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Buffalo Bills News - March 7, 2002

Marker Jets give Cowart six-year contract [1:45 PM]
Asbury Park Press/Home News Tribune reports: 'Now if linebacker Sam Cowart can return from a lost year as the human wrecking ball he was for Jets defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell during two standout seasons in Buffalo, the Jets landed the steal of this free-agent class yesterday.'

Marker Fletcher Already talking about creating a Community Presence. [1:44 PM]
BuffaloBills.Com reports: Fletcher has discussed what assistance the team's community relations department can offer in setting up inner city scholarships both in Buffalo and his Hometown of Cleveland.

Marker Jets get defensive prize [9:16 AM]
Bergen Record reports: 'Combined with a high left ankle sprain suffered at the end of his 2000 Pro Bowl season, Cowart has played just one half of football in the past 20 games. But he said that has taken away none of his play-making ability. "Most definitely, the impact is still there," he said. "Right now I'm 95 to 97 percent. The Jets told me this is no rush issue, we don't play until September, we'll bring you along slow."'

Marker London signed to bridge huge gap [9:07 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'He is a fireplug-shaped tackling machine who starred on the Rams' defense the last three seasons. His nickname is "dot.com" because, as he likes to say, he's always on line to make the tackle.'

Marker The London Fletcher file [9:06 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Signed as undrafted college free agent in April 1998.'

Marker Texas Rob comes out shooting bull [9:05 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'What Johnson can't face is that his career has - financial windfalls aside - been a huge disappointment.'

Marker Land top linebacker Cowart [8:24 AM]
Newark Star Ledger reports: '"The Jets believed in me."'

Marker New York Jets Sign Free Agent Sam Cowart; Re-Sign Marvin Jones [8:23 AM]
Bloomberg reports: 'Cowart had 487 tackles, four interceptions, three fumble recoveries and 6 1/2 sacks in his five seasons in Buffalo.'

Marker Bills, Linebacker London Fletcher Agree to Five-Year Contract [8:22 AM]
Bloomberg reports: 'St. Louis was unable to resign Fletcher after the season, and on Sunday signed free agent Jamie Duncan to replace him at middle linebacker.'

Marker QB Blake piques Buffalo's interest [8:19 AM]
New Orleans Times Picayune reports: '"I'm not going to rush into anything," Blake said. "But with the (NFL) combine over, things should heat up by next week. If I had to sign today, it would be with Buffalo, but I'm trying to get in the best situation for me."'

Marker Jets sign ex-Bill 'Sam C' [5:20 AM]
New York Post reports: '"The addition of 'Sam C' makes our linebacker corps one of the best in the league. I can't wait to get on the field now. It'll be something to see."'

Marker Jets Taking Big Gamble [5:19 AM]
New York Daily News reports: 'Worst-case scenario: If Cowarts reinjures his Achilles early in the season, the Jets can cut him next offseason without major cap implications. Basically, it's a $3 million gamble.'

Marker Jets Add Playmaker [5:18 AM]
New York Newsday reports: 'Cowart's negotiations with the Bills hit a snag, apparently because Buffalo wanted his salary in 2003 reduced if he got hurt in 2002. There is no such clause in the Jets' contract. However, Cowart is eligible for up to a $6-million option bonus next March, which is partially based on playing time. If exercised, the bonus would be prorated over the final five years of the deal for cap purposes.'

Marker Tennessee loses Fisk to Chargers [5:17 AM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: 'Safety Blaine Bishop spent yesterday in Buffalo visiting with the Bills while receiver Chris Sanders, released by the Titans last week, has drawn interest as well.'

Marker Texans zero in on Wong, Bradford [5:16 AM]
Houston Chronicle reports: 'Meanwhile, negotiations with free-agent quarterback Rob Johnson are at a stalemate. The Texans are holding firm to their one-year, $1 million commitment, and Johnson has said Houston is where he wants to be and that money won't be an issue. Nevertheless, he and his agent have not pulled the trigger on the deal.'

Marker Ex-Ram Fletcher replaces Cowart [5:12 AM]
D and C reports: 'A tenacious player who goes sideline-to-sideline, the Bills like Fletcher because he'll be able to anchor the middle of their 4-3 defense and stay on the field on passing downs, either in coverage or to blitz.'

