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Buffalo Bills News - February 20, 2004

Marker Wyche doles out laughs in appearance at combine [11:38 AM]
Cincinnati Enquirer reports: '"Besides being a good football coach, he cares about people," Mularkey said. "I'm glad to have him back."'

Marker Getting Henson may be costly [11:23 AM]
Miami Herald reports: Donahoe and new Buffalo QB coach Sam Wyche said Henson's workout last week was impressive. Donahoe didn't say whether his team would bring Henson in for a workout, but the Bills and Green Bay each brought in at least five coaches and/or personnel people to look at Henson.

Henson, who scored a staggeringly high 42 on the Wunderlich aptitude exam, also impressed Wyche with how much he retained after being away from the game for three years. The two talked after Henson's workout.

"He's a coach's son, so you know that he understands a lot of this stuff from way back," said Wyche, referring to the fact Henson's father, Dan, was a small-college football coach in Michigan. "But the time away didn't hurt him at all. He didn't forget much. Or if he did, he faked it pretty well."

Marker NFL Combine on TV a boon for Bills fans [5:15 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Frankly, there is no limit to interest in the college football draft.'

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February 19, 2004

Marker NFL Combine: Mike Mularkey Transcript [4:03 PM] reports: '"We're in the process right now, personnel wise, of evaluating everybody. We just had completed the coaching staff with Sam Wyche. Their job now, before we can start looking anywhere else, is to evaluate ourselves offensively, defensively, and with Bobby April with special teams. We're here to get a feel for the players that are here but before we do that we have to start with our own. We are in the process of that right now."'

Marker Ask Cornerback Nate Clements [2:30 PM] reports: 'Clements isn't afraid to deliver the big hit and when he gets his hands on the ball he has a knack for finding the end zone.'

Marker Franchise tag can lead to problems [9:22 AM]
ESPN reports: There are some teams that, taking a cue from the Buffalo Bills' maneuver of a year ago, will use the franchise tag to retain a player's rights just so they can trade him. The Bills kept the rights to wide receiver Peerless Price via the franchise marker and then dealt him to Atlanta for a first-round draft pick.

Marker Bills Staff Ready to Talk to Prospects [7:54 AM] reports: 'The Bills representatives who will be handling most of the interviews together will be Coach Mularkey, Tom Donahoe, Tom Modrak, and either offensive coordinator Tom Clements or defensive coordinator Jerry Gray, depending on whether the prospect is an offensive or defensive player. The other assistant coaches will conduct some interviews as well.'

Marker Bills looking for tough men [5:15 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'About the only positions where the Bills could stand pat and be fine are running back and linebacker, two areas upgraded substantially last year with the additions of Willis McGahee, Takeo Spikes and Jeff Posey. That leaves a lot left to address, which is why Mularkey, to this point, has been reluctant to state his team’s top priority.'

February 18, 2004

Marker Bills CB Winfield intends to pursue free agency [5:13 PM]
AP reports: '''You don't play five years and get this close to free agency and say, 'No, I'm not going to see what my value is,' unless there's something on the table that we can't refuse,'' Katz said. ''And there's nothing there that we can't refuse. Tom and I have talked a lot and have agreed to disagree as to what the value is.'''

Marker The Bills Heading Out To Look At College Players [5:13 PM]
WGR-AM reports: 'The team is not commenting on the status of Drew Henson. Sources have said that the Bills have been very busy getting ready for this combine and haven't had time yet to bring the quarterback in for a visit.'

Marker Bills Get Ready For NFL Combine [3:54 PM] reports: 'President & General Manager Tom Donahoe, Assistant General Manager Tom Modrak, new Head Coach Mike Mularkey and the rest of the team's assistant coaches and scouting department will all attend the Annual Scouting Combine, which is being conducted February 18-24 at the RCA Dome.'

Marker Influx of eligible stars will leave many Hall of Fame hopefuls outside looking in [2:16 PM]
Pro Football Weekly reports: It also will be interesting to see how Thomas and Reed fare considering the Bills’ four straight Super Bowl losses. There is a feeling among some fans and media that players from the Vikings and Cowboys teams of the 1970s and the Broncos of the 1980s have been hurt because their teams lost multiple Super Bowls. However, Horrigan does not believe that is the case at all.

Marker Daniels' contract makes trade tough [1:13 PM]
Chicago Tribune reports: 'One league source speculated that once Stewart gets his release from the Bears and surveys how few teams are interested in the veteran as a starting quarterback, he could land in Buffalo with new head coach Mike Mularkey and offensive coordinator Tom Clements.'

Marker Mularkey: right coach at right time [1:09 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'But his most impressive move, after he got the job, wasn’t something he said, but rather something he did. When Mularkey hired Sam Wyche, the former Buccaneers and Bengals boss, to be Bills’ quarterback coach, it said a lot about his loyalty.'

Marker Bills turf supplier files for bankruptcy [10:45 AM]
Business First of Buffalo reports: 'Southwest Recreational Industries Inc., which makes and installs synthetic and natural grass playing fields including one at Ralph Wilson Stadium, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in Georgia after buckling under heavy debt and rapid growth.'

Marker Major Alumni Highlights of 2003 [8:55 AM] reports: '2003 was a busy year for the Bills Alumni...'.

