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Buffalo Bills News - July 28, 2000

Marker UB star Haddad a nifty long shot [6:24 AM]
D and C reports: 'Haddad's teammates like what little they see of the 5-foot-11, 184-pound natural receiver, a Cleveland native and rabid Browns fan who could make a catch in the middle of a demolition derby -- and often had to for winless UB last fall. "He's a good receiver," Bills cornerback Ken Irvin said. "He runs nice quick routes. I don't know whether he'll make the team or not. That will be up to the coaches. But he certainly has as good a shot as anyone."'

Marker Young players itch for contact drills [6:22 AM]
D and C reports: 'Buffalo Bills rookie defensive end Erik Flowers' eyes lit when asked to comment on tomorrow's scrimmage at St. John Fisher College. "Yeah I'm looking forward to Saturday," the first-round pick from Arizona State said. "We finally get to tackle a running back."'

Marker Moulds becomes 'go-to' teacher [6:21 AM]
D and C reports: 'Though only 27, Eric Moulds is the old sage of the receiving corps now that 15-year veteran Andre Reed is no longer with the team. Of the nine other receivers in camp, five are rookies. His young teammates are lauding Moulds for the way he's taken the time to help them improve. "Those guys don't have any NFL experience, besides Peerless Price," Moulds said. "We have a lot of young guys so I'm trying to pass things along to help them." One way he is doing that is leading by example. Moulds actually enjoys seeing double coverage in practice because he feels it will help make him a better player during the season.'

Marker A model carnival of style and precision [6:19 AM]
D and C reports: 'With enough tents to rival the Monroe County Fair, enough advertising signage to make NASCAR blush, with interactive games and clown entertainment, this isn't you're father's training camp. The scary thing is that the marketing festival underway at St. John Fisher College is actually a "tasteful" version of what it could've been, a team official said. Numerous businesses wanting a piece of the action but at the last minute were turned away. In other words, the fan who actually cares about football can be thankful that he doesn't also have to walk through a carnival midway and The Bearded Lady to get a glimpse of Erik Flowers.'

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July 27, 2000

Marker Flutie will be out until September [7:52 PM]
AP reports: 'Buffalo Bills quarterback Doug Flutie will be out until at least September after suffering a severe groin injury when he slipped in practice Thursday. "He's going to be out quite a while, probably into the regular season,'' coach Wade Phillips said after learning the result of an MRI. "We don't know the timetable yet, but it's a severe injury."'

Marker Flutie to undergo MRI after straining groin [1:28 PM]
AP reports: '"Doug Flutie strained a groin muscle this morning and he will (miss) this afternoon for sure," Bills coach Wade Phillips said, adding that the MRI will be done to determine the extent of the injury. "His foot slipped a little bit. It didn't grab. Just typical of what happens when you strain a groin." Taking the snap, Flutie appeared to be ready to run the ball up the middle, but the turf gave out from under his right leg. Flutie went down face-first and grimaced in pain while holding his leg. He got up on his own after less than a minute, and did not appear to limp as he walked off the field to the trainers' room.'

Marker First five days of Bills' camp encouraging [1:10 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'Collectively, the team reported in fabulous shape. The most obvious example is Ruben Brown, the four-time Pro Bowl guard, who showed up at 285 pounds ... about 40 less than the weight at which he played last year. "My wife (Kenia) wanted to lose weight after having the baby and we went on a diet and started going to the gym", Brown said. "The weight came off me really easily ... almost without trying. My wife prefers me like this and, personally, it's nice not to be a fat slob." But while quarterbacks Doug Flutie, approaching his 38th birthday, and starter Rob Johnson, are both in extraordinary condition, there is one exception. Fourth-year offensive lineman Jamie Nails is enormous, looking every ounce of his listed weight of 360 pounds ... and then some.'

Marker Greer happy with Bills' show of faith [9:03 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The 25-year-old Greer is one of the lesser-known names on the Bills' team but he might prove to be the most important backup player on the entire roster, No. 2 quarterback Doug Flutie included. Flutie isn't going to get on the field much unless Rob Johnson gets hurt. Greer, however, plays more than one third of the defensive snaps, and they're the most important plays in the game; the third downs, when the opposing offense either keeps its drive alive or is forced to get off the field. Greer enters in all obvious passing situations, whenever the Bills go to five or six defensive backs. "His worth has just skyrocketed," defensive backs coach Bill Bradley said. "The third corner is just about as important as a starting corner."'

Marker Intrasquad scrimmage set for Saturday [9:02 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Buffalo Bills' intrasquad scrimmage is scheduled for Saturday morning at St. John Fisher College. The Bills will start practice at 9:30 a.m., run some drills with all players participating, then have mostly young players work in game-type situations. "We'll work more of the new guys, the guys we need to look at - guys who have been doing a good job but who haven't gotten all the reps," said Bills coach Wade Phillips. "There's a possibility all the quarterbacks might play but we haven't finalized that." The scrimmage probably will end about 11:30 a.m. There will be no afternoon practice on Saturday.'

