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Buffalo Bills News - April 19, 2003

Marker Empire in danger of losing Rochester, Syracuse outlets [9:27 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Andre Reed is the latest former Buffalo Bill to head to the broadcasting booth. The Bills' all-time leading receiver will work two games in May for Fox Sports Net's coverage of NFL Europe.'

Marker Bills filled key void before draft [9:27 AM]
Niagara Gazette reports: 'Just because the coach and linebacker came from Cincinnati, a 2-14 team, it will not prevent them from being impact people who will help put the Bills over .500 and into the AFC playoffs. LeBeau, who begins his 45th year in the NFL, will fill in the mental voids left by head coach Gregg Williams and defensive coordinator Jerry Gray. Spikes, while vying with London Fletcher for vocal leadership, will fill in defensive voids.'

Marker Brandon makes impact [9:26 AM]
Las Vegas Review Journal reports: 'Thomas emerged for the Bills late last season, breaking up five passes in the final two games. He intercepted a Brett Favre pass against Green Bay, and started the finale against the Cincinnati Bengals. He will compete for the third cornerback spot this summer.'

Marker Delamielleures know the wait can be trying [9:25 AM]
Charlotte Observer reports: 'Then the phone rang. A guy identified himself as Ralph and welcomed Delamielleure to the team, adding that someone would be calling shortly. "I thought I had been drafted by the Steelers," he said. "I didn't realize Ralph was Ralph Wilson, owner of the Buffalo Bills."'

Marker Bengals try to gain leverage in negotiations [9:24 AM]
ESPN reports: The conventional wisdom has the Buffalo Bills choosing a defensive lineman, preferably an end, with their first-round draft choice. But the club is also looking hard at the cornerback spot. Always cognizant of what is upcoming for his team, general manager Tom Donahoe knows that current starting corner Antoine Winfield is eligible for unrestricted free agency after the 2003 campaign. And the feeling on the part of some Bills officials is that Winfield, given the spiraling rate of cornerback contracts, could be difficult to retain. Thus the interest in perhaps adding a quality corner in the draft and, quite possibly, even in the first round.

Marker Prospect Profile: DE Michael Haynes [9:23 AM] reports: 'Flashes explosion off the ball and has above average anchor and leverage ability to hold firmly at the point of attack…Shows power in his moves down the line…Has the instincts to react quickly to the play and is very aware of play action and fakes.'

Marker Prospect Profile: DT Rien Long [9:22 AM] reports: 'All-American first-team selection by The NFL Draft Report, ESPN and the Associated Press, adding second-team honors from CNN/SI…All-Pac 10 Conference first-team pick…Recipient of the Outland Trophy, given to the premier interior lineman in college football.'

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April 18, 2003

Marker Prospect Profile: CB Dennis Weathersby [4:51 PM] reports: Has a lean, athletic frame…Gets good depth in his backpedal, showing a burst coming out of his breaks…Has the body control needed to plant and drive and flip his hips in transition…Has very good closing quickness and the deep acceleration to run with receivers off the line of scrimmage.

Marker Win a Mike Williams Autographed Football [11:50 AM] reports: Win an Authentic NFL Game Ball autographed by Mike Williams. Selected by the Bills with the fourth overall pick in the 2002 Draft, Williams was Buffalo's highest draft pick since taking Bruce Smith #1 overall in 1985.

Marker Prospect Profile: WR Taylor Jacobs [10:15 AM] reports: Good route runner with above average speed and quickness…Shows no wasted motion in his release and uses his hands effectively to beat press coverage…Runs precise routes and shows a sudden burst through his routes.

Marker Rookie Review: Coy Wire [10:09 AM] reports: Safety Coy Wire talked about last year's draft, his rookie season with the Bills, and his first NFL offseason in a exclusive interview with Selected in the third round (97th overall) out of Stanford, Wire started in 15 of 16 games for the Bills while increasing run support from the strong safety position.

Marker Bills could have 'big' plans in first round [9:10 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"Anytime you look at your football team, you're always trying to add quality big people," Donahoe said during the Bills' predraft luncheon. "It's a game of big people. If we can add some big people on either side of the ball, we want to try to do that.'

Marker Bills excited about draft [5:56 AM]
D and C reports: 'It means that for the first time under Donahoe, the Bills can honestly use the first round to select the best player available regardless of need, and to address depth concerns later on.'

April 17, 2003

Marker Bills RB Henry approves one-year extension [8:16 PM]
AP reports: 'The deal, which includes a signing bonus, was confirmed Thursday by Henry's agent, Greg Johnson. The restructured contract also includes several incentives, and will pay Henry a base salary of $1.25 million in the final year.'

Marker Bills FB Morris accepts one-year deal [8:15 PM]
AP reports: 'Fullback and special teams captain Sammy Morris accepted the Buffalo Bills' one-year contract offer on Thursday. Morris will make $605,000 in his fourth season with the Bills and is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next year.'

Marker Bills management talks draft [4:12 PM]
Shout! reports: 'The position where they fielded the most questions was the defensive line. Buffalo's first draft pick, 23rd overall, could be a D-lineman.'

