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Buffalo Bills News - January 5, 2002

Marker Under cover man [9:07 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '...We have to find ways to move [Eric Moulds] around and get mismatches. Without question, he's too talented not to find ways to get him the ball."'

Marker Van Pelt agrees to five-year deal [5:31 AM]
D and C reports: 'Donahoe and Van Pelt's agent, Eric Metz, have reportedly agreed in principle to a five-year contract extension worth between $5 and 5.5 million. It is believed the deal will include a $1.5 million signing bonus. The final language of the contract is expected to be completed in the next couple weeks, and until then, no one is willing to reveal much.'

Marker Dolphins to track Pats-Panthers game [5:30 AM]
D and C reports: 'Regardless of what happens in the New England game, Wannstedt will not have the luxury of resting his starters because even if the Patriots win, the Dolphins need to win to secure a home wild-card game.'

Marker Here’s the deal with the Bills’ QB 'controversy' [5:29 AM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'It would seem the Bills' hope is that Johnson reworks his contract to soften the salary cap hit, preferably based on incentives, particularly games played.'

Marker Bromell seeks playing time [5:28 AM]
Miami Herald reports: 'Bromell is one of 10 Dolphins entering unrestricted free agency, among them defensive end Kenny Mixon, safety Brian Walker, cornerback Terry Cousin, running back Lamar Smith and punter Matt Turk. They may be joined by quarterback Jay Fiedler if he opts out of his contract.'

Marker Spurrier to replace Wannstedt? Stranger things have happened [5:27 AM]
Miami Herald reports: 'The only reason Wannstedt got the Dolphins job is because his man Johnson did to Shula what Spurrier could do to him now.'

Marker Injured Thomas to play Sunday [5:26 AM]
Miami Herald reports: 'Linebacker Zach Thomas, who has an injured neck and shoulder, practiced Friday and will play in Sunday's regular-season finale against Buffalo at Pro Player Stadium because a home playoff game is at stake.'

Marker Defense not worn, set for Bills [5:25 AM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: '"I know when you play those significant snaps like that, 36 or 38 minutes, it's hard for the defense to hold in there," Buffalo coach Gregg Williams said. "It's tough for your defense to hold up that long. In the AFC East, you see all those defensive-minded coaches being the head coaches. They understand time of possession is critical. That's how you improve as a team: By keeping the [opposing] offenses off the field by your offense being out there longer."'

Marker Bills on the right path [5:22 AM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: 'This is almost exactly where the San Francisco 49ers were two years ago, when they finished 4-12 after hitting the same salary-cap wall that has smacked down the Bills.'

Marker Smith knows why he's sitting out [5:21 AM]
Palm Beach Post reports: '"I just haven't been productive," said Smith, who has rushed for 810 yards on 283 carries. "Teams have been stopping me. Stopping me cold. When Travis gets in there the ball moves, the chains move. He's playing great. He's winning games. I haven't been productive, so we've got to find more ways to utilize Travis."'

Marker Wannstedt: I don't wish I was at UM [5:20 AM]
Palm Beach Post reports: 'Before Larry Coker was named Butch Davis' successor as Hurricanes coach, Athletic Director Paul Dee made a push for Wannstedt to return to the school where he was an assistant from 1986-88.'

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January 4, 2002

Marker Report: Van Pelt agrees to five-year contract extension [9:35 PM]
AP reports: 'While praising Van Pelt's performance, Bills president and general manager Tom Donahoe has said Johnson will be cut unless he re-negotiates a contract that represents an $11.2 million salary cap hit next season. Van Pelt, 31, made the $477,000 veteran minimum this season for a Bills team (3-12) building for the future.'

Marker Bills place Ostroski, Price on injured reserve [4:06 PM]
AP reports: 'The Buffalo Bills placed offensive lineman Jerry Ostroski and defensive tackle Shawn Price on injured reserve Friday, two days before the team's season finale at Miami.'

