
AP reports: 'With Bills owner Ralph Wilson also on hand, Phillips presented his case to NFL arbitrator Jay Moyer during a daylong hearing in Buffalo. The hearing was closed to the public.'

Marker Bills rank 10th in NFL profits [5:27 AM]
D and C reports: 'Confidential documents entered into evidence during the Oakland Raiders' lawsuit against the league reveal that the Bills -- who once claimed an inability to compete economically and threatened to move -- turned an $11.587 million operating profit in 1999.'

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