Marker QBs on spot: Pass or fail [7:43 AM]
USA Today reports: 'Stay well: Rob Johnson emerged as Buffalo's quarterback in the playoffs when coach Wade Phillips benched Doug Flutie before the Tennessee game. Key issue: durability. In two seasons with the Bills, Johnson has started eight games and played in 11 but had to leave four of them because of injuries. Secondary issue: Can Flutie tolerate the backup role?'

Marker He's Winfield for the defense [7:23 AM]
D and C reports: 'Antoine was one of our best defensive backs -- last year. Maybe the best, in grading overall films," coach Wade Phillips said. "He had a tremendous rookie year and I expect him to just keep going from there. He's really a heady player, a great tackler, a real competitor and he makes plays. He'll make some more interceptions for us, too, with experience. I just feel he's got a great future."'

Marker Two veterans, rookie compete to replace Schulz [7:22 AM]
D and C reports: 'Kurt Schulz was never a Pro Bowl performer, and even though he signed a lucrative free-agent contract with the Detroit Lions, it is unlikely he will ever become a Pro Bowl player. Schulz was a good solid player, nothing more and nothing less. The Bills will miss the veteran who started the past five years at free safety. However, with Daryl Porter, Keion Carpenter and rookie second-round draft pick Travares Tillman to choose from, coach Wade Phillips doesn't think the Bills will have too much trouble replacing him. "I think both Porter and Carpenter can play well enough to help us be back at the top where we were last year," said Phillips, referring to Buffalo's No. 1 league rankings in overall defense and pass defense. "I have confidence in both those guys going in."'

Marker Johnson still out with bug [7:20 AM]
D and C reports: '"He's awfully sick," coach Wade Phillips said. "Maybe we should have kept him out before he got as sick as he was. Hopefully he'll be back tomorrow."'

Marker Fisher knows what real combat is like [7:19 AM]
D and C reports: 'Come the end of next month, Fisher will be assigned to a transportation unit with the 59th Squadron in Fayetteville, N.C. In the meantime, the Bills seventh-round pick from the 1999 draft is hoping to make a lasting impression on the coaching staff. "They are more concerned with getting ready the players who can help them this season, and I understand that completely," Fisher says. "I just hope to do enough to convince them that I'm worth a serious look next summer when, hopefully, I'll be free of my military obligations and able to do this full-time."'

Marker Training Camp: Not a banner day [12:07 AM]
Shout! reports: 'The Bills originally had been scheduled for a morning walk-through and an afternoon practice, but Wade Phillips gave the team the morning off from work on the field. Rob Johnson missed the afternoon session. He wasn't even on the field . . .'

July 26, 2000

Marker McDaniel catching on as Bills' No. 3 wide receiver [8:15 PM]
AP reports: 'This year, the Bills are preparing to give McDaniel more work -- behind Moulds and Price -- after dropping receivers Andre Reed, Kevin Williams and Kamil Loud in the off-season.'

Marker Flutie takes over while Johnson battles virus [8:03 PM]
AP reports: 'Johnson has now missed three practices since catching the bug sometime last weekend. He's lost some weight and is still on fluids, and the Bills aren't exactly sure when he'll be ready to return. "He's awfully sick," coach Wade Phillips said. "Maybe we should've taken him out before he got as sick as he was. But hopefully, he'll be back tomorrow."'

Marker Byrd's departure saddens Coach P [11:33 AM]
Syracuse Post-Standard reports: 'Syracuse University football coach Paul Pasqualoni was saddened when he heard news of David Byrd's departure from Bills camp. "Obviously, David's doing what he feels is best for David to do and for his family," said Pasqualoni while attending Bills camp Tuesday. The Bills signed the former Syracuse defensive back as a free agent last April. After participating in the team's two minicamps and the first two practices at training camp, Byrd failed to show up on Sunday, informing team officials that he wasn't coming back. The Bills plan to waive him.'

Marker Leads like a 'Messier' [9:09 AM]
USA Today reports: 'Columbia football coach Ray Tellier likes to compare Marcellus Wiley with Mark Messier, the NHL superstar. "He was probably the loudest and most entertaining player we've ever had here," Tellier says. "He was just an unbelievable leader. He just took care of everything. Messier, he was that kind of leader for us on a smaller scale."'

Marker Brown hoping less means more [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills' star left guard reported to training camp in the greatest shape of his life. He lost 40 pounds since last season, dropping from 325 to 285. "When I got here, he was wearing a Dr. J jersey," said Brown's agent, Eric Metz, referring to basketball great Julius Erving. "And the thing is, he looked like Dr. J." Metz was joking, but there's no exaggerating how good Brown looks. "I feel great, and I'm really enthusiastic about this season," Brown said.'

