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Buffalo Bills News - February 26, 2004

Marker Should the Bills sign Bruce Smith so he can retire as a Buffalo Bill? [5:38 PM]
WHEC-TV reports: 'Off the field Bruce was far from perfect. He did his share of whining at contract time and certainly angered his share of sportswriters. But nobody meant more to the Bills defense in their hey-day. And now Bruce deserves one more day in a Bills uniform.'

Marker Bills Have Free Agency Plan in Place [5:37 PM] reports: '"Free agency is a continuous process," Guy said. "We usually get started in April for the upcoming year. We call it projective free agency because we project the players who we think will be free agents. Sometimes contracts or incentives will take players out of free agency and other times those things will make players free agents."'

Marker - NFL - Wednesday roundup: Brady has minor surgery [9:26 AM]
ESPN reports: Expecting to upgrade at the position, the Houston Texans have released free safety Matt Stevens, a move that will save the team about $2.5 million in cap space. This marks the second time in two years that the Texans released Stevens but, unlike in 2003, the much-traveled eight-year veteran will not be returning to the team. Stevens, 30, is now a free agent and can negotiate with other teams. In stints with Buffalo (1996), Philadelphia (1997-98), Washington (1998-2000), New England (2000-2001) and Houston, he started in 42 of 104 appearances. Stevens has 276 tackles, 13 interceptions and 31 passes defensed for his career.

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February 24, 2004

Marker Williams: A memorable combine [11:24 PM] reports: And I liked what the Bills had me do. They asked me to rate three aspects of NFL life in order: the Super Bowl, financial security, and the Pro Bowl. I put them in that exact order, with the Super Bowl being the most important. Financial security is nice, of course, but to be a champion would mean a lot to me. The Pro Bowl is nice too, but you have to fly over a lot of water to get there, and as you'll read, I'm not a big fan of flying these days.

Marker Buffalo Bills 2004 Free Agency Preview [3:42 PM]
The Sports Network reports: 'Bledsoe's successor isn't on the roster. He's only 32 but has started since entering the league and has taken a tremendous beating over the last five seasons. The Bills need to start looking for a replacement but the pickings are slim in free agency. Billy Volek of Tennessee will likely have several suitors. On the offensive line, McNally has made a career of thriving with low-round picks that will play the style he teaches. Like almost every team the Bills could use help rushing the passer.'

Marker Wyche finds voice in role with Bills [3:15 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: '“I’m the luckiest guy going,” Wyche said. “How many times can you call up and say, ‘I’m looking for the job. Oh, by the way, I have a heart disease ... and I can’t talk very well, do you have a job for me?”'

Marker Bills Alumni Spotlight: Kurt Schulz [9:02 AM] reports: 'Schulz and his wife, Susan, have returned to Western New York and make their home in Clarence with their two sons; Patrick, 7, and Daniel, 5. Since last October, he has worked in Buffalo for Merrill Lynch as a financial advisor. "I love it, absolutely love it," says Schulz. "One of the reasons that I wanted to get into this business is because I saw so many football players not succeed in managing their money. I guess I was maybe one of the ones that did because my background’s in accounting and I love this line of work. I love following financial markets and learning about it. Part of what I want to accomplish is to help out athletes and steer them in the right direction."'

Marker Bills still showing interest in Henson [5:16 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Bills general manager Tom Donahoe said he spoke at least twice with Houston officials about Henson at the NFL’s Indianapolis Scouting Combine, which concludes today. Donahoe said he’d like to either bring Henson to Buffalo for more evaluation or go to him with the Texans’ permission.'

Marker Note to Bills: Trade 13th pick for Ramsey [5:15 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Suggestion to Bills general manager Tom Donahoe: Trade the No. 13 overall pick for a package of later picks, including one late in the first round. Send that pick to the Redskins for Ramsey, immediately name him starting QB and release Bledsoe (if he can’t be traded for at least a middle-round pick, and I wouldn’t count on that).'

Marker Many teams would be interested in Ramsey [5:14 AM]
ESPN reports: The Buffalo Bills, seeking an eventual successor to Drew Bledsoe, would love to have Ramsey on board.

Marker Inside slant [5:13 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'A quarterback to eventually replace Drew Bledsoe? A speed receiver or game-breaking tight end to give an offense that didn't score a touchdown in seven games some firepower? A top-shelf center or guard to fortify the middle of a line that gave up an NFL-worst 51 sacks? A pass-rushing defensive end? A cornerback if free agent Antoine Winfield moves on? Fill any one of those needs and Buffalo's a better team.'

Marker Strategy and personnel [5:12 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: '"He hasn't played in three years and it's going to take him some time to get back in the swing," Donahoe said. "But he's big and he's a good athlete and his arm was good enough. But it was a workout."'