Marker Live Press Conference - 12 Noon (ET) [11:35 AM] reports: Listen to President/General Manager Tom Donahoe and Assistant General Manager Tom Modrak talk about the 2003 NFL Draft. Live at 12 Noon (ET)

Marker Rookie Review: Justin Bannan [10:12 AM] reports: Justin Bannan - "I'm about as excited as it gets to see all the players that we have. Just today as we were working out you can see the chemistry building. It seems we're a lot further along than we were last year. At least that's the way it feels defensively. It's exciting. I think we are going to have one heck of a ball club next year, I can't wait to be a part of it. We can win! That's what we're here to do."

Marker Bills extend Henry pact through 2005 [9:01 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Johnson declined to give all the financial details, but it is believed Henry's new contract includes a signing bonus. It is believed he will make over $1 million in base salary in each of the next two seasons and more than $2 million in 2005. Henry also could earn between $700,000 and $1 million in incentives during the second year of the deal, which also includes a signing bonus.'

Marker Services for Chargers GM Butler [5:31 AM]
AP reports: 'Former Bills coach Marv Levy attended the services along with former Buffalo quarterback Jim Kelly, Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer and quarterback Drew Brees.'

April 16, 2003

Marker Rogers' troubles did not deter Dolphins [10:00 PM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: Rogers, who played last season for Buffalo, was unavailable for comment Tuesday through the Dolphins' media relations department Agent Everette Scott didn't return a call seeking comment. Coming on the heels of off-field problems with RBs Lawrence Phillips and Cecil Collins under ex-coach Jimmy Johnson, Dolphins President Eddie Jones and coach Dave Wannstedt said in April 2000 that the team would shy from drafting players with character issues. But Sr VP Rick Spielman said the team felt comfortable signing Rogers after researching his legal situation and believes he will eventually be exonerated.

Marker Henry says Bills showing faith in him [9:21 PM]
Shout! reports: 'Travis Henry signed a one-year contract extension that would keep him in Buffalo through 2005. Henry will make $1.3 million in salary during that final year.'

Marker How The Bills Were Built [3:20 PM] reports: The Bills roster consists of 21 of the team's original draft picks, 46 players signed as a free agent, three players acquired via trade, and two players claimed off of waivers. In addition, 14 of 22 (64%) starters last season were drafted by the Bills: 8 on offense, 6 on defense.

Marker Josh Liddell a special WR [2:48 PM]
Panther Insider reports: Liddell, who grew up near Rich Stadium, has always been a big fan of the Buffalo Bills and was a huge fan of Kelly, Reed and Lofton. While growing up, Liddell would go to the Bills training camp. "As a little kid I remember going to training camp and I always remember the guys that stayed and signed autographs for the kids. I want to be able to do that and take the time for kids, because that is special for them. I want to make sure that I can give something back," said Liddell.

Marker A dear Marvin letter [2:46 PM]
CNN/SI reports: I think the NFL will miss John Butler, the 56-year-old Chargers GM who died of cancer on Friday. I really liked Butler, even though we had a major falling-out late in his tenure in Buffalo. This is why I liked him so much: He was a big man in so many ways. We hadn't spoken for three years until the Friday before this year's Super Bowl in San Diego. I was at the Chargers facility, in their front offices, doing the media pool report while covering the Raiders, and I ran into Butler. He was angry with me because I had agreed to be a regular guest on the radio show of a former Bills coach, Chuck Dickerson, who often was brutally frank and critical of the Bills.

Marker Chiefs could be the best of Gary's options [2:45 PM]
Kansas City Star reports: Gary would be a backup with the Chiefs or at either of his other free-agent stops, Buffalo and Detroit. But neither the Lions nor the Bills have halfback issues like the Chiefs.

Marker Trading No. 1 picks always risky [2:45 PM]
ESPN reports: That's not to say, however, that all trades that fit into this category are busts. The deal that secured quarterback Drew Bledsoe a year ago legitimized the Buffalo Bills, made them immediately competitive, and dramatically moved forward for GM Tom Donahoe a refurbishing of the franchise. There is no player in this year's draft, none at the No. 14 spot he forfeited to New England, likely to have meant more to the Bills than Bledsoe means to the health of the team.

Marker Player Profile: Tight End Ryan Neufeld [12:41 PM] reports: Signed with the Bills on 1/22/03 as an unrestricted free agent…released by the Seahawks on 8/27/02 before the start of the 2002 season…originally signed by Seattle on 1/23/02 and attended Seattle's 2002 training camp.

Marker The Week In Bills History (April 13-19) [11:53 AM] reports: April 17, 1999 - CB ANTOINE WINFIELD IS BILLS' 1999 NO. 1 PICK CB Antoine Winfield from Ohio State was the Bills' No. 1 pick (23rd overall) in the 1999 NFL Draft.

Marker Bills Alumni Spotlight: Lucius Sanford [10:49 AM] reports: Lucius Sanford, an outside linebacker with Buffalo for nine seasons, had a tendency to hit running backs head-on, lift them off their feet and plant their backs on the field. Offensive linemen have ‘pancake blocks.’ Sanford had ‘pancake tackles.’

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