Draft Dish: Bills show interest in Carr, Harrington [2:39 PM]
SportingNews reports: There's a strong sense around the NFL that Buffalo is banking on picking either Joey Harrington or David Carr, the top two QBs in this year's draft class. It's likely team president Tom Donahoe will let oft-injured QB Rob Johnson go, leaving Alex Van Pelt, who recently agreed to a five-year contract extension, as the starter.
Fifteen Finalists for Hall of Fame Election announced [12:48 PM]
ProFootballHOF.com reports: Jim Kelly, QB, 1986-1996 Buffalo Bills
James Lofton, WR, 1989-1992 Buffalo Bills (among others)
Kelly also played two seasons in the defunct USFL with the Houston Gamblers (1984-85).
Big Ted going to Pro Bowl in place of Sapp [11:00 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: Ted Washington never gets tired of going to the Pro Bowl.
Although he's a Pro Bowl veteran, this will be the first time Washington has represented the NFC. His other three trips -- 1996, 1997 and 2000 -- came when he was in Buffalo.
Up close in the off-season: Dan O'Leary [10:21 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: Offseason plans: get an intern in Cleveland Clinic in their computer area.
Chris Mortensen's chat items on Buffalo [9:49 AM]
ESPN reports: Just Buffalo related remarks:
Q: You recently said that Buffalo would try to get Harrington or Carr in the April draft, yet we're also hearing they are going to trade down for more picks. Any updates?
A: I think that the Bills are very high on Carr and Harrington, but there are a couple of other QBs that may catch their eye, too, like Kiitner and Davey, so if they got great value for the fourth pick that would enhance their overall draft - and still get a QB they believe will be a quality NFL starter - then I'm sure they would consider it. But that's what the next couple of months are about - to evaluate everything.
Q: What do you think of the Johnson situation in Buffalo? Personally, I think they should let him go if he wont accept contract changes. I doubt houston would want to take him in the Expansion draft.
A: Don't be so sure about that. Chris Palmer was one of Rob's offensive coaches in Jacksonville and he was pretty high on the guy, I think. Palmer is the Houston OC.
Cottrell vs Dungy [9:19 AM]
ESPN reports: Ex-Bils DC Ted Cottrell is going head-to-head with Bucs ex-HC Tony Dungy for positions with Panthers and Jets. Indianapolis will interview New York Jets DC Ted Cottrell on Saturday and the Panthers will meet with him on Thursday. Dungy's agent is still working on times and places to meet.
Wilson won't ask for any coaching staff changes [5:08 AM]
D and C reports: 'The fact the Bills were competitive, with nine games decided by a touchdown or less, encouraged and impressed Wilson and left Williams on solid footing.'
Cowart talks may mask hidden agenda [9:08 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'It could be that Cowart's condition is merely a convenient excuse to jettison another veteran.'
Carolina added to list seeking to interview with Ted Cottrell [6:35 AM]
ESPN reports: Carolina officials on Tuesday sought and were granted permission to discuss their head coach job with Cottrell. It marked the 2nd consecutive day in which the Jets granted permission to talk to Cottrell, who will meet with Colts officials by the end of this week.
An 18-year league veteran, Cottrell moved to the Jets staff in 2001 after spending 7 years on the Buffalo Bills staff, the last three of those seasons as DC. His defense led the NFL this season in takeaway/turnover differential and Cottrell was key in making a critical switch at midseason from a "cover two" scheme to a "cover three" alignment.
Bruuuuuuce is not ready to hang up cleats yet [6:28 AM]
ESPN reports: Ex-Bill great Bruce Smith has warmed up to new Redskins coach Steve Spurrier. "He's a coach that believes you should burn it on the game field instead of the practice field," Smith said.
Smith injured his shoulder early in training camp and didn't come close to repeating his 10-sack season of the previous season, finishing with just five. Smith called Spurrier "very refreshing" and noted the coach's no-tackling rule in practice.
Smith is 12 sacks short of Reggie White's NFL career record of 198, a mark Smith would dearly love to have. He also wants one more chance to win a Super Bowl, having lost four in a row during his 15 seasons with the Buffalo Bills.
Marv Levy to Colts: 'I am ready to coach' [5:32 AM]
ESPN reports: 'Nevertheless, Irsay said that while he has "tremendous respect for guys like Marv Levy and Ted Marchibroda," he sounded somewhat reluctant to endorse Levy as his next coach. "If we could just meet, if we stirred up the coals, I think he would have a different view," said Levy. "But he has to be open for it to work."'
Levy, 76, would listen to the Colts [5:23 AM]
Indianapolis Star reports: '"I didn't apply for the job," said Levy, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August after posting a 154-120 record (including playoffs) during 17 years as a head coach. If the Colts expressed an interest? "I'll give you an honest answer rather than dance," Levy said. "I would probably listen."'
TEAM BY TEAM DRAFT REVIEW [3:33 PM]
Dallas Morning News reports: • • •
2001 picks: 12.
