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Buffalo Bills News - April 11, 2001

Marker Bears fortify defense [5:29 AM]
Chicago Tribune reports: 'In a move that could foreshadow a major domino effect on their defense, the Bears agreed Tuesday to a three-year contract potentially worth $7.5 million, including a $2.5 million signing bonus, with ex-Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Ted Washington.'

Marker Hungry Bills drooling over draft [5:21 AM]
D and C reports: 'Because the Bills are desperate to rebuild their depth yet are still functioning with little salary cap room, general manager and president Tom Donahoe said yesterday that he will explore ways to obtain even more picks for his debut draft in Buffalo.'

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April 10, 2001

Marker Draft day luncheon quotes [8:59 PM] reports: 'We started yesterday, and the whole process will take us about the next 10 days. This is the most important phase of our preparation. Most of the work has been done, but now it's a matter of sharing information, trying to figure out what we think about these players as potential Buffalo Bills players and setting up the board.'

Marker Bears agree to terms with DT Ted Washington [7:41 PM]
Sportsticker reports: 'Washington, who turns 33 on Friday, spent the last six seasons with the Buffalo Bills before becoming a salary-cap casualty this offseason.'

Marker Bears agree to terms with Ted Washington [7:40 PM]
AP reports: 'Financial terms were not disclosed.'

Marker Bears inquire about Antowain Smith [10:45 AM] reports: Seeking to add depth in the backfield, Bears vice president of personnel Mark Hatley has contacted Tom Donahoe about a possible trade for Antowain Smith. No trade is imminent, but the Bears remain interested and are waiting to hear back from the Bills. However, Chicago would likely only deal a latter-round draft pick to acquire Smith.

April 9, 2001

Marker Steelers Resume Interest In Ted Washington [9:42 AM]
Steelers Digest reports: 'The Steelers seem to be the best fit for him, though, as they are the only team that will use the 3-4 as their primary defense this year as the Bills are switching to a 4-3.'

Marker Steelers resume talks with Bills' Washington [9:33 AM]
Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports: 'Washington, who has spent the past six seasons of his 10-year career with the Buffalo Bills, was one of the first free agents contacted by the Steelers early in the signing period. The Steelers, though, have been willing to wait until Washington tests his market value around the NFL.'

April 8, 2001

Marker Wilson repeats: Butler wanted to leave [9:10 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"[John Butler said] "By the way, my wife told me my contract expires in February.' I said, "Let's talk about it.' He said, "No I don't want to talk about it now. We'll talk about it later.'" Continued Wilson: "Now when a man who deals with hundreds of contracts tells me he doesn't know when his contract expires, what am I supposed to think?"'

April 7, 2001

Marker Antsy Washington expected to make quick decision [7:34 PM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'The current (albeit slight) favorite might be a bit of a surprise: the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have floated contract numbers to Washington and his representative over the past week that apparently top the deal the Chicago Bears have been offering now for several weeks.'

Marker Pigskin stars to huddle, sign autographs at memorabilia show [9:07 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '[Former Bills quarterback Joe Ferguson] will be back in town - this weekend, in fact, to sign autographs and chat up the good ol' days during the Spring Classic sports card and memorabilia show at the Niagara Falls Convention and Civic Center.'

Marker Empire fills two holes; Simon's show extended an hour [9:05 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '[Empire Sports Network] will pass off to WNSA live coverage of the NFL Draft in two weeks...The cable TV station will just cover the draft on its 6 p.m. sports report. When Empire decided to focus more on the Sabres, the elimination of its live draft coverage was first being considered. Now it is a reality.'

April 6, 2001

Marker Bills owner gets hearing with NFL over Phillips' contract [8:37 PM]
ESPN reports: 'Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr. has successfully petitioned the league to have a hearing on April 23 to rule on his refusal to honor the remainder of coach Wade Phillips' contract.'

Marker Buffalo Bills pick ad firm in Rochester to oversee marketing [1:30 PM]
Buffalo News reports: '"We really want to promote the experience of being at a Buffalo Bills football game," Honan explained. "We want the ads to convey the excitement of being there and being part of what the Bills are all about."'