Marker Cowart back with Cottrell on rival Jets [5:11 AM]
D and C reports: '"I was lobbying for Sam since I got here," said Cottrell, who joined the Jets last year. "I never thought we could pull this off because he's one of those rare players. Needless to say, I was jumping up and down when it happened."'

Marker Losing Cowart to the N.Y. Jets could backfire [5:10 AM]
D and C reports: 'Donahoe and Williams appear determined to win or lose with their own guys. Given a reasonable amount of time, they probably will.'

Marker Steelers, Bruener agree on new deal [5:08 AM]
Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports: 'The Steelers also are trying to bring another player home, former Pitt tight end Dave Moore, who was released by Tampa Bay for salary cap purposes...Moore was in Buffalo yesterday.'

Marker Steelers kicker to visit Buffalo [5:07 AM]
Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports: 'Steelers kicker Kris Brown will get lots of frequent-flier miles, not much rest and, perhaps, a new place to play next week. Add Buffalo to his travel itinerary, after the Bills scheduled a meeting with Brown for next Tuesday and Wednesday.'

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March 6, 2002

Marker Jets pick up Cowart [9:42 PM]
New York Times reports: '"This," said Cottrell, who was disappointed in not getting a head- coaching position, "is one of the best days I've had in a long while."'

Marker Bills land Fletcher to lead defense [9:21 PM]
WGRZ-TV reports: 'Already, some NFL observers think the Bills are better off with Fletcher leading their defense, than they would have been with Cowart and the uncertainty of his achilles injury.'

Marker Jets sign free agent LB Cowart to multi-year contract [9:05 PM]
Sportsticker reports: '"I feel very fortunate that the Jets showed so much interest in me," Cowart said. "Obviously, coming off an injury like I did ... some teams stayed away from me. The Jets believed in me."'

Marker Fletcher agrees to sign with Bills [9:03 PM]
AP reports: 'A three-down linebacker, and three-year starter, Fletcher led the NFC champion Rams with 90 tackles last season, and was referred to as "an integral part of the team,'' by St. Louis coach Mike Martz.'

Marker Bills get Fletcher to fill void of Cowart's departure [7:14 PM]
ESPN reports: Details of Fletcher's contract were not immediately available.

Marker What's fair is fair in the Johnson/Flutie flack [7:05 PM]
ESN reports: @ I criticized Dougie for his ill-advised remarks, whenever he was out of Buffalo. Naturally, Flutie fans roasted me, toasted me, skewered me and broiled me from one side to the other. Now, you find your trembling tiny tot of the kilowatt showing you that this adoring little bumpkin is fair.
The point is that Rob Johnson is gone. He should have kept his mouth shut. He couldn't hold back his lip, just like Flutie, and had to come out with what can be perceived as a little self serving, if not vindictive assessmemt. He, like Flutie, served up a big platter of negative rhetoric in conducting pity parties.

Marker Donahoe comments on Sam Cowart [6:51 PM]
BuffaloBills.Com reports: TD gives the impression that despite numerous efforts to keep him in a Bills Uniform, Cowart may have wanted to leave regardless.

Marker London Fletcher visits Bills - Comments to the media [6:50 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: @ Q: Are you ready to sign on the dotted line? A: I have some other trips planned. It's a process. There are some other things that have to be met. So far so good, the organization definitely has a strong interest in me and I have a strong interest in them otherwise I wouldn't be here. I was the first guy they brought in so that shows they are definitely interested. I'm still scheduled to visit with Detroit and Pittsburgh.

Marker AFC Needs: Buffalo [6:29 PM]
ESPN reports: @ The hole: Alex Van Pelt is being paid around $1 million a year to be either the backup or the starting QB, but new OC Gilbride cannot live with just one QB. That's why Gilbride and the Bills management walked around the combine over the weekend looking for agents who had QBs, as well as checking out all of the QBs who were throwing in the RCA Dome.

The solutions: It's pretty simple. Sign Jeff Blake. For some reason, the Bills are wondering if Blake has a lingering ankle problem from the 2000 season. He's had a year on the sidelines as Aaron Brooks' backup to rest the ankle, so he should be fine. Blake and Jonathan Quinn are the two veterans the Bills are talking to, but Blake is the right fit.

Marker LB Cowart to join Jets [3:41 PM]
CBS Sportsline reports: '"We're jumping up and down with joy to sign him," said one Jets team source. "He's one of the top two or three backers in the game."'

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