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Buffalo Bills News - July 18, 2000

Marker Option package [8:55 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '...the Bills think they have a tight end who can do a good impersonation of a fullback in Sheldon Jackson. Jackson is no Gash as a blocker - who is? - but the Bills believe he's capable. And what they might lose in knock-your-heels-over-your-head blocks they might gain in the element of surprise.'

Marker Helmets, gum here; Bills next [6:08 AM]
D and C reports: 'All the activity was proof positive that this will be a different kind of training camp, a mix of marketing, merchandising and star-watching. "Years ago, you wouldn't see anything like this," Woody Ribbeck, the assistant equipment manager, said of the off-field activities at Fisher. "Everything has changed in football."'

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July 17, 2000

Marker QB Battles in Training Camp [3:54 PM]
The Sporting News reports: The article outlines a few of the QB battles in training camps around the NFL. They apparently concur with most fans that the situation in Buffalo doesn't really count as a battle because it's "... Johnson's job to lose. Flutie was clearly not the same quarterback he was in 1998."

Marker Buffalo Bills Survivor: Round 12 is complete! [9:05 AM]
TBD reports: 'The 12th castaway has been voted off Buffalo Bills Island. This former WR was known as "Golden Wheels", due to his blazing speed. Although he retired 32 years ago, this player remains 4th on the Bills all-time receiving list.'

Marker Plugging holes is name of game for Bills' defense [8:55 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Nine of the 16 players who left due to free agency or the salary cap were on defense, including four starters. Gone are the team's all-time sacks leader (Bruce Smith), its best cornerback (Thomas Smith) and its defensive quarterback (free safety Kurt Schulz). The Bills have several veterans back, but most of the defensive depth will consist of players who have little or no NFL experience. Getting those newcomers ready for the season will be vital when the team opens training camp at St. John Fisher College in Pittsford.'

July 16, 2000

Marker Camping out in style [9:05 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills have garnered 15 major corporate sponsors for training camp, putting them near the top of the league in the marketing and promotion of their summer site. They will train in the posh new facilities of St. John Fisher College, which are an upgrade over the accommodations they used at Fredonia State College the past 19 years. And they have assured themselves of reaching an audience that dwarfs anything they could get in Chautauqua County.'

Marker The watch is on: It's time for camp [8:25 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'Here are 25 people to watch this season:...7. Wade Phillips: The Bills coach's decision to bench Doug Flutie before a playoff game, then losing to the Titans, and his subsequent decision to start Rob Johnson, will have its ramifications. Phillips is second-guessed more in the rest of the country than he is in Buffalo, and he must hope the Bills' performance this season validates his judgments.

Marker Bring on the Bills [8:06 AM]
D and C reports: '''Think of the camp as a thank you to the Rochester fan base,'' says Charles Goodwin of the Greater Rochester Metro Chamber of Commerce. ''Those fans have turned out to buy a hell of a lot of tickets and a lot of corporate suites.'' Rochester has paid its football dues: the Bills say at least 25 percent of their ticket sales each year are made to residents of this area. In addition, local businesses helped greatly in the Bills' successful drive two years ago to sell luxury suites at the renovated stadium in Orchard Park, Erie County. Bills officials are hoping the Rochester connection will be strengthened by the training camp. In addition, they hope to draw fans from central New York and larger Southern Tier cities such as Elmira and Binghamton.'

Marker Bills bet on marketing trifecta [8:05 AM]
D and C reports: 'And this training camp -- the first for the Bills in the Rochester area -- will offer even more. The Bills and Wegmans Food Markets Inc., the camp's primary sponsor, are transforming the camp from a sleepy summer rite to a football happening. If all goes well, this training camp could double as a theme park. ''They'll be more off-field elements than there's ever been,'' says Russ Brandon, the Bills' vice president of marketing. ''It will be a much different experience from the time fans arrive at camp.'' If enough fans come to the camp, the Bills, Wegmans and Fisher will all benefit. The team would expand its regional market. The small college would increase its visibility. The supermarket would underscore its identity with a popular team.'