Marker Interview with Alumni Relations Coordinator Joni Graham [8:54 AM] reports: '"This year's president is Mark Brammer, Vice President is Lou Piccone, Treasurer is Charley Ferguson, and Bills Alumni Will Fowler and Bob Dugan are also officers. Ed Rutkowski, Ernie Warlick, Booker Edgerson, Jeff Nixon, Hilton Crawford and Carl Byrum are also extremely active. There are over 30 Alumni living in the WNY area and they all try to stay involved in one form or another. Their dedication to the WNY area is extremely admirable."'

Marker Bills' Winfield to test market [5:17 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '“We were hopeful we could have some discussions, but they just seem to be pretty firm in the fact they want to get out there and test it,” Donahoe said Tuesday. “There’s not much we can do. When somebody doesn’t want to talk, it’s not a very good conversation.”'

Marker Henson intrigues Bills, but another look needed [5:16 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '“We have interest,” said Bills general manager Tom Donahoe Tuesday when asked how serious the club is in making a Henson deal. “It was a good workout but there are a lot of hoops to jump through. Houston has to get him signed before they can trade him. Whether he’s signable is a major issue.”'

Marker Company that put in Bills’ AstroPlay field goes belly up [5:15 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'AstroPlay, comprising synthetic blades of grass and crushed tires, has a lifespan of about eight years in extreme weather conditions. The surface needs a once-a-year grooming by a ride-on broom machine.'

February 17, 2004

Marker Bills Alumni Spotlight: Paul Seymour [5:21 PM] reports: '"I was surprised although the fact that Chuck and I didn’t get along, it probably shouldn’t have surprised me," Seymour said. "But I was surprised that it was an unconditional trade and that (the Steelers) didn’t know that I was coming off (knee) surgery. In fact, I told them that they were really getting the short end of the trade because I was still recovering. The week before (the trade) I could barely walk, but they put me in on a couple goal line plays in a game against Detroit and showed the film to Pittsburgh and said that I was okay. Pittsburgh believed it."'

Marker Bills Alumni Spotlight: Rufus Bess [5:20 PM] reports: 'Bess still makes his home in Minnesota with his wife, Sonia, and their daughter, Brittany, who is a high school junior. For the past 14 years, he has worked as a industrial technology teacher and this year became Minneapolis North High School’s school-to-work coordinator in tech education. He is also the school’s head football and baseball coach.'

Marker Esks in hot pursuit of Bombers linebacker [1:57 PM]
Edmonton Journal reports: CFL WR Jason Tucker is one of the most coveted free agents on the market. He has worked out with the Buffalo Bills and expects to hear later this week whether they'll make an offer. His first choice in the CFL is Edmonton, but he's open to other offers.

Marker Inside slant [5:15 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: '"It took a little while to put this staff together, longer than some other teams have done, but it was important, for the sake of the personality of the team, to make sure we had the right fit," said Mularkey, the former Pittsburgh Steelers' offensive coordinator who was hired on Jan. 13. "To be honest, I was very lucky to get all of these guys and keep the guys around here that we did."'

Marker Strategy and personnel [5:14 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'There are six unrestricted free agents but GM Tom Donahoe is expected to allow each to test the market, including starting CB Antoine Winfield. The Bills have been in talks with Winfield but the player would like to explore his options. The franchise (guaranteed top five salary) or transition tags would give Buffalo right-of-first-refusal options but they are not likely to be exercised.'

Marker Notes, quotes, anecdotes [5:13 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'McNally is among the very best at his craft and he'll have his work cut out in Buffalo, where the Bills allowed an NFL-most 51 sacks last season and quarterback Drew Bledsoe is among the easiest targets to hit.'

February 16, 2004

Marker Buffalo stampede [6:44 PM]
CNN/SI reports: 'Already, two things are apparent: It's good to have Wyche's sense of humor back in the league, and the Bills will be heard from when it comes time for the Henson deal to get done. We're not saying Henson, the former Michigan standout turned baseball player turned Houston Texans-owned trade bait, should start picking out a winter coat for upstate New York. It's just that, for the second time in three years, Buffalo might be in the best position to trade a high-round pick for a quarterback being shopped far and wide.'

Marker Despite questions about Bledsoe, Buffalo's brass shouldn't Drew it [2:03 PM]
Niagara Falls Reporter reports: 'Granted, Drew Bledsoe's dismal season in 2003 raised serious questions about the position in both the short and long run. For the immediate future, Donahoe's clearly banking on Mularkey, Clements and Wyche to rebuild Bledsoe's faulty mechanics and soothe his fractured psyche through better coaching and game planning.'

Marker Marketing suites is 'challenge' for Bills [10:14 AM]
Business First of Buffalo reports: "We do have 40 suites to sell yet. That will be a big challenge for us," said Erland "Erkie" Kailbourne, still chairman of the Business Backs the Bills committee that, then and now, is very involved in lining up clients for the open suites and club seats.

February 15, 2004

Marker Washington's good-guy image takes a hit [9:01 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'Bledsoe has been sacked 103 times the past two seasons. Some of that has to do with Buffalo's offensive line, but Wyche plans to teach Bledsoe how to help them help him. For one thing, Bledsoe can tuck the ball and run more. Bledsoe, run? "Sometimes you're groomed one way and you don't test yourself in certain areas," Wyche said. "We're going to test him."'

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