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.'
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."'
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.'
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?'
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."'
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."'
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."'
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."'
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 . . .'
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.'
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."'
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.'
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."'
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.'
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.'
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.'
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."'
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."'
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."'
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.'
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.'
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.'
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.'
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."'
Buses, fan isolation major problems with Bills' new digs [8:55 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Yeah, it's all new and people are uptight, but why make the fans feel as if they are touring an industrial park? There are two major mistakes. The shuttle bus idea is not striking a favorable chord with fans. If there had been a similar bus ride in Fredonia, it would have been like traveling from midtown Dunkirk to the SUNY campus. The other mistake is isolating the players from the fans. Yes, autograph seekers can be a pain, but these are the people who indirectly pay those fat NFL salaries. All major league sports should pattern themselves off the Dodgers' training camp in Vero Beach, Fla., where the club forces the players to walk through the crowds to get to the diamond. They're also encouraged to pose for photos with the fans and their kids.'
Washington 'good' enough to make list [8:54 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Buffalo Bills nose tackle Ted Washington has been selected as one of the 99 "Good Guys" in professional sports by the Sporting News in the July 31 issue of the magazine. Washington, entering his sixth season with the Bills, contributes a great deal of time and money to community programs throughout Western New York. In 1998, he created the Ted Washington Foundation to benefit area youth charities. The Multiple Sclerosis Society and Junior Achievement are among the many organizations he supports.'
Johnson ignores illness for Bills camp [7:05 AM]
AP reports: 'Buffalo Bills' quarterback Rob Johnson was down but not out yesterday, practising despite battling stomach cramps. Feeling ill for the last few days, Johnson had antibiotics delivered to his room at about 2:30 a.m. EDT yesterday, coach Wade Phillips said.'
Dolphins find unlikely ally in Bresnahan [6:46 AM]
Miami Herald reports: 'They asked the former Buffalo Bills offensive line coach to cast aside the strongest NFL bond he forged over a 37-year career and help the AFC East rival Dolphins. Bresnahan responded in heroic fashion. He was on a cross-country flight the next morning . . . and on the field coaching Miami's linemen the morning after that. "There was no decision to make," Bresnahan says. "I mean, I checked with my wife, but she was going to urope with her sister and I wasn't invited -- I would have been scrambling."'
All eyes focus on top pick's entrance [6:10 AM]
D and C reports: 'The team's first-round draft choice out of Arizona State ended his four-day contract holdout late Sunday, and was on the field for the first time yesterday at St. John Fisher College. All eyes are fixed on No. 96, the first defensive end drafted by the Bills since a guy named Bruce Smith back in 1985. With Smith now wearing Washington Redskins colors and veteran Marcellus Wiley recovering from back surgery, Flowers will get immediate playing time, something that should help his career blossom sooner than normal. "He's ready to play. He obviously has been working out," coach Wade Phillips said. "He didn't miss anything we didn't go over in our June mini-camp, so he seemed to fit right in."'
Undrafted Cavil is eager to contribute [6:09 AM]
D and C reports: '"I hate the cold," he said at training camp yesterday. "And I've seen about two inches of snow in my whole life. So where do I end up? Buffalo." Somebody down here likes Cavil, too. The Buffalo Bills. "He's looking pretty good," Eric Moulds said. "He's big, fast and strong. That's hard to find in a receiver."'
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