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Buffalo Bills News - March 8, 2004

Marker Brown's contributions went beyond football [5:15 AM]
Business First of Buffalo reports: 'Brown, the Bills' No. 1 pick in 1995 whose career here ended in a strange twist that saw him sit out the 2003 season finale, was a favorite target of critics. They never understood how it was he kept getting elected to the Pro Bowl. See a penalty flag in the vicinity of the offensive line? The guess was No. 79 was cited for some infraction.'

Marker Bills wooed Villarrial, and that's bad news for Bears [5:14 AM]
Chicago Tribune reports: 'Villarrial received the red-carpet treatment from the Bills when free agency opened at midnight Wednesday. New coach Mike Mularkey called Villarrial at 12:10 a.m., and Villarrial was at Bills headquarters by noon. He was signed by nightfall.'

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March 7, 2004

Marker Redskins will pay the price for Daniel Snyder's spending spree [9:00 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills have a $2 million option payment that's due Teague sometime in the next month. It wasn't due the first day of the league year, like a lot of other bonuses. The option payment would lock Teague up through 2005. If they don't pay the option bonus, then they would have to pay Teague an extra $1 million in base salary this year (bringing his base to $2.5 million) plus a $1 million reporting bonus. That's not going to happen. So the choices are pay him the $2 million option payment or find another center and release Teague. Stay tuned for the Bober visit.'

Marker Morris scheduled to visit Pats today [5:41 AM]
Metro West Daily News reports: 'Morris, who turns 27 later this month, was scheduled to arrive in Foxboro today after a visit with the Browns in Cleveland. He also has trips scheduled for Miami, Denver and Oakland this week, according to Slough.'

March 6, 2004

Marker Winfield off to snowy Minnesota [8:52 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Winfield built a reputation in Buffalo as a solid cover corner and one of the best tackling defensive backs in the NFL. He is not known for big plays. He has just one interception in his last 37 games. The Vikings, however, are in dire need of cornerback help and had $33 million to spend under the salary cap.'

Marker Bills’ Donahoe looks to upgrade roster [5:15 AM]
Olean Times Herald reports: '“We like the group,” Donahoe said of his defensive ends including right side starter Aaron Schobel and McKenzie. “We’ve got to improve ... got to get better. (But) we finished ninth in sacks last season, which seems to get lost. Am I saying we wouldn’t look at a pass rusher, ‘No.’ But I think we feel better about that group than some of the (media) people in this room.”'

Marker Vikings sign cornerback Winfield to six-year deal [5:14 AM]
Minneapolis Star Tribune reports: '"I saw the snow and was like, 'This is home,' " Winfield said. "I live in Buffalo."'

Marker Vikings get their man [5:13 AM]
St. Paul Pioneer Press reports: 'Winfield is considered one of the NFL's top 10 cornerbacks. He has just six career interceptions but is known for not giving up big plays. "He's a unique player," said Cottrell, the Bills' defensive coordinator when Winfield was the No. 23 overall draft pick out of Ohio State in 1999. "I coached him for two years and loved it. He's one of the best defensive players in the league."'

Marker No quit in Tice, who shows how it's done [5:12 AM]
St. Paul Pioneer Press reports: 'Tice never stopped trying to call Winfield's agent Thursday. When he got through, he persuaded Winfield to take a late flight to Minnesota. Tice sent a friend's private jet to Long Island to fetch Winfield, his wife and his two agents out from under the Jets. "I didn't feel good until he was in a limo and on the way to the airport," Tice said.'

Marker Questions surround Couch's situation [5:11 AM]
Akron Beacon Journal reports: 'The Browns entertained three free agents in addition to Garcia on Friday: Guard Ron Stone of San Francisco, running back/special teamer Sammy Morris of Buffalo and fullback Jameel Cook of Tampa Bay. If any sign, Stone seems most likely.'

March 5, 2004

Marker Antoine Winfield signs with Minnesota [9:47 PM]
AP reports: 'When asked what made him decide on the Vikings, Winfield said, ``Once we got off the plane, I seen the snow and I was like, 'This is home.''''

Marker Vikings agree to terms with free agent CB Winfield [9:46 PM]
Sportsticker reports: 'A 1999 first-round pick, Winfield spent his first five seasons with the Buffalo Bills. Despite being just 5-9, he is an aggressive cover corner.'

Marker Vikings Sign Winfield [9:45 PM] reports: 'VU has been told the contract total is $34.8 million over six years with a $10.8 million signing bonus. Under the terms of the deal, Winfield is guaranteed $12.5 million in the first year of the contract with signing bonus and base salary combined.'

Marker Winfield ends up with Vikings [9:44 PM]
The Sports Network reports: 'Winfield, who spent the first five seasons of his career with the Buffalo Bills, reportedly came to terms with New York on Thursday after meeting with team all day. While the Jets said no deal was ever reached, published reports indicated Winfield backed off due to personal reasons.'

Marker Minnesota Signs Target Free Agent [9:43 PM] reports: '“We’re excited to add our target free agent,” said Vikings Head Coach Mike Tice. “We’ve quietly taken care of our top two priorities with Antoine and Jimmy Kleinsasser. Everyone in the organization worked extremely hard to get these deals done and I’m proud of everyone for the job they did.”'

