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Buffalo Bills News - December 31, 2002

Marker Thomas tells luncheon crowd of treatment visit [5:22 AM]
El Paso Times reports: 'This year's Sun Bowl legend, Thurman Thomas, shocked a large Rotary Club of El Paso team luncheon audience Monday at the Convention Center by saying he's a recovering alcoholic. The former All-Pro running back for the Buffalo Bills said he recently spent 28 days in an Alcoholics Anonymous rehabilitation program in Minnesota.'

Marker Runner's great day remembered [5:21 AM]
El Paso Times reports: 'Thomas -- the Buffalo Bills' star who played for Oklahoma State in the Cowboys' 35-33 victory over West Virginia 15 years ago -- was honored as 2002's Legend of the Sun Bowl Monday.'

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December 30, 2002

Marker Riemersma all but says goodbye [8:57 PM]
Shout! reports: '"You heard a lot about me not being willing to help out on the salary cap. I was willing to give back two million (dollars). That wasn't enough in their eyes. Everyone put out that Jay's agent (Jack Wirth) wouldn't talk with the Bills, but they were not willing to negotiate long term."'

Marker Bruce a Buffalo Bill in 2003? [8:56 PM]
Shout! reports: 'Q -- Would you only play for Washington next year or consider another team? A -- I'm not going to get into that.'

Marker Five questions with Trey Teague [8:55 PM]
Shout! reports: 'Q: Was there a point during this season when you felt the offensive line got it? Teague: If you're thinking, "We've got it," you probably don't. We've still got room for improvement."'

Marker Bills assistant coach Levra retires [8:37 PM]
AP reports: 'Buffalo Bills defensive line coach John Levra retired Monday, ending a 44-year career.'

Marker Bills' Riemersma, Newman face uncertain futures [8:36 PM]
AP reports: 'Newman said he doesn't expect to re-sign with the Bills once he's eligible to become a free agent in March. Riemersma faces the prospect of being released as he's scheduled to make $3.5 million in the final year of his contract next season a figure that might be too expensive for the Bills. ''I wear my emotions on my coat sleeve and it's been tough,'' Riemersma said, his eyes welling with tears. ''You really never know in this business what's going to happen. But, certainly, you can see the writing on the wall.'' Riemersma, a seven-year veteran, said he's prepared to restructure his deal but isn't sure the Bills are willing to listen after the two sides failed in a bid to renegotiate the contract last spring.'

Marker Playoffs or bust for Bledsoe and Bills next season [8:35 PM]
AP reports: 'After spending last spring revamping the offense, including wholesale changes along the line and bringing in Kevin Gilbride as his coordinator, team president Tom Donahoe's challenge this offseason is improving his defensive unit. Buffalo finished 27th in points allowed, 24th average yards rushing (132), and last in generating 19 takeaways.'

Marker Bills finish quietly as rest of league sizzles [8:34 PM]
Niagara Falls Reporter reports: After five losses in the previous seven outings, pummeling the ever-putrid Cincinnati Bengals in the regular season finale proved just as easy as expected, but not nearly as rewarding as anticipated a couple months ago.

Marker Bills go out a winner [8:34 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'Williams, added, “We like the fact that we made improvement, but unless you’re in the tournament, unless you’re in the playoffs, you’re not satisfied.”'

Marker Fixing the Bengals is no easy task [8:32 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: '“(The problems) aren’t too overwhelming, but they’re not minor adjustments that need to be made. We need a spark. I’m not sitting here what spark that may be, but we need a spark, in some form or fashion.”'

Marker NFL Calendar: Important Dates [2:49 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: Feb. 28 Veteran free agency signing period begins.

Marker Playoff Flashback: Dec. 30, 1995 [1:22 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: The Bills improved to 9-0 at Rich Stadium in the postseason with their impressive 37-22 victory over their AFC East foe the Miami Dolphins in the first round of the AFC playoffs.

Marker Bengals close season in familiar fashion [1:20 PM]
Columbus Dispatch reports: 'Yesterday resembled so many other Bengals losses this season: fall behind early thanks to a porous defense, then suffer turnovers and failed fourth-down conversions while trying to catch up.'

Marker Neal laughs off talk of returning [1:19 PM]
Columbus Dispatch reports: 'Spikes has a potential obstacle to leaving the Bengals, though. He is the team's leading tackler and one of the defensive cornerstones, which means there is a good chance Cincinnati will place either its transition or franchise tag on him, which would limit his options.'