Marker Fan-tasyland: A tourist's guide to training camp [8:03 AM]
D and C reports: Beef on wick?

Marker Spartan conditions greeted 1960 campers [8:01 AM]
D and C reports: 'Players were housed in the old Roycroft Inn. In many cases three and four guys were sardined into small rooms without any air conditioning during the dog days of summer. The locker rooms were about a quarter mile away at East Aurora High School. With more than 100 players in camp, there weren't enough lockers to accommodate everyone, so trainer Eddie Abramoski put up clothing hooks in the gym for the spillover. The practice field was the polo grounds of the Knox Estate, roughly three miles from the high school. Players either walked or rode school buses to and from the two-a-day workouts. ''We joked that Buster kept a couple of the guys on the roster until the end of camp just because they were good bus drivers,'' Abramoski recalled. ''It's not like today where everything is in one setting and every player zips around in a golf cart.'''

Marker Patience, location, timing key for autograph success [7:59 AM]
D and C reports: '''Be patient,'' Bills fullback Jonathan Linton said. ''We'd like to get to everybody, but sometimes we can't. It gets even worse when somebody is willing to trample someone else for a signature. Especially when it's an adult. The kids are the most important people to autograph for.'' Linton admits that players are more likely to sign for a child than an adult, but doesn't advise people to ''borrow'' children to get an autograph. There are more prudent ways for older fans to ask players for a signature. The best time to ask a player for an autograph is after the second or afternoon practice, not earlier in the day. It is also wise to know where to ask for a signature. Although many Rochester residents may see Bills players at local hangouts or eating at area restaurants, these are not the best places to ask.'

Marker Leaving Fredonia behind was 'a business decision' [7:58 AM]
D and C reports: 'The bottom line was the bottom line: Fredonia is about 40 miles southwest of Buffalo in Chautauqua County, a county with an estimated 137,431 residents. Monroe County, home of the Bills' new summer home at St. John Fisher College, has an estimated 712,419 residents.'

Marker Football's not your game? There's plenty else to do [7:56 AM]
D and C reports: 'The Bills do have a close tie to the Wings with Russ Brandon, one of the key players in the team's decision to move its camp to Fisher. Brandon, a Fisher graduate and the Bills vice president of business development and marketing, served as Red Wings assistant general manager with Mason in the early 1990s. ''Hopefully we'll help them sell some tickets during their regular season and they'll help us during our season,'' Mason says.'

Marker Unheralded Bills defense absorbs some early shots [7:52 AM]
D and C reports: 'The defensive unit of the Buffalo Bills has taken a few hits even before training camp. The Sporting News Pro Football 2000 annual ranks the 31 NFL teams in a variety of categories.'

July 15, 2000

Marker Post-op, Wiley walking [11:36 PM]
Shout! reports: 'Marcellus Wiley walked unaided into the media room of the Bills' new administration building Friday. That was good news, and it was even better news that he seemed to be in new shape than the room that doesn't yet look moved into.

Marker Beachcomber finds long-lost Bills ring [9:03 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '...the ring belonged to [Chuck] Burr, an assistant general manager and public relations director for the Bills at the time. Oddly enough, Burr mentioned the ring to [Denny] Lynch two weeks ago, when Lynch called him about a 35th reunion for the Bills' 1965 championship team.'

Marker Wiley back on track in 4-6 weeks [8:56 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills report the surgery to repair a bulging disc in Wiley's lower back was successful. He is expected to return to action in four to six weeks. "Steve McNair had a similar thing last year during the season and missed five regular-season games," said Bills coach Wade Phillips, referring to the Tennessee Titans quarterback. "I'd say it's somewhere in there, which would put us at the end of the preseason. Maybe he'll be able to play in the last preseason game."'

