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Buffalo Bills News - July 21, 2000

Marker Johnson, Flutie still uncomfortable about switch [6:14 PM]
ESPNet reports: 'The tough part for both Flutie and Johnson is that the subject remains so uncomfortable. They don't have answers for the reason why Phillips made the switch at that time, and while they can peacefully coexist now that Johnson is the starter, both quarterbacks won't feel comfortable again until the season ends and the results are in.'

Marker Buffalo Bills Survivor: Jim Kelly vs. Steve Tasker [9:19 AM]
TBD reports: 'It is down to the final two players. Jim Kelly vs. Steve Tasker. Who should survive? Who is most deserving of the title: Mr. Buffalo Bill. Here are the opinions of two fans. You decide who is right.'

Marker New facilities impress Wilson [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Buffalo Bills haven't practiced at their new training camp at St. John Fisher College yet, but owner Ralph C. Wilson Jr. already has proclaimed the move a success. The campus will make its official debut as the Bills' summer home today. "We're excited about being here," Wilson said during a news conference. "Everything looks fantastic."'

Marker Flowers still not at camp [8:56 AM]
Buffalo News reports: "Meanwhile, talks between the Bills and Flowers are continuing. Neither Butler nor Flowers' agent, Eric Metz, could be reached for comment. Both had expressed confidence last week that an agreement would be made soon. Bills coach Wade Phillips said Flowers can't afford a long layoff. "At some point it will hurt young players not to be here, but it's not to that point right now," Phillips said. "It's hard for both sides to get exactly what they want. But I'm not into the business side of it. I'm into the football part. Whoever's out there, I'm going to coach them."'

Marker The read on Reed: experience counts [8:50 AM]
Denver Rocky Mountain News reports: 'Reed said he contemplated retirement but a chance to get that elusive Super Bowl ring was too hard to pass up. "I wanted to finish out on my own terms and come to a team that has a good rep, a good coach and good players and fit into a situation. It worked out for me. I'm happy to be here," he said.'

Marker Rochester camp key to Bills marketing expansion [7:55 AM]
AP reports: '"We have a large stadium in Buffalo. And in the present environment of the National Football League, (Buffalo) is going to have a very difficult time supporting this franchise," Wilson said. "So we have to reach out to Rochester and Syracuse and across Western New York to establish ourselves as a Western New York franchise.'

Marker Training camp ushers in new Bills era [7:53 AM]
AP reports: 'New location. Revamped team. Combined, they made Wade Phillips feel like a rookie head coach again Thursday as the Buffalo Bills prepared to open training camp. "I'm excited about being here as I am every year, but I think even more so this year -- it's something new," said Phillips. "It seems like the first year I was here. The excitement is there because it's something new. "I think that helps. I think that'll help our football team respond the right way."'

Marker New faces make fans look twice [7:26 AM]
Denver Post reports: 'Reed went to the Super Bowl four times with the Bills but never came home a winner. He believes Shanahan may help him get that elusive championship ring. "I just heard tremendous things about him from people around the league," Reed said. "It's no secret that he's a proven winner and what kind of show he runs here. He just wants guys to win, and that's why I'm here. I told Mike that I just want to taste (winning a Super Bowl) one time. I think I had the best chance of doing that by coming here."'

Marker Former Argo Giancola taking kicks with Bills [6:53 AM]
Toronto Star reports: 'Giancola will be trying to land the placekicking job currently held by veteran Steve Christie, but a more realistic outcome would have him handling strictly the kickoff duties...Bills coach Wade Phillips was impressed with Giancola's performance during the team's first mini-camp in the spring, but said the rookie faces a formidable task in unseating Christie. "Steve's an awfully good kicker and has been for a long time,'' said Phillips, measuring his words carefully. ``I don't know that Giancola can do that, but maybe he can do some things that we need. If he can help us with kickoffs, then he has a chance to make the team. But if he's not a whole lot better than Steve as far as kickoffs are concerned, then I'd think he'd have a tough time making the team. But if he can, then he has a chance."'

Marker Flutie won't get his back up [6:45 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: '"I have no choice but to deal with it and I will, I'll be ready," Flutie said. "Chances are I'm going to get a chance to step on the field at some point. In what capacity whether it's filling in, mopping up or taking over for a segment of the season who knows? "But it is my job to be ready when that opportunity comes."'