Marker Blitz: Awards of the Year [12:30 PM]
The Sporting News reports: REBOUND OF THE YEAR
Drew Bledsoe, Bills. Bledsoe found a friendly new home with, of all teams, New England's division rival. He stayed healthy and prolific, developing a great go-to rapport with Eric Moulds.

Marker Bills 27, Bengals 9 (Video Highlights) [10:24 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: Bills close 2002 season with a win. Watch the game highlights.

Marker Going out in style with win [9:49 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I'm satisfied with 8-8 from where we were," owner Ralph C. Wilson Jr. said. "Coming from where we were, we were worse off than an expansion team. I think the improvement's been terrific."'

Marker Bills finish a big step forward [9:48 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"This gives us hope for next year," said safety Coy Wire. "We don't want the season to end. I can't wait for next year."'

Marker Winning finale leaves Bills upbeat [9:48 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'With the exception of losses to Oakland, the first New England game and the second New York Jets game, the Bills had a chance to win heading into the final period of the other five losses.'

Marker Peerless leaves door slightly ajar for his return [9:47 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I'm sure Peerless is going to do the right thing and I'll support him no matter what his decision is," Moulds said. "But I'm hoping he stays. We have a chance to do something special here and it would be a lot better if we were able to do it here together."'

Marker After a worthy final act, the curtain falls too soon [9:47 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Williams still has a lot to prove as a game-day coach. But he's obviously earned the right to coach another year. Donahoe, the general manager, gushed about him after the win. If he has that much faith in Williams, he should give him a one-year extension and spare him the indignity of coaching as a lame duck next season.'

Marker Crowd tells Spikes he's wanted [9:46 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Perhaps no other Bills defender has shown more improvement over the last two games than rookie cornerback Kevin Thomas.'

Marker Bills catch breaks in 2003 schedule [9:45 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Either the Bills or Dolphins will play on Thanksgiving at Dallas because the game will be on CBS, meaning the visiting team must be from the AFC. The Bills and Dolphins are the only AFC teams visiting Dallas next season.'

Marker Monday Billboard [9:44 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The paid attendance was announced at 47,850. The actual attendance was about 10,000 shy of that.'

Marker Worst season ever finally over [9:44 AM]
Cincinnati Post reports: 'In 45 games since LeBeau took over after Bruce Coslet resigned three games into the 2000 season, the Bengals have won just 12 times, including a 4-21 record in their last 25 contests.'

Marker Spikes free, but not really [9:43 AM]
Cincinnati Post reports: 'Still, Spikes will be a wanted man, and Buffalo could be a possible destination. Bills fans called openly to Spikes during the game, leaving a good taste in his mouth about this trip to Western New York. For the second straight week, Spikes played a top-flight game, leading the Bengals with 12 tackles, a half of a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery, his third in the past two games.'

Marker Kitna falls 6 snaps shy of bonus [9:42 AM]
Cincinnati Post reports: 'The Bills have suffered their share of defensive woes this season but finished off the season strong. In their final 12 quarters of the season, the Bills gave up just 32 points, including just three touchdowns.'

Marker Eight is not enough [5:36 AM]
D and C reports: '“We made progress, but we certainly hope there’s nobody in the locker room who’s satisfied with 8-8 and going home because if there is, we have the wrong people,” Donahoe said. “And I don’t think we do. I think our players realize we made progress, it’s close, but we’re not there yet, we still have work to do.”'

Marker However you spin it, 8-8 is just 8-8 [5:36 AM]
D and C reports: 'Instead of 610 pass attempts for Bledsoe, how about 100 more carries for Travis Henry (fumbles and all)?'

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09/13 Indianapolis Colts 1:00 pm
09/20 New England Patriots 1:00 pm
09/27 @ Miami Dolphins 4:25 pm
10/04 New York Giants 1:00 pm
10/11 @ Tennessee Titans 1:00 pm
10/18 Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 pm
10/25 @ Jacksonville Jaguars 9:30 am
11/08 Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm
11/12 @ New York Jets 8:25 pm
11/23 @ New England Patriots 8:30 pm
11/29 @ Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 pm
12/6 Houston Texans 1:00 pm
12/13 @ Philadelphia Eagles 1:00 pm
12/20 @ Washington Redskins 1:00 pm
12/27 Dallas Cowboys 1:00 pm
01/03 New York Jets 1:00 pm

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