Marker Notes, quotes, anecdotes [5:11 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'It appears the Bills weren't provided any third-party warranty by SRI. AstroPlay, comprised of synthetic blades of grass and crushed tires, has a lifespan of about eight years in extreme weather conditions like Buffalo's and the surface needs a once-a-year grooming by a ride-on broom machine. The Bills selected AstroPlay over several similar systems, including industry leader FieldTurf. "We felt this was the best surface for us and we're not second guessing our decision," Donahoe said. "It might just cause some problems maintenance wise, but we'll solve those. Our (maintenance) people can handle probably most of the jobs, but if something major were to happen, we'd probably have to go outside."'

Marker March 3rd Looms for Bills [5:10 AM] reports: 'Swinging a deal for Henson, who hasn't played football in three years, will be tricky. As a draft pick last year by the Houston Texans, he'd have to be convinced to sign for sixth round money with some fancy contract inflating footwork, or face being returned to the draft.'

February 23, 2004

Marker Bills may take a run at Henson [8:52 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Donahoe made it clear that a trade is not imminent, but a deal is a definite possibility.'

February 22, 2004

Marker Henson getting mixed reviews from NFL decision-makers [8:59 PM]
AP reports: 'Buffalo wants to develop a young quarterback behind Drew Bledsoe and general manager Tom Donahoe thinks Drew Henson could be the right one. But he still isn't sure. Neither is anyone else.'

Marker Bills have wiggle room under snug-fitting cap [9:05 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"We feel pretty good about where we stand in terms of the cap," Bills President and General Manager Tom Donahoe said. "We did so much digging out the past several years, and it's nice to be in position going into the offseason to have some flexibility in terms of the decisions we can make on our roster."'

Marker Cutting Brown cheaper than keeping him [9:04 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Brown is due to receive a $1.8 million bonus if he's on the roster the first day of the new NFL fiscal year, which is March 3. That would bring his total salary cap cost to the Bills to $5.8 million. That also includes a base salary of $2.7 million and past bonuses he received that are amortized over the life of his contract and count $1.33 million in 2004.'

Marker Bills' interest in Henson depends on Texans' price tag [9:03 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'If Henson's rights can be obtained from the Houston Texans for a second-round choice, either this year or in 2005, then it may be worth the risk.'

Marker Bills should develop a young quarterback [9:02 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'That's why the Bills can't afford to trade for Henson, whose college career consisted of eight starts for the University of Michigan. It's too risky. What they need to do is draft a quarterback in the second or third round and spend two years developing him for the post-Bledsoe seasons. It would be nice if he could also step in and hold the fort for four or five games in case of injury.'

Marker Tough guy for a tough job [5:15 AM]
Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports: 'Mularkey, who became head coach of the Buffalo Bills last month, wanted to hire Whisenhunt as his offensive coordinator in Buffalo this year. But Bills president Tom Donahoe pressed him to hire Tom Clements instead...'.

February 21, 2004

Marker Rivers' stock is rising [8:52 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"It would be great," Rivers said at the NFL Scouting Combine. "Jim Ritcher was a great center up there, his son was my teammate at N.C. State, so I've heard some good things about the place. There's really not a team that I don't want to go to. But certainly Buffalo would be a great place, and you've got a great franchise and a great bunch of guys surrounding you."'

Marker Murphy Calls [5:15 AM] reports: 'I think the biggest difference is going to be that I'll need to make instant identification of names and numbers which I really haven't had to do as a color commentator. You get a chance to look at the play and think about what you see for a second. This will be a little bit more instant identification of names of numbers.'

Marker Mularkey could be good for Bledsoe [5:14 AM]
USA Today reports: 'Still, even after that success, Henry's role figures to change. Last year's first-round pick, Willis McGahee, is expected to be recovered from a major knee injury and will press for time. In a perfect world, the Bills would be confident enough in McGahee's health and ability to trade Henry for draft picks. Because the Bills will have a tough time judging McGahee by April, it is more likely that Henry will be the feature back and McGahee will siphon off some carries, then one would be dealt in 2005.'

February 20, 2004

Marker Bills' brass has its eyes on the prizes [11:41 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Wide receiver, quarterback, cornerback, interior offensive line, defensive end and tight end will be the positions of interest for Donahoe, assistant GM Tom Modrak, head coach Mike Mularkey and the rest of the Bills' assistant coaches and scouting department when they evaluate the 337 college players at the annual NFL Scouting Combine in the RCA Dome.'

Marker Winfield tests market; Clarett won't work out [11:40 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"We still would like to sign him, and we have made that clear," Donahoe said. "But one thing we did remind them is that when free agency starts for Antoine, it starts for the Buffalo Bills. We have to make sure that we prepare ourselves and help our team and that's what we're going to try to do."'

Marker Ex-Bengal Wyche back in game [11:39 AM]
Cincinnati Post reports: "This was a flat-out pity hire," said Wyche, who never lost the will to crack a joke. "I was with Mike Mularkey at a golf tournament in Memphis and I wouldn't let go of his leg. He was dragging me around and I was begging him. It worked out.

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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