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Buffalo Bills News - February 17, 2004

Marker Inside slant [5:15 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: '"It took a little while to put this staff together, longer than some other teams have done, but it was important, for the sake of the personality of the team, to make sure we had the right fit," said Mularkey, the former Pittsburgh Steelers' offensive coordinator who was hired on Jan. 13. "To be honest, I was very lucky to get all of these guys and keep the guys around here that we did."'

Marker Strategy and personnel [5:14 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'There are six unrestricted free agents but GM Tom Donahoe is expected to allow each to test the market, including starting CB Antoine Winfield. The Bills have been in talks with Winfield but the player would like to explore his options. The franchise (guaranteed top five salary) or transition tags would give Buffalo right-of-first-refusal options but they are not likely to be exercised.'

Marker Notes, quotes, anecdotes [5:13 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'McNally is among the very best at his craft and he'll have his work cut out in Buffalo, where the Bills allowed an NFL-most 51 sacks last season and quarterback Drew Bledsoe is among the easiest targets to hit.'

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February 16, 2004

Marker Buffalo stampede [6:44 PM]
CNN/SI reports: 'Already, two things are apparent: It's good to have Wyche's sense of humor back in the league, and the Bills will be heard from when it comes time for the Henson deal to get done. We're not saying Henson, the former Michigan standout turned baseball player turned Houston Texans-owned trade bait, should start picking out a winter coat for upstate New York. It's just that, for the second time in three years, Buffalo might be in the best position to trade a high-round pick for a quarterback being shopped far and wide.'

Marker Despite questions about Bledsoe, Buffalo's brass shouldn't Drew it [2:03 PM]
Niagara Falls Reporter reports: 'Granted, Drew Bledsoe's dismal season in 2003 raised serious questions about the position in both the short and long run. For the immediate future, Donahoe's clearly banking on Mularkey, Clements and Wyche to rebuild Bledsoe's faulty mechanics and soothe his fractured psyche through better coaching and game planning.'

Marker Marketing suites is 'challenge' for Bills [10:14 AM]
Business First of Buffalo reports: "We do have 40 suites to sell yet. That will be a big challenge for us," said Erland "Erkie" Kailbourne, still chairman of the Business Backs the Bills committee that, then and now, is very involved in lining up clients for the open suites and club seats.

February 15, 2004

Marker Washington's good-guy image takes a hit [9:01 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'Bledsoe has been sacked 103 times the past two seasons. Some of that has to do with Buffalo's offensive line, but Wyche plans to teach Bledsoe how to help them help him. For one thing, Bledsoe can tuck the ball and run more. Bledsoe, run? "Sometimes you're groomed one way and you don't test yourself in certain areas," Wyche said. "We're going to test him."'

February 14, 2004

Marker Tucker gets three-year extension from Bills [8:39 PM]
ESPN reports: It appears Tucker will go to camp with a chance to win the starting spot at right guard, where he played very effectively in the second half of last season. In his first Bills start, in November, the offense totaled 403 yards. The Bills rushed for over 200 yards in his second start.

Marker Bills, Tucker agree to new pact [8:53 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Tucker, who started five games at right guard in place of Mike Pucillo late last season, was set to become a free agent on March 3. Tucker joined the Bills after starting half the season for Dallas in 2002.'

Marker Houston's steal doesn't merit a Bills deal [5:16 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Why did Buffalo bother attending Hensonís workout in Houston this week? He probably will be traded by the Texans for at least a high second-round pick and perhaps a first-round pick. The Bills need immediate help in too many areas (wide receiver, defensive end and tight end) to use one of their top picks on a project QB.'

February 13, 2004

Marker Bills not Tucker-ed out [11:13 PM]
ESPN reports: The Buffalo Bills reached a three-year, $2.2 million agreement with guard Ross Tucker, 24, that could grow to $3.2 million depending upon his playing time. Tucker is a great success story for the Bills, a former undrafted player claimed off waivers from the Dallas Cowboys who ended up as the starting RG the final 5 games of last season. The 6-4, 316-pounder is projected to be a starter next season. Included in the deal is a $225,000 signing bonus. He was scheduled to be a RFA.

Marker Ask Play-By-Play Man John Murphy [10:11 PM] reports: 'No stranger to Bills fans, Murphy recently completed his 16th season alongside Miller in the booth as the radio networkís color analyst. He first held the analyst job from 1984-89 and then again from 1994-2003. A native of Lockport, NY and graduate of Syracuse University, Murphy has also served as the sports director at WKBW-TV (Channel 7) in Buffalo since 1989.'

Marker Studesville Likes His Backs [10:04 PM] reports: 'Henry proved last year he can carry the load. Playing much of the season with bruised ribs then a broken leg, Henry ran for over 1,350 yards and scored 10 touchdowns. "That's a credit to him and how tough he is and his commitment to the team," Studesville said of Henry. "He's an impressive player."'

Marker Bills Alumni Spotlight: Pete Gogolak [3:47 PM] reports: '"Being the second-highest scorer in the league as a rookie, I asked for a raise and they wouldnít give it to me. Iíll tell you very frankly, I signed for $11,000 and I asked for 20. So I played out my contract. I didnít talk to anybody and I became a free agent and thatís when the Giants approached me and signed me," said Gogolak. "In Buffalo, I think they thought I was a traitor, basically. I really loved Buffalo and I loved the team. It was a great football town. Very frankly, it was the best two years in my professional career and it was a wonderful place to play for. The whole town was behind you. I think it was just kind of a financial situation. I felt that I was worth that kind of money and the management felt that I wasnít."'