Marker Magic makes its way to Fisher [6:34 AM]
D and C reports: 'At 9:30 a.m. Friday, the Bills will start their three-week training camp. As they settled in, the players gave the set-up at Fisher good reviews. "The facilities look beautiful," Flutie said. "I'm sure the crowds will be bigger down here in Rochester." Defensive end Marcellus Wiley was equally impressed. "When I drove up, it looked like a carnival over here," Wiley said. ". . . You can see it's set up to be something big." The camp was put together by Fisher, the Bills and Wegman's Food Markets Inc., the main sponsor. "This was my first look at the camp," said Wegmans CEO Robert Wegman. "I think Rochester is in for a treat."'

Marker It's still fun for Flutie [6:29 AM]
D and C reports: 'At 37, Flutie doesn't think he's had his last hurrah. Given Johnson's history of injuries, it's quite likely he will be called upon at some point again, just as in '98 when he guided the Bills to a 7-3 record and a playoff berth after Johnson injured his ribs.'

Marker Flutie's fans flock to Fisher [6:28 AM]
D and C reports: 'Flutie's one-day camp had been put together by Wegman's Food Markets Inc., the training camp's main sponsor. Jo Natale, a Wegman's spokesman, said 5,000 young people ages 9-14 had entered the drawing for spots at the camp. Talks on nutrition and other issues were mixed in with the activities. The campers were also given lunch featuring the Flutie's Favorite Sub marketed by Wegmans.'

Marker Bills sign Tillman to 4-year deal [6:26 AM]
D and C reports: 'Tillman agreed to a four-year, $2.1 million contract, and his agent, Ben Dogra of St. Louis, said his client is looking forward to starting his NFL career. "He is very excited," said Dogra. "It was his goal to be in camp on time and he will. He recognizes this is a great opportunity for him and he wants to seize it." Tillman is a free safety, and that is a position that will be up for grabs in camp because of the free agent departure of six-year starter Kurt Schulz. Tillman will compete with Daryl Porter and Keion Carpenter, backups last season.'

Marker It's Day 1 for Bills to overhaul the lineup [6:25 AM]
D and C reports: '"There may have been some questions by a lot of people, a lot of guys on the team even, about the moves that were made in the offseason," veteran strong safety Henry Jones said. "It was a time to clear the air for us and to say, 'OK, every year there's change, the only difference this year is that some veterans who were here a very long time are gone.' But that just means some guys are going to have to step up and play."'

Marker Bills can contend, says ESPN's Clayton [6:24 AM]
D and C reports: 'Though he has not seen the Bills do any type of work since their wild-card playoff loss to Tennessee in January, Clayton -- as he does every team in the league -- has a good feel for what to expect from the Bills this season. "They've been drafting well year after year, that's the one thing this franchise has done, they've brought in good athletes and because of that, they have a chance," he said. "And this division is the most changed in the league. Every team has taken a step back except Indianapolis. "I think Indy has the best team and there's going to be a battle for the No. 2 spot between Buffalo and Miami and right now I think Buffalo has the advantage."'

Marker No resting now [6:22 AM]
D and C reports: 'Buffalo Bills coach Wade Phillips said only two players will not participate in the opening workout. Defensive end Marcellus Wiley is recovering from lower back surgery, and free agent cornerback Courtney Jackson will be placed on the injured reserve list and will miss the entire season after blowing out his knee during the last mini-camp in June. Also, Erik Flowers' situation remained up in the air as of last night. As for the rest of the players, Phillips expects everyone to be in tip top shape and ready to work.'

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July 20, 2000

Marker Buffalo Bills Survivor: Round 14 is complete! [10:58 PM]
TBD reports: The 14th castaway has been voted off Buffalo Bills Island. This former OG was recently elected into the NFL Hall of Fame. His combination of grit, skill, and determination finally won him his place in Canton. Only two players are left! Vote in the final round!

Marker Wade Phillips press conference (audio) [10:54 PM]
Shout! reports: 'Recorded in active audio, Wade Phillips says the Bills will likely be without Erik Flowers and Travares Tillman for at least the first meeting of training camp this evening. This was his first press conference of training camp at St. John Fisher College in Pittsford, N.Y.'

Marker Tillman and Bills Agree to Contract [10:53 PM]
Shout! reports: 'Bills second-round draft pick Travares Tillman agreed to terms Thursday, leaving only first-rounder Erik Flowers unsigned. Tillman was expected to arrive in Pittsford, N.Y., in time for the team's first training-camp meeting, at 7 p.m.'

