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Buffalo Bills News - April 23, 2002

Marker Bills Release K Shayne Graham, S Raion Hill. Sign 12 FA. [11:04 PM] reports: Most of the FA have been mentioned over the last few days, but the 2 cuts seem like news. Hill played in 31 games since 1999 and started 13 last season at SS. Graham was picked up last season and kicked the final 6 games. I don't think either release is a surprise.

Marker Bledsoe saga not over yet [9:33 PM]
ESPN reports: 'The defense has holes, and you have to wait and see about things like chemistry and injuries. But Bledsoe makes the Bills better.'

Marker Bills Win Big With Bledsoe [4:59 PM]
WIVB-TV reports: 'The downside is so much greater for New England. They just gave up a 30 year old quarterback, who holds just about every one of the team's passing records, and as good as he was on the field, he was even better in the community. They are gambling on a guy named Brady, who I will admit had a tremendous season last year. But, they better hope he's not a one hit wonder, or gets hurt early in this season.'

Marker The enemy no longer [4:55 PM]
WGRZ-TV reports: 'Drew Bledsoe doesn't make the Bills an instant Super Bowl contender. But he does accelerate the rebuilding effort by warp speed, by turning what was a glaring weakness into a positive. He also gives the Bills the legitimate "star" they've been missing that helps sell tickets.'

Marker Wire off to Buffalo [1:51 PM]
Harrisburg Patriot News reports: '"I think the Bills are going to be a great organization to play for," said Coy. "They've been very positive from the beginning."'

Marker Bills draft Bakersfield High grad Wright in seventh round [1:39 PM]
Bakersfield Californian reports: '"I think if they give him a chance that he'll show them that he can play in the NFL. He's got great speed and he's very quick. I think he could make it as a wide receiver. But I also think he could make it as a kick returner. I think they really got something in Rodney if they give him a chance to show himself."'

Marker Ferguson among Hokies with new destination [1:37 PM]
Roanoke Times reports: 'Ferguson, who walked on at Tech and became a four-year starter, doesn't plan to disappoint in Buffalo. "I've said all along that all I needed was to get my foot in the door and I'll do the rest," he said.'

Marker Bledsoe Fan Feedback [12:20 PM] reports: The response from Bills fans and football fans everywhere has been enormous. In a poll on, 82 percent agree that the move was an "excellent" one. Since the deal, the site has been flooded with visitors and emails, reaching record-high numbers over a 48-hour period.

Marker Drew Bledsoe merchandise information [12:19 PM] reports: Obviously everyone at the Bills is very excited about the acquisition of Drew Bledsoe. Since Sunday's trade, we have received many requests from fans regarding Bills-Bledsoe merchandise.

Marker Bledsoe coming to town [12:19 PM] reports: Tomorrow afternoon, quarterback DREW BLEDSOE will arrive in Buffalo for the first time since joining the Bills.

Marker Offseason action excites Bills players [9:07 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"It puts us up with Miami and the Jets . . . and really gives us a chance to stick it to New England."'

Marker Hope springs eternal after Bledsoe deal [9:06 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Donahoe certainly has earned a vacation. Over a period of two months, he and his staff have taken a staggering football team and lifted it back to respectability.'

Marker Bills sign Pitt QB, Notre Dame lineman [9:05 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Buffalo Bills have not released the names of undrafted free agents they signed, but various published reports have Pittsburgh quarterback David Priestley, Notre Dame defensive lineman Grant Irons, West Virginia safety Rick Sherrod and Louisville long snapper Chip Mattingly coming to Buffalo.'

Marker Bledsoe is the ticket for Bills fans [9:05 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Buffalo Bills fans are excited about Drew Bledsoe's becoming the team's new quarterback, and many are proving it at the ticket window.'

Marker Drew Bledsoe comes to town [9:04 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'It's almost - almost - enough to make you want to skip summer and go right to fall.'

Marker Bledsoe less than a savior [7:50 AM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: 'What the Bills are getting is a strong-armed quarterback with good accuracy who is 240 pounds and not very mobile. He has never been adept at processing information quickly enough to be a dominant factor on third down, and that's why he was replaced last year by sixth-round draft pick Tom Brady.'