Marker Bills Alumni Spotlight: Jim Jeffcoat [1:37 PM]
Buffalo News reports: '"Iíd like to be a head coach someday, thereís no question. Thatís the only reason I got in this business, to be a head coach. I know that itís a long journey, but Iím prepared for that."'

Marker A time to celebrate: Jim Kelly's 'hero' turns 7 [1:36 PM]
AP reports: '''He'll never be able to do what daddy did,'' said Kelly, who led the Buffalo Bills to an unprecedented four straight AFC titles in the early 1990s. ''But he's going to do greater things. He's going to make a difference in kids' lives. He already has.'''

Marker QB's workout gets raves, has Texans ready to talk trade [12:01 PM]
Houston Chronicle reports: Green Bay's Mike Sherman and Buffalo's Mike Mularkey were the only head coaches in attendance. Buffalo's Tom Donahue[sic], Miami's Rick Spielman and the New York Giants' Ernie Accorsi were the only general managers.

Marker Open Season [7:21 AM]
San Francisco Chronicle reports: 'The Buffalo Bills' new quarterbacks coach has a damaged heart and a broken voice, but you gotta like his drive.'

February 12, 2004

Marker Good Audition for Henson [10:45 PM] reports: '"The one thing that happens in a drill like this is you can't make a final decision," said Bills quarterbacks coach Sam Wyche. "What you can do is eliminate. I don't think anyone eliminated him today."'

Marker Lindell Works Toward Improving on 2003 Season [10:31 PM] reports: ''I don't think the season went too well. I think there are a lot of things I need to do a better job at next season. I didn't do anything to jump start the team at all. My kickoffs weren't as consistent as I would have liked, or I thought they would be. In the offseason I want to get my leg strength better and get more consistent on the kickoff. My kickoff steps were new as far as how I did those. I used to put the ball on the hash and step it off so everybody knew where I was going. This past season I put it in the middle. It will be nice to have an offseason to continue getting better on my kickoff steps and just get better on the field goals.''

Marker Henson showcases football skills for scouts [4:08 PM]
AP reports: 'Casserly won't say exactly what the Texans want for Henson, but the team would love to get a first-round pick in return. The Bills, Packers and Dolphins are apparently among the teams that are most interested.'

Marker Bills Attend Drew Henson's Workout [1:31 PM] reports: '"I saw him (Henson) on film last year from his days in Michigan," Clements said. "I have an idea of what he looked like on film and I was impressed with him at Michigan. When you go down there you're just going to see how rusty he may be. You want to see what athletic ability he has, how he's throwing the ball and whether or not he's accurate and if he still has the same zip on it. Just guessing, I expect him to be fairly impressive in person. He's going to just display his athletic ability and how he can throw the ball."'

Marker 2003 Draft review and All-Rookie team [10:49 AM] reports: Buffalo Bills: Seven of eight picks made the roster. The class produced only two starts. The key to this draft is what McGahee and Chris Kelsay do in the future.

Marker Job carousel spins wildly for league's defensive coordinators [8:50 AM]
Pro Football Weekly reports: Included in the high-profile mix are five former NFL head coaches, the most recent being Gregg Williams (Washington) and Dick Jauron (Detroit), who were let go this season by the Bills and Bears, respectively. Others include Gunther Cunningham, the former Chiefs head coach who has returned to become Kansas Cityís DC; Wade Phillips, a former head coach in Denver and Buffalo who will be in charge of the Chargersí defense; and Dick LeBeau, a former head coach in Cincinnati who is returning to Pittsburgh, where he spent 1992 through í96 as an assistant coach and then defensive coordinator.

Marker Bills head for Henson's workout [5:17 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'The Texans will shop Henson to the highest bidder, but whether Buffalo would be involved in bidding for him so soon after giving up a No. 1 pick to New England for Bledsoe in 2002 is highly speculative. Many personnel directors feel Henson is a long-term project.'

Marker Murphy to succeed Miller as Bills' radio announcer [5:16 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'ďIím just succeeding him. I mean, who can replace Van?Ē said Murphy, 46, who worked alongside the legendary Miller for 16 years. ďIf you grew up around here, heís the voice of the Bills, and I just feel Iím succeeding him. These are huge shoes to fill. Iím going to try not to think about it.Ē'

Marker Return to the sideline is the best medicine for Wyche [5:15 AM]
St. Petersburg Times reports: '"I'm the luckiest guy going," he said. "How many times can you call up and say,"I'm looking for a job. Oh, by the way, I have a heart disease, I can't talk very well, you got a job for me?"''

February 11, 2004

Marker The Bills New Staff Is Already At Work [8:23 PM]
WGR-AM reports: 'Moving to the offense, former Notre Dame quarterback Tom Clements is in his first season as an offensive coordinator. Clements has coached quarterbacks with the Steelers, Chiefs and Saints. He says his philosophy will fit the talents of the players he has. He did mention he likes to run the football and develop a solid running game. He also feels Drew Bledsoe is not washed up and he will have plays that get the ball out of his hand quicker. Clements is a huge fan of Travis Henry. He loves the power Henry packs in such a small package.'

Marker Clements to View Another Drew [8:21 PM] reports: '"I expect he'll be fairly impressive," said Bills offensive coordinator Tom Clements. "We're just going to go down there and see how rusty he may be, see what kind of athletic ability he displays, see how he's throwing the ball, whether he's accurate, whether he still has the same zip on it, things like that."'

Marker Mularkey bringing assistants with him to scout Henson [8:21 PM]
AP reports: '''All I know is what I've heard about him,'' Mularkey said. ''That's why I'm probably going to ask Tom and Sam to go down there with me and do all the evaluating on him. They're the quarterback, I don't want to say gurus but they know it better than I do.'''

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