On roster: 8
On reserve lists: 2
The Bills' draft class started a combined 66 games in a 3-13 season. That's the league high. All eight draft picks started games. No. 2 pick Travis Henry rushed for 729 yards with two 100-yard games.
April grade: A
January grade: A+
Bills want Cowart...but at what cost? [1:28 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'They could declare Cowart their franchise player and pay him the average salary of the top five middle/inside linebackers in the NFL. And though, Donahoe hates to use that designation, it might make the most sense if Cowart doesn't agree to a contract. That way the Bills would only be bound by a one-year agreement, ample opportunity to assess his health.'
Vote for the Bill of the Year [10:41 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: All the players who won Game Ball of the Week awards are now eligible to win the buffalobills.com Game Ball of the Year title.
Vote for the Jill of the Year [10:08 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: Which Buffalo Jill deserves the honor of being named the Jill of the Year?
Cowart could test market [9:08 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The signing bonus will be the most contentious part of the negotiations. Burrough has proposed a tiered bonus that would pay Cowart a certain amount when he signs, when he passes a physical and the rest when he is activated to the regular-season roster.'
Colts Receive Permission With Jets to speak with Ted [7:04 PM]
AP reports: Cottrell spent 11 seasons with the Buffalo Bills, the last three as DC, when his defenses never finished worse than sixth in the NFL. His time with Buffalo also overlapped with that of Colts president Bill Polian.
Phil Hansen: The strongest link [2:49 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: It's a classic example of too little (one column doesn't pay nearly enough credit to an 11-year veteran), too late (accolades never came as quickly or often as Hansen deserved). But in a capsule, that was Hansen's career: He was a great, great player, but there was usually one story, or one guy, that was slightly bigger.
Tom Donahoe off-season Update [2:42 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: Q: On a percentage basis, what is the chance of Buffalo taking the #4 pick in the draft or trading down in the hopes of gaining additional picks? A: If we are sold on a guy who is there when we pick we?ll stay there and make the pick. If we?re not, and we listen to some different offers and it makes sense we?ll go in a different direction. You don?t really go into a draft leaning one way or another because you have to see who is there.
Williams comments on Patriots defense [1:50 PM]
The Sporting News reports: The extra week of preparation might give Belichick's Patriots an edge. So, undoubtedly, will the unique character of the Patriots' defense. Theirs is the only unit in the league that switches back and forth from a 3-4 to a 4-3, defying characterization and confusing opponents. "That gives you fits," Bills coach Gregg Williams says. "It adds practice time and game-plan time. And to their credit, they are flexible enough personnel-wise to do it."
Centers provided the best of a crummy Bills season [1:15 PM]
Niagara Falls Reporter reports: 'Say what you want about the 2001 Bills, but they managed to become more competitive as the season wound down.'
Jets defensive coordinator Cottrell to interview with Colts [1:10 PM]
CBS Sportsline reports: Former Bills DC who lost head coaching job to Gregg Williams is to interview with former Bills GM Bill Polin. Jets GM Terry Bradway informed his coach of the call but it remains unclear when Cottrell will interview for the job.
Meet the New Year, Same as the Old Year [12:49 PM]
cnnsi.com reports: In his Monday Morning Quarterback column, SI's Peter King makes his rookie of the year picks:
"... Guard Leonard Davis of Arizona, a piledriver from day one, is my offensive rookie, while Buffalo's rookie shut-down corner, Nate Clements, edges Pittsburgh's Kendrell Bell as defensive rookie ..."
Cutting seats could boost sales [5:12 AM]
Business First of Buffalo reports: 'A few million bucks in a $100 million-plus business would be sacrificed but, in the long run, it just might be an investment.'
Interview with Fred Smerlas [10:42 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: "I was at my kid's baseball game on a Friday at 7:30. I got a call from Ralph Wilson on my cell phone and he said "What are you doing?" I said 'I am at my kid's baseball game.' He said, "you made it to the Wall of Fame." I said, "Ralph, that's great!"
Ruben Brown and Larry Centers represent Bills in ProBowl [10:44 AM]
NFL.com reports: Marcellus Wiley was the only ex-Bill listed on Pro-Bowl roster.
Beebe Helping Kids Speed to Success [10:31 AM]
NFL HS reports: There are only a handful of NFL players that will always be remembered for at least a single play or moment. Most of them are legends of the game: Walter Payton, Franco Harris, Joe Montana, Don Beebe.
Bills begin countdown to crucial draft [9:19 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"The one thing we have to do is be very thorough. Whoever this player is, he's going to make a lot of money. I'm not against paying great players a lot of money, but this guy better prove to all of us he can be a great player."'
Team won't overpay for Cowart to stay [5:27 AM]
D and C reports: '"Not much less than what they paid (wide receiver Eric Moulds)," [Cowart's agent Gene] Burrough said by telephone from his office in Duluth, Ga., when asked what he felt Cowart was worth. "I don't expect a $12 million bonus, but not too much less."'
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