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Buffalo Bills News - April 28, 2004

Marker UB's Graham, Johnson get shots at NFL [8:53 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"They called me right away and I thought it was a great opportunity," Graham said. "I don't have to go into camp and compete against a first-round pick, or any draft pick. This is the best fit for me right now."'

Marker Stability at One Bills Drive [8:52 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"We feel that J.P. is coming into a great situation," Bills President and General Manager Tom Donahoe said. "He's a young quarterback with tremendous potential that does not have to play immediately, and he gets an opportunity to learn from one of the best quarterbacks in the game and to learn from probably one of the best quarterback coaches (Sam Wyche) in the league over the years. It looks like it's a win-win situation for everyone."'

Marker Bills played cards right with Bledsoe [8:51 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'It was blatantly obvious the Bills were going to pass on the $7 million Nov. 1 option that would have extended Bledsoe's contract three years at a total cost of $25 million.'

Marker Before Tillman, there was Kalsu [8:39 AM]
Cleveland Plain Dealer reports: 'Kalsu, who had been in ROTC at Oklahoma University, never considered not going when called to serve, although the Bills, as did all teams in all sports, could have pulled strings for him. He had made a commitment, so he honored it.'

Marker Giants add 280-pound QB from Kentucky [8:09 AM]
ESPN reports: Steinberg said Lorenzen signed a standard one-year free agent contract with a modest bonus. Steinberg wouldn't elaborate on the bonus. Buffalo and Cincinnati were also interested, the agent said, but Lorenzen chose the Giants because he felt there was a better opportunity there.

Marker Still a Bill [5:16 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'By tearing up the final seven years on an exorbitant 10-year, $103 million deal he signed with his old team, the New England Patriots, in March 2001, Bledsoe and the Bills helped each other on several fronts.'

Marker Bills sign Towns; Chargers sign Ross [5:15 AM]
Reno Gazette Journal reports: 'Two more Nevada football players have signed free-agent contracts with NFL teams. Linebacker Daryl Towns has signed with the Buffalo Bills and offensive guard Isaiah Ross has joined the San Diego Chargers.'

Marker Andrews graduate Shaud Williams signed with Buffalo Bills on Monday [5:14 AM]
Midland Reporter Telegram reports: 'Williams, who started his college career at Texas Tech, finished his senior season at Alabama as the Southeastern Conference's top rusher in 2003. He gained 1,367 yards and had 14 touchdowns, averaging 4.9 yards a carry. At Andrews, Williams was a four-time all-district selection and three-time district most valuable player.'

Marker Drew's Sticking Around [5:13 AM] reports: 'Bledsoe agreed to a three year deal to replace the ten year contract he signed with New England before his trade to Buffalo. The renegotiation provides Bledsoe with some security in Buffalo, gives the Bills some four million extra salary cap dollars to play with and frees both from Bledsoe's seven million dollar bonus due in November.'

Marker Tokasz, maybe; Masiello, no; Jim Kelly, no [5:12 AM]
AP reports: 'Republicans, meanwhile, had a momentary burst of excitement at the possibility that former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly might be coaxed to run. But that hope seemed to be dashed when Kelly's company poured cold water on the idea. ''I don't think he anticipates that he would be entertaining an idea of running for Congress,'' said Kelly's marketing manager Ann Broker.'

Marker Bills draft their 'big four' [5:11 AM]
Wellsville Daily Reporter reports: '"I like the fact that people don't like his personality," said Donahoe of the Bills new quarterback of the future. "Because he's a competitor and he's going to try to stick it in your face and he's going to try to stick it in everybody's face. That's what we like about him."'

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April 27, 2004

Marker Everybody had a grade-A draft, right down to the hundredths of a second [11:22 PM] reports: Buffalo: A-. Sports commentators said J. P. Losman was the first first-round quarterback Buffalo has taken since Jim Kelly in 1983. But since that time, the Bills twice have traded No. 1 picks for quarterbacks: Rob Johnson and Drew Bledsoe. Thus, Losman really isn't the franchise's first first-round try since Kelly, though obviously anything that rubs a little "Jim Kelly" onto the gentleman is highly welcome.

Marker Bills' Bledsoe Takes Pay Cut After Team Drafts Losman [11:19 PM]
Bloomberg reports: 'Bledsoe, 32, said he agreed to rework his contract to give the team flexibility to sign other players and provide stability at quarterback for several years. ``I decided that what was in the best interests of the organization and ballclub was also in my best interest,'' Bledsoe said at the news conference. ``At this stage in my life, let's face it, having a little extra money isn't going to make that big of a difference.'''

Marker Bledsoe agrees to restructure contract [11:18 PM]
The Sports Network reports: 'Bledsoe had seven years left on his previous contract and was due to earn a multi-million dollar bonus in November. He was scheduled to make a base salary of $5.9 million next year.'