Marker Bledsoe is an 'enthusiastic' Bill [5:41 AM]
D and C reports: '"I said all of last year I thought Buffalo was a good team, a lot better than their record," Patriots' wide receiver Troy Brown told the Boston Globe. "You add Drew Bledsoe to that team, and our rival is that much stronger. For Buffalo, it's unbelievable to add a guy like that in that locker room."'

Marker Bledsoe not currently a top-10 QB [5:40 AM]
D and C reports: 'Buffalo's trade for Bledsoe is another reason why the NFL's prime-time TV decisions should be made after draft weekend. The Bills suddenly have the potential to be a far more competitive and entertaining team this season.'

Marker Top Billing [5:39 AM]
Boston Globe reports: '''I think you're always motivated to play at the highest possible level, and that won't change,'' said Bledsoe. ''This is a great opportunity for me to be a starting player again and resume my career. I get to do it in a terrific setting. It's a great opportunity to show I'm at the top of my game. And I want that more than anything.'''

Marker Buffalo glad it acquired marquee QB [5:38 AM]
Boston Globe reports: '''Let me say this. If New England let us talk to him before the deal, we would have given them more than we did. He is going to make a terrific impact on our team and this city. We've been selling tickets ever since the trade was announced.'''

Marker In no position to get choosy [5:37 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'Though Patriots director of player personnel Scott Pioli spent several weeks trying to negotiate a Drew Bledsoe deal with more than one team, including the Cincinnati Bengals, the Buffalo Bills were the only ones who made an actual offer.'

Marker Bledsoe 'excited' by trade [5:36 AM]
Boston Herald reports: '``I am eager to get to Buffalo over the next few days to meet my new teammates and to look for a place to live. And, on the field, I could not be more enthusiastic about jumping into the next phase of my career and contributing to the success of the Buffalo Bills."'

Marker Bledsoe a blessing to Bills [5:35 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'This reporter was a guest on a Buffalo sports talk radio station yesterday morning. Opinion there was unanimous. Acquiring Bledsoe was the first stroke of good luck for the Bills franchise since Scott Norwood's kick went wide right in Super Bowl XXV. Not ``Hey, maybe with Bledsoe, we won't stink'' luck, mind you, but the ``Lombardi Trophy, here we come'' variety.'

Marker Game on for QBs [5:34 AM]
Metro West Daily News reports: 'One thing's for sure. By December 8, we'll have a much better idea whether Bledsoe has anything left, and if Tom Brady still has it.'

Marker Bledsoe's dad keeps deal in perspective [5:33 AM]
Providence Journal reports: 'In a frank talk from his Montana home yesterday, Bledsoe's father declined to talk about Bill Belichick, but he spoke of how much his son was looking forward to playing for the Bills, and, more than anything, stressed that Drew Bledsoe appreciated New England and knows that it appreciated him.'

Marker Bledsoe was disappointed about lack of playing time [5:32 AM]
Providence Journal reports: 'In a conversation with The Boston Globe yesterday, Bledsoe said, "I've taken the high road, and that's the way it's going to end. I'm not going to say anything bad about anyone."'

Marker Bills' Top Draw Is Drew [5:31 AM]
Hartford Courant reports: '"I'm really excited about it," said Eric Moulds, the Bills' best receiver. "I feel like we're a legit contender. Not just a contender to win a division. But we're looking for bigger things right now."'

Marker Bledsoe Starts Over [5:30 AM]
New York Times reports: 'Here is what one pro personnel director, speaking on condition of anonymity, said about Bledsoe: "He's just one of those guys that looked like he went as far as he could go with New England. There was something about Brady that sparked that team, and Bledsoe didn't have it. He is the classic drop-back quarterback and he has good vision. There is no question he has some years left, but his best years are behind him."'

Marker Bills pick up Priestley [5:29 AM]
Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports: '"Early last season he was struggling, but so was their entire offense," Donahoe, a former Steelers director of operations, said yesterday. "They went back to running more conventional things that they had done in the past. I thought he really stepped up and made a lot of plays. He's smart. We like his arm, and we like his ability to run an offense."'

Marker Former U of L trio sign as free agents [5:28 AM]
Louisville Courier Journal reports: 'Mattingly, a former All-State linebacker from St. Xavier High School, signed as a long snapper with Buffalo. He said the Bills told him there was a chance they might draft him in the seventh round, but they took linebacker Dominique Stevenson. ''I just wanted to go to a team that wanted me and not have my agent calling around and begging,'' Mattingly said.'

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