Marker 2001: Year of the rookies [12:37 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: 'Of those draftees that made the cut, five of those players now are listed as starters on the depth chart at the end of their rookie seasons, as Jonas Jennings, Travis Henry, Aaron Schobel, Brandon Spoon and Nate Clements have all earned starting roles.'

Marker Bills can put crimp on Miami's playoff future [12:36 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: 'Should the Dolphins fall to the Bills, they will have no shot at the division or a bye, as the Jets would be able to claim the title with a win over Oakland, and if they fail to do that, New England would beat out Miami on a divisional tie-breaker. '

Marker Scouting the Dolphins with John Guy [12:36 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: 'Guy thinks the Dolphins may have a tough time in the post-season, primarily because of their absence of a running game this year.'

Marker Van Pelt, Bills talking extension [9:14 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Details concerning how much money he would earn were not immediately known, but it's believed to be structured with more money in the first part of the contract, plus a signing bonus worth well more than $5 million.'

Marker New logo may take on the look of Sabres [9:14 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"It is not uncommon for teams to apply for trademarks that are never utilized," the Bills said in a statement released Thursday. "We continually look at possible additional trademarks, but that does not mean that any of those possibilities become reality."'

Marker For team owners, drafting a Bill was pointless [9:13 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'It's been a horrible year on the field, as evidenced by a 3-12 record entering Sunday's finale in Miami. And it's hard to find an NFL team that has contributed less value to fantasy football.'

Marker Catching up to stardom [5:36 AM]
D and C reports: 'Sunday at Miami, one catch by Riemersma will give the Bills four players with at least 50 catches each for the first time in team history and just the 18th time in NFL history.'

Marker Carolina's cheering section [5:35 AM]
Miami Herald reports: 'If the Panthers snap the streak and Miami wins, the Dolphins capture the AFC East title and a first-round bye.'

Marker Thomas' injury: strained shoulder [5:34 AM]
Miami Herald reports: '"I'll be all right," Thomas said after Thursday's practice. "It just takes a while to get warmed up."'

Marker Thomas down, but not out [5:33 AM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: 'Thomas, the Dolphins' Pro Bowl linebacker, has a Grade 2 strain (on a scale of three) to a muscle in his right shoulder, which is causing him discomfort but won't keep him from playing Sunday against Buffalo.'

Marker Top receivers likely to play Sunday [5:33 AM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: 'The Dolphins' top three receivers, Oronde Gadsden, Chris Chambers and James McKnight, practiced Thursday and are likely to play against Buffalo on Sunday.'

Marker Carolina, and rest, are on Gadsden's mind [5:33 AM]
Palm Beach Post reports: 'Wannstedt wasn't pleased with practice Thursday. "It was average, very average," Wannstedt said. "Too much playoff talk. . . . All anybody is concerned about is the playoffs. We have to get our minds on Buffalo or we'll have a tough time."'

Marker Zach has partially torn muscle [5:33 AM]
Palm Beach Post reports: 'Thomas, who injured his right shoulder in Sunday's victory against Atlanta, said he hopes to play because the Dolphins still are seeking home-field advantage in the playoffs. But he indicated that if this game were of less magnitude, he might sit out.'

Marker Van Pelt deal could make Johnson expendable [5:32 AM]
ESPN reports: 'Van Pelt has become somewhat of a fan favorite in Buffalo...'.

January 3, 2002

Marker Dolphins still have plenty of motivation against Bills [9:51 PM]
AP reports: 'No one has to tell the Dolphins about the advantage of playing at home in the postseason. Their past six playoff losses have been on the road.'

Marker Van Pelt buoyed by Bills desire to re-sign him [9:50 PM]
AP reports: '"Whatever role I'm told to fill, that's the role I'm going to fill," he said. "If they come in and say, 'Rob's the starter. You're the backup,' that's what I'm going to do."'

Marker Bills telling Johnson to renegotiate or leave [9:47 PM]
Fox Sports reports: '"There are two factors that are important," said Donahoe. "First, Rob has to want to be here, and, two, if he is here something has to be done with his contract. That's probably going to be a sticking point. The question is just how much they're willing to be realistic and how much they're willing to work with us to come up with the right number."'

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