Marker Winfield backs away from Jets deal [9:43 PM]
ESPN reports: 'Winfield lacks prototype cornerback stature but, at 5-feet-9 and 180 pounds, plays bigger than his size and is known for his aggressive approach to the game. His one shortcoming is a lack of big plays, as evidenced by his interception total, but that didn't seem to scare off any of his suitors.'

Marker Pro Days A Necessary Evil [4:17 PM] reports: 'They're called Pro Days, the chance for top college prospects to give NFL teams one final look at what they have to offer at the professional level. But the workout, which usually takes place on the player's college campus, carries more importance for those athletes who bypassed the opportunity to work out at the Indianapolis combine.'

Marker Change in plans [3:47 PM]
CNN/SI reports: Winfield, formerly with the Buffalo Bills, will receive a six-year deal from Minnesota that is worth just shy of $35 million. The deal includes a $10.5 million signing bonus.

Marker Cornerback Winfield backs out of Jets' deal [10:19 AM]
Staten Island Advance reports: 'Winfield's agent, Richard Katz, was believed to be in favor of Winfield signing the deal. But the player wanted to make other visits, in part because the Minnesota Vikings convinced Winfield he was the top cornerback in free agency and needed to explore the market rather than sign with the first team he visited.'

Marker Bruener in running to join Bills [8:54 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Bruener was known as the National Football League's best blocking tight end for much of his career. After enduring injury-plagued seasons in 2001 and 2002, he found himself as the Steelers' No. 3 tight end last year. He saw little action behind Jay Riemersma and Jerame Tuman. Bruener missed four games with a knee injury in 2002 and seven with a shoulder injury in 2001.'

Marker Bills' Williams among award recipients [8:53 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Pat Williams will be among those honored Thursday as Kevin Guest House holds its annual Heart Awards luncheon from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Transit Valley Country Club, Amherst. Williams will receive the Kevin Garvey Award for Courage.'

Marker Making video for Bills [8:52 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Buffalo Bills retained Scene and Herd Productions, a Buffalo-based film and video production company, to produce a 45-second game day video to be shown immediately prior to kick-off at Ralph Wilson stadium.'

Marker Bills know what Bruener has to offer [5:16 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Bruener owes his reputation as one of the NFL’s top blocking tight ends and most consistent performers in large measure to what he learned under Mularkey, himself a former NFL tight end. “Mike is somebody who has a burning desire to win and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to win,” said Bruener, who was released last week.'

Marker Winfield backs off signing with Jets [5:15 AM]
New York Post reports: 'Because neither Winfield nor his agent returned phone calls, it's unclear what those reported personal problems are, but this sure smacks of the agent using the Jets for leverage to up his client's price before prancing off to other, richer, suitors.'

Marker Winfield Jets away [5:14 AM]
New York Daily News reports: 'Face it: The Jets got jilted by the top player on their wish list, the last thing they needed after their embarrassing offseason in 2003.'

Marker Winfield backs off [5:13 AM]
New York Newsday reports: 'But in a bizarre twist, it appeared that other teams who'd been scheduled to meet with Winfield intervened while the Jets were trying to close the deal.'

Marker CB Winfield backs out of Jets' deal [5:12 AM]
Newark Star Ledger reports: 'Winfield's agent, Richard Katz, was believed to be in favor of Winfield signing the deal. But the player wanted to make other visits, in part because the Minnesota Vikings convinced Winfield he was the top cornerback in free agency and needed to explore the market rather than sign with the first team he visited.'

Marker Winfield, near a deal with Jets, still might visit [5:11 AM]
Minneapolis Star Tribune reports: 'The Vikings rank cornerback as their top need and have more room under the salary cap than any other NFL team, about $30 million. Vikings defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell was Winfield's defensive coordinator for two of his five seasons in Buffalo.'

Marker Late-night turnabout [5:10 AM]
St. Paul Pioneer Press reports: 'Cornerback Antoine Winfield had pen in hand, ready to sign a $30 million contract with the New York Jets, when the Vikings managed to whisk him away from the Big Apple on a private airplane late Thursday night.'

Marker Winfield backs away from Jets deal [5:09 AM]
ESPN reports: Late in the evening, as the two sides were finalizing the deal, Winfield backed away for what sources described as personal reasons. And the Jets, who had been expected to introduce the newest addition to a rebuilding defense at a Friday news conference could now see Winfield make some visits to other clubs that have been pursuing him.

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09/10 New York Jets 1:00 pm
09/17 @ Carolina Panthers 1:00 pm
09/24 Denver Broncos 1:00 pm
10/01 @ Atlanta Falcons 1:00 pm
10/08 @ Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 pm
10/22 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1:00 pm
10/29 Oakland Raiders 1:00 pm
11/2 @ New York Jets 8:25 pm
11/12 New Orlean Saints 1:00 pm
11/19 @ San Diego Chargers 4:05 pm
11/26 @ Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 pm
12/3 New England Patriots 1:00 pm
12/10 Indianapolis Colts 1:00 pm
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