Marker Buffalo Bills owner out for blood vs. Butler's Bolts [1:27 PM]
San Diego Union Tribune reports: 'The back-and-forth between himself and Butler in competing upper-New York newspapers -- as well as that between quarterbacks Rob Johnson and Doug Flutie -- is the stuff that has helped propel the World Wrestling Federation up the TV ratings. There have been accusations of betrayal, deceit and back-stabbing.'

Marker NFL will finish realignment at the end of May [11:28 AM]
AP reports: 'NFL owners will vote on realignment at the end of May, setting up the format of eight four-team divisions when Houston re-enters the league in 2002 as the 32nd team... The league has extended the meetings scheduled for May 22-23 in Chicago for an extra day to take care of realignment, which must be done by June 1.'

Marker Web site features all-time Bills tourney [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Which is the greatest Buffalo Bills team of all time? The argument may not ever be settled, but is going to give it a try with a cyber-tournament between the top 20 editions of the Bills.'

Marker Draft preview [8:53 AM]
The Sporting News reports: 'The Bills' attitude towards the draft is not only to find talented players, but people who will fit into their system. With a new coaching staff, the draft will likely reflect the change in philosophy.'

Marker Depth lacking at most positions other than WR, DT [8:51 AM]
CNN/SI reports: 'This month's draft is loaded with wide receiver and defensive tackle talent. Half the first round picks could come at those two positions. But other positions are so glaringly shallow, teams will be forced to reach earlier than the player grades warrant.'

Marker Top teams having trouble trying to trade down [8:50 AM]
CNN/SI reports: 'The NFL Draft, now just over two weeks away, has risk written all over it. That's nothing new. But there's a different feel to this draft than with any other in recent history. Almost every team near the top would love to trade down in the first round, but no one can find a dance partner.'

Marker Scope of free-agent market appears to be changing [8:48 AM]
CNN/SI reports: 'There will be no more Washingtons of 2000. This year's modest level of activity will be the norm. For the foreseeable future, the clubs will continue to hold the hammer, salary-cap money will be tight, and player signings will be limited outside of retaining one's own free agents.'

Marker Updated first-round draft projection [8:46 AM]
ESPN reports: '14. Buffalo | Steve Hutchinson, OL, Michigan: A dedicated, versatile warrior like Hutchinson who could figure at guard or RT brings a great deal of value at this point in the draft.'

Marker Top O-linemen available in draft [8:45 AM]
ESPN reports: 'Mel Kiper's analysis of the offensive linemen available in the 2001 NFL draft.'

Marker Jay Riemersma answers e-mails [8:41 AM] reports: 'Bills TE Jay Riemersma sat down with Tuesday to answer your questions sent via e-mail over the last couple of days.'

Marker Cramming for draft day [8:40 AM] reports: 'Dwight Adams holds twice-daily meetings with his staff of 10 scouts. During the summer they attend practices to watch players at each position practice. They’ll also watch video of practices to talk about the skills they’ll look for in each position. They debrief on what they saw and talk about what they’ll seek.'

April 5, 2001

Marker Recent AFC East draft history [9:42 AM] reports: 'An overview (courtesy of of the AFC East teams' draft history since 1985.'

Marker Home office [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The strongest deciding factor was just Rob's overall athletic ability. He has great physical skills to play the quarterback position. Now the other things, that's why they hired us. Coaches have to teach players how to play. But coaches don't affect what mom and dad gave in the gene pool.'

Marker Bills owner Ralph Wilson initiated benching of Doug Flutie [5:33 AM]
D and C reports: '"I was involved in that and I agreed that Johnson should start," Wilson said...I saw every game and Flutie made some big plays but mostly, he struggled. The defense bailed him out a lot. That was the reason."'

Marker Wilson targets showdown with Chargers [5:32 AM]
D and C reports: '"I'd rather beat the Chargers this year than win the Super Bowl," Wilson said during a wide-ranging interview. "Yes, I am looking forward to that game."'

Marker Martino Flynn gets Bills ad account [5:31 AM]
D and C reports: 'It's a touchdown for Perinton advertising agency Martino Flynn LLC.
The Buffalo Bills yesterday selected Martino Flynn to handle the team's advertising. The agency will create and produce the Bills' television, radio and print advertising as well as promotional brochures.'

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