Marker Bills banking on Peerless living up to his name [10:50 PM]
CBS Sportsline reports: "He's so smooth that sometimes it seems he's not moving so fast," said Johnson, whose superior arm strength should boost the a 6.10 yards per pass play rating that ranked in the middle of the NFL statistics last season. "Peerless sort of glides by people and then, when the ball is in the air, he kicks it into another gear and really goes after that thing."

Marker Bills sign second-round pick on eve of training camp [9:24 PM]
AP reports: 'Sensing he had more to lose by missing training camp, safety Travares Tillman, a second-round draft pick, agreed to a four-year deal worth more than $2.1 million with the Buffalo Bills on Thursday..."It's a good deal for everyone. We're glad to get it rectified because it wasn't worth it for him to hold out,'' Dogra said. "We were very close, the difference was so minute, it made sense to get the deal done. ... You've got to seize the opportunity."'

Marker Bills' Washington is ready to carry his weight again [4:57 PM]
SportsWritersDirect reports: "I lost a nice amount of weight, but I'm not telling how much," he said. "I took it upon myself to get a new diet, without starving myself, and a lot of treadmill, bike, Stairmaster. I took a six-week program, and I'd say I'm 90 percent better and stronger coming into this year than last year. I have a better look, attitude, feel, more strength, everything."

Marker Reed, Buckley agree to contract terms with Broncos [4:14 PM]
AP reports: '"It was just a matter of time,'' Reed said of his contract negotiations. "I wanted to finish on my own terms and go where I thought I could fit in. I think that's here."'

Marker Bills set to start at new summer home [4:12 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'The switch came down to numbers. Chautauqua County, where Fredonia sits on the northern edge, lists a population of just under 140,000. Rochester's Monroe County has over 700,000. While the Bills rarely drew 1,000 fans in a day at Fredonia State, they're hoping for five times that many at St. John Fisher. "The move to Rochester has been a major success for us", said team owner Ralph Wilson Jr. "It gives us a presence in an area we're trying to promote as a regional franchise. "Fredonia was great to us, but it's not centrally located ... people wouldn't drive there. I was surprised how few fans came to camp last year". And, oh yeah, the Bills sell 20 percent of their tickets in Monroe County, 14 percent in Rochester alone.'

Marker Sign of the times: Autographs tougher to get at Bills' new camp [8:56 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills are addressing the demand for autographs this camp by creating the McDonald's Kids Autograph Tent. Children under the age of 14 will have a chance to get autographs following each practice session. Three players per session will be available for 15 minutes, and each child will be able to have one item signed. Because of high demand, the lines will be cut off at a certain point. The Bills want to avoid a situation in which a child stands in line but doesn't reach the players' table during the 15-minute signing period.'

Marker Bills Training Camp Schedule [8:54 AM]
Buffalo News reports:

Marker Are you ready for some training camp? [6:29 AM]
D and C reports: 'The Bills' staff was busy getting ready for the coaches and players, all of whom are to be on campus by 4 p.m. Thursday. "We're working diligently," said Russ Brandon, the Bills' vice president for marketing, just before he ran off to take care of another detail. All of the players and staff will stay in dorms at Fisher.'

Marker Training, business merge at Bills camp [6:28 AM]
D and C reports: 'Never in the team's 40 years have the two facets of football, the game, and football, the business, been so intertwined. Only 10 years ago, Buffalo's marketing staff consisted of one person; it now numbers near 30. For 19 summers, the team was content to train in sleepy Fredonia, Chautauqua County, drawing a couple hundred fans per practice on average. In Rochester, the Bills' second-largest fan base with tentacles that can reach as far east as Albany, they expect crowds in excess of 5,000. The Bills say they can't survive into the new millennium without becoming a regional franchise, much like a Green Bay or a Kansas City or a New England. "This is about the long-term viability of our franchise," said Russ Brandon, vice president of business development and marketing.'

Marker Bills' top two picks still haven't signed [6:26 AM]
D and C reports: 'Talks with the agents for Flowers and Tillman were ongoing yesterday, but when asked if he'd get the two young defenders the Bills are counting on heavily this season under contract on time, Butler wouldn't say. "I have no idea, and I never do until a deal is done," he said.'

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