Marker Buffalo Bills 2004 Draft Report Card [11:17 PM]
The Sports Network reports: 'Sports Network Draft Grade: C.'

Marker Transcript: Tom Donahoe Press Conference [11:16 PM] reports: 'It was probably initially started as much by Drew as it was by the organization. Drew had come to me on a couple of occasions and said that if there was ever anything he could do with his contract that would help the team, he would be interested in looking at it. We began to pursue it to see if there was a way to do it that made sense for both sides. We want to be fair to Drew. He is our starting quarterback. We recognize what he has done here and what he has done in his career. We need to be sensitive to that. We also recognize where his cap figure was headed. It makes it very difficult to give you, as a team, flexibility to do some other things. I have to applaud Drew for his efforts and his encouragement for us to try to do this. All you have to do is look around the league right now. Take a look in Pittsburgh and New York. See what's going on with some veteran quarterbacks. It makes you appreciate what we have here in Buffalo and how much of a team player Drew Bledsoe is.'

Marker Bledsoe Puts Team First By Re-Negotiating [11:16 PM] reports: 'Somewhere in Venice, California, Buffalo's newest quarterback J.P. Losman is taking notes.'

Marker Transcript: Drew Bledsoe Conference Call [11:15 PM] reports: It very quickly became apparent to me that the economic side was going to have to take a back seat to my desires to do whatever I had to do to help the team win.

Marker Bills Re-Negotiate Bledsoe's Contract [1:29 PM] reports: 'In accordance with club policy, terms were not disclosed.'

Marker Drew Bledsoe Has A New Deal [1:27 PM]
WGR-AM reports: 'Bledsoe was scheduled to get just over eight million dollars this season against the cap. His salary would've been 5.9-million dollars.'

Marker Andrews legend Williams Buffalo-bound [1:25 PM]
Odessa American reports: 'Williams had a roller-coaster collegiate career that featured two different schools and total of five different head coaches.'

Marker Bledsoe's contract renegotiated with Bills [1:24 PM]
AP reports: 'Bledsoe's had seven years left on his old deal, and was due a $7 million bonus had he still been on the Bills roster in November. He was scheduled to make a base salary of $5.9 million this season, a figure that would balloon to $12 million in 2008.'

Marker Itís too early to assess Billsí draft [1:12 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'Consider this, the only Buffalo Billsí draftee on the roster picked before 2001 is 1996 first-rounder Eric Moulds.'

Marker Bills avoid having to pay large bonus [12:41 PM]
ESPN reports: The Buffalo Bills have reached an agreement with QB Drew Bledsoe to restructure his contract, two league sources confirmed for on Tuesday. The new deal will preclude the Bills from having to pay Bledsoe, coming off one of the poorest seasons of his career, an exorbitant option bonus in November to retain him. More important, from a football standpoint, it will almost certainly keep the 11-year veteran in Buffalo beyond the coming season and eases the urgency for the Bills to prepare rookie Losman to be the starter in 2005.

Marker UB's Graham among 18 free agents [8:53 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'One of them is safety Mark Graham, a second-team All-Mid-American Conference selection who led the University at Buffalo in tackles (84) and sacks (three) despite missing two games with injury.'

Marker Gray doesn't take offense to Bills' draft plan [8:52 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I think we got a lot better last year and we still played with a lot of young guys," Gray said Monday. "Those guys are going to be better with experience and the older guys will be more comfortable with another year in our system. We lost (cornerback) Antoine (Winfield) and picked up Troy Vincent, so we evened up there. To me, we're in pretty good shape."'

Marker Bills add 18 undrafted college free agents [5:18 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Peters, 6-feet-4, 336 pounds, was among the top five tight ends after catching 21 passes for 218 yards and four touchdowns as a junior. But while he caught the ball well at the scouting combine, NFL scouts said his best upside was playing left tackle given his lack of decent speed and his struggles beating coverage.'

Marker Three former WCU football players head for NFL [5:17 AM]
Asheville Citizen Times reports: 'A defensive end, Spicer tackled more opponents behind the line of scrimmage (58) than anyone in WCU history. "Buffalo didn't draft any defensive ends," said Spicer, who leaves for mini-camp Thursday. "We feel like I've got a great chance to make the team."'

Marker Buffalo drafts UM offensive tackle McFarland in seventh round [5:16 AM]
Missoula Missoulian reports: '"I don't know much, other than they didn't draft any other offensive linemen,'' McFarland said. "That's a great deal for me. There is a huge opportunity there, and there is definitely a spot for me.'''

Marker Lawton, Miller sign deals [5:15 AM]
Lafayette Advertiser reports: 'Lawton was the top rushing/pass receiving fullback in the SLC last year, running for 264 yards and four touchdowns and catching 19 passes for 134 yards and two scores.'

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