Marker Rookie DBs have jobs with Bills within reach [8:55 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'There isn't much argument about where the team's chief vulnerability lies. Two starting members of the secondary, cornerback Thomas Smith and free safety Kurt Schulz, were lured away by free agent dollars. Backup safety Manny Martin was not re-signed. Cornerback Reggie Durden of Florida State came to Pittsford unheralded, but everyone in this camp is talking about him. Safety Nick Ferguson, fresh from the champion Rhein Fire of NFL Europe, also turned heads. As of Tuesday afternoon's practice, so did Quincy Coleman, who made a diving interception of a Doug Flutie pass and came right back with a nifty breakup of another pass on the next down. That's convenience.'

Marker Flowers' deal came with help from Smith [8:54 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Flowers will receive a $400,000 base salary this year, followed by base salaries of $500,000, $600,000, $700,000 and $800,000, according to figures obtained by The News. The Bills created about $200,000 of extra room under the salary cap that helped them sign Flowers by restructuring the contract of running back Antowain Smith. Smith has two years remaining on the original five-year contract he signed with the Bills. He is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2001 season. As with most restructured contracts, Smith will receive the same amount of money he was scheduled to earn. The Bills converted some of his base salary this season into bonus money, some of which they can count toward next year's cap.'

Marker Business trains sights on Bills [6:06 AM]
D and C reports: 'The sponsoring businesses are taking advantage of the opportunities, rolling out new products and offering one-of-a-kind discounts to the crowd. "This is an excellent opportunity to build our brand in our home markets and give us exposure where we haven't had it before," said Randall L. Scroger, regional manager for Heluva Good Cheese Inc. "The Bills are a legendary thing in western New York and we're celebrating our 75th anniversary, so we think it's a natural tie-in."'

Marker Life goes on in Fredonia [6:00 AM]
D and C reports: '"My sense is we're doing well," Mayor Frank A. Pagano said Friday. "We have a large tourist industry, and the Buffalo Bills were only a small part of that. The economic impact is negligible. But maybe it was more a sense of pride that's gone. We saw that `Fredonia' byline in the papers every night. That's what it was, a sense of pride."'

Marker Expanded role pleases Price [5:59 AM]
D and C reports: '"I was satisfied with the second half of last year, but I didn't think I was given the opportunity to do more in the first half," he said. "As the season progressed the coaches started using me more and I was producing and I felt a lot more confident in what I could do." This season Reed is gone, Price is the full-time starter, and expectations are high that he and Moulds can become a dynamic duo with strong-armed quarterback Rob Johnson zinging them the ball. "I know Rob expects me to get deep and I expect him to throw it deep," said Price. "That's the game I like, throw the ball deep, air it out."'

Marker Buffalo scribe not a big fan of camp setup [5:57 AM]
D and C reports: 'Larry Felser, longtime columnist for the Buffalo News, isn't too impressed by the Bills' new training facility at St. John Fisher College. In yesterday's editions, Felser took some shots at the team's new digs.'

Marker Clowns and music new attractions [5:56 AM]
D and C reports: 'There will be some new noon time entertainment starting today. All of the attractions will be near the main concession tent, adjacent to the grass practice fields. Jazzbo the Clown will entertain children of all ages from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. today and all next week. Scooter the Clown will appear from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. tomorrow and Friday. Face painting will be available from noon to 4 p.m. daily. The music of Rich Cooley will serenade guests while they eat lunch on the Alumni Terrace at Growney Stadium.'

July 25, 2000

Marker Cowart, Holecek provide Bills defense a one-two punch [8:22 PM]
AP reports: 'For the past two years, Sam Cowart and John Holecek have been a dynamic duo as inside linebackers in the Bills' defensive scheme. With Holecek plugging holes, and Cowart going after the ball or holding back to play the pass, the two have provided a unique one-two punch. They are a key reason why the Bills are one of the few remaining teams to play a 3-4 set on most downs, and they played a major role in why the Bills finished with the top-ranked defense last year.'

Marker 1990s All-Decade Team [12:43 PM]
AP reports: 'Forty-Niners receiver Jerry Rice, Titans guard Bruce Matthews, Panthers defensive end Reggie White, Redskins defensive end Bruce Smith and former Lions running back Barry Sanders were unanimous choices, receiving votes on every ballot.'

Marker Kidding around: Flowers enjoys first day [8:56 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Buffalo Bills rookie defensive end Erik Flowers said he felt like a little kid in his first practice with his new team. "It kind of reminds you of being a little 5-year-old and going to kindergarten class but being late, and everybody's watching you as you walk through the door," Flowers said at the Bills' St. John Fisher College training camp. "I was a little nervous at the start but things settled down."'

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