July 14, 2000

Marker Beachcomber finds Bills championship ring lost 30 years ago [9:52 PM]
AP reports: '...the ring belonged to team's former public relations director and assistant general manager Chuck Burr, who in 1970 lost it at the beach, about 15 miles west of Buffalo. Burr had been given the ring after the Bills, led by quarterback Jack Kemp, won their first AFL championship with a 20-7 win over San Diego.'

Marker Haddad Signs [2:49 PM]
UBBulls.com reports: 'Reportedly, the deal is three years for just under $900,000, with a $26,000 signing bonus. Haddad will be there when training camp opens next Thursday. Haddad's best chance to make an impact as a rookie is on punt returns. The Bills have no veteran returner on the roster.'

Marker Bills agree to deal with third-round pick Moore [1:17 PM]
SportsLine.com reports: 'Moore, the third-round draft choice of the Buffalo Bills, on Thursday reached a three-year contract agreement. The deal is worth $1.201 million and it includes a $375,000 signing bonus and base salaries of $193,000 (2000), $275,000 (2001) and $358,000 (2002). The agreement leaves first-round pick defensive end Erik Flowers and second-round free safety Travares Tillman as the only unsigned members of Buffalo's 2000 draft class.'

Marker The Stadium Wall: Posts of the Week [10:08 AM]
TBD reports: July 2 to July 8 (in alphabetical order by subject). This is a weekly collection of the fans' most interesting posts on The Stadium Wall message board. Posts will be highlighted each week on the Shout!/TBD web site. Posts from the previous week follow the new posts.

Marker Buffalo Bills Survivor: Round 11 is complete! [10:05 AM]
TBD reports: 'The 11th castaway has been voted off Buffalo Bills Island. This former DT was the heart of the Bills defense back in the mid-60's. If it wasn't for a knee injury that forced him to retire in 1968, he could have had a Hall of Fame career. '

Marker Player itinerary [10:04 AM]
Shout! reports: 'Shout!'s annual training camp issue will be out on newstands July 14. Here's an article on the players' camp itinerary. The issue also includes defensive unit overviews and a complete analysis of how the Bills will use their tight ends and wide receivers. Call 1-800-932-4557 to get your copy.'

Marker Bills on the clock with top draft picks [9:06 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"The Bills have a good reputation of treating their players fairly," [Flowers' agent Eric] Metz said. "We're making progress with Erik, and I'm sure we'll be able to get a deal done by next week."'

July 13, 2000

Marker AFC East hot spots [8:34 PM]
CNN/SI reports: 'Buffalo has 21 victories and a pair of playoff berths in Phillips' first two seasons, and he's already lasted longer than he did in Denver. But with the divisions's toughest schedule and a younger team than Bills fans have grown used to, a third trip to the first round is anything but assured.'

Marker Keough drives Fisher's growth [6:25 AM]
D and C reports: 'When [Katherine] Keough [president of St. John Fisher College] presented the idea of hosting the team's training camp to her board of trustees, some members rolled their eyes. But heads began to nod "yes" when she sold it as "an academic partnership," providing Fisher students with hands-on learning opportunities in areas from marketing to food service.'

July 12, 2000

Marker PFW: "The Way We Hear It" [9:38 PM]
Pro Football Weekly reports: Unless the two sides can agree on a long-term extension — which seems unlikely because of the salary cap — Bills WR Eric Moulds will become an unrestricted free agent following the 2000 season. Moulds’ agent, Harry Henderson, told PFW that he has talked with the Bills a few times this year but that "they weren’t in the range of money we expect to get for Eric."

Marker Sporting News Buffalo Bills Report [5:06 PM]
The Sporting News reports: Comments on Wiley, Flowers, and some good info on Buffalo's NFL Europe signings.

Marker Buffalo Bills Survivor: Round 10 is complete! [9:19 AM]
TBD reports: 'The 10th castaway has been voted off Buffalo Bills Island. This former OG was the vocal leader of the group known as "the Electric Company", the line that paved the way for OJ Simpson's magical 2000 yard season in 1973.'

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