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Buffalo Bills News - April 3, 2004

Marker Bears feel they hit the target with Brown [5:10 AM] reports: 'Brown, who is 32 years old, said he probably lasted this long in free agency because of his age and long tenure in Buffalo. Detroit was the only other team giving serious chase. "I knew that because at this stage of my career — 32 years old, nine years with one team — that's not common that teams come rushing out of the closet unless you're Bruce Smith, you know, one of those types of impact players," Brown said. "So I knew there was going to be more of a slow process for me."'

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April 2, 2004

Marker Around the league [6:04 PM]
ESPN reports: "He's doing really well," said rookie HC Mike Mularkey, who reiterated his plans to pair McGahee and starting RB Travis Henry in some formations. "He's making cuts, running with decisiveness, and isn't hold back on anything. You can tell he's excited being back out there."

Mularkey noted at the league meetings that, while the Bills would like to get Kordell Stewart, the QB is not yet ready to concede to a backup role. And make no mistake, if he signed with the Bills, the journeyman Stewart would almost certainly be asked to reprise the "Slash" role he once played with the Steelers. The Bills really don't have on their current roster the kind of versatile athlete around whom Mularkey can scheme up some trick plays. They might be forced to add such a flexible player through the draft.

Marker NFL Europe Provides Opportunity For Zolman [3:01 PM] reports: '"The important thing for me is that I get some game experience and the Bills see what I can do in game-type situations. Other than a few snaps in preseason, I really don't have a lot of game film except for college stuff. I think it will be beneficial to get out there, get on film, and do well. I am going to do the best I can with this opportunity."'

Marker Nice guys can finish first [2:46 PM] reports: His defensive prowess almost landed him a spot in 2003 with the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena League -- the eventual AFL champions -- but it was all for naught. There just wasn't enough room on the roster. The Twisters didn't mind as he came back to Arkansas and became the go-to guy on defense. His achievements good enough to be noticed by Buffalo. The Bills signed Carter and sent him to NFL Europe training camp in Florida as a cornerback.

Marker Ex-Bills QB plans event to help fight kids' illness [5:16 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Since parents Jim and Jill Kelly created the foundation seven years ago, it has given out close to $4 million in research grants, Kelly said.'

Marker Even without football, Ingoglia's among finest [5:15 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '”Believe me, if some team still wanted me to play, I’d be out there in a heartbeat,” says Ingoglia, who spent two seasons on the Buffalo Bills practice squad and a season as Super Bowl quarterback Jake Delhomme’s teammate with the Frankfurt Galaxy in NFL Europe. ”But I knew when the Bills didn’t re-sign me after the 1998 season that my season in Europe would probably be my last hurrah in pro football. It was time to move on with my life.”'

Marker Chicago simply this Rube's kind of town [5:14 AM]
Chicago Tribune reports: '"Everybody has an opinion, and their opinions don't matter a bit," said Brown, now the oldest Bear. "I'm still healthy, still hungry and still can do the job on Sunday. I've gotten through nine years relatively unscathed and I have a lot left."'

Marker Bears bolster line further with perennial Pro Bowl guard Brown [5:13 AM]
Chicago Sun Times reports: 'Ruben Brown on Thursday agreed to a $4.5 million, three-year contract with a $1 million signing bonus and a $500,000 roster bonus due in March. With playing-time incentives, he can earn another $1 million over the final two years of the contract.'

Marker Bears add Brown to further beef up line [5:12 AM]
Arlington Heights Daily Herald reports: 'Brown will receive $1.5 million in guaranteed bonus money this season with a base salary of $1 million. The deal includes escalators based on playing time and the team's playoff performance that can increase its value over the next two seasons.'

Marker Bears sign guard Ruben Brown [5:11 AM] reports: 'The signing is a tradeoff of sorts, as former Bears right guard Chris Villarrial went to Brown's former team in free agency.'

Marker Marv Levy a cut above Super Bowl champions [5:10 AM]
San Antonio Express News reports: '"It is a unique situation to coach and play in Buffalo," Levy said. "I had one coaching friend tell me, 'Marv, no one ever wants to go to Buffalo and nobody wants to leave it.'"'

Marker NFL Europe League Kicks Off April 3 [5:09 AM] reports: 'The Bills have assigned cornerback Kahlil Carter, offensive lineman Jasen Esposito, linebacker Asa Francis, kicker and punter Mike Shafer, and quarterback Greg Zolman to develop in the NFL Europe League (NFLEL) this spring.'

Marker Brown's a Bear [5:08 AM] reports: 'Eight time Pro Bowl guard Ruben Brown is the newest member of the Chicago Bears. He agreed to three year free agent deal with the team Thursday.'

Marker No Call Back [5:07 AM] reports: 'It seemed the perfect marriage. The Buffalo Bills have been shopping for an experienced tight end. Rochester native Roland Williams was shopping for a team.'

April 1, 2004

Marker Bears agree to terms with Brown [7:58 PM]
AP reports: 'The former Buffalo Bills standout could sign as early as Friday.'

Marker Bears agree to terms with Ruben Brown [7:57 PM]
The Sports Network reports: 'The 32-year-old Brown has been selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his last eight campaigns.'

Marker Smith, Mora and mularkey excited by new jobs [7:35 PM]
ESPN reports: 'Bledsoe tends to sit in the pocket and get creamed. To adapt, Mularkey wants Bledsoe to release the ball on his fifth step. "Some of that is in the design of the play," Mularkey said. "On his fifth step, he's got to let it go. Some of the scheme will almost force him to get the ball out of his hands quicker. I'm not going to say anything about the system or last year. I have a different philosophy on how to attack, and I think (offensive coordinator) Tom Clements has the same one, which is why I feel comfortable with Tom calling the plays. He has seen it be effective. I think it improved Kordell Stewart's play. It improved Tommy Maddox's play. I think it will help Drew."'

Marker Hope to Spring From Hunter's Hope Ball [4:19 PM]
WROC-TV reports: 'The hope is to raise $100,000 from the gala. To buy tickets for the July 23 event, call 1-877-984-HOPE.'

Marker Report: Pro Bowl G Brown agrees to terms with Bears [4:18 PM]
Sportsticker reports: 'The 6-3, 304-pound Brown started 136 games with the Bills. He missed the regular season finale in 2003 due to what the club termed "personal problems."'

Marker Bears continue to revamp line [4:17 PM]
ESPN reports: Free agent guard Ruben Brown, the eight-time Pro Bowl performer released by the Buffalo Bills last month, has agreed to join the Chicago Bears on a three-year contract.

Marker Candlelight Ball for Hunter's Hope [12:07 PM]
Rochester D&C reports: Hunter Kelly is doing far better than anyone could have hoped. ”I just never met anybody with the will he has,” Jim Kelly said today as he announced plans for the second-ever Hunter’s Hope Candlelight Ball in Rochester.

Marker Deal imminent between Bears and Pro Bowl guard Brown [11:35 AM]
Chicago Tribune reports: 'Sources said Wednesday night that the last issue involved whether the contract would be for one or three years, but it was not considered a sticking point. It's expected that Brown will earn a salary approaching $1 million, slightly over the veteran's minimum of $760,000.'

Marker Bills Backers of Arizona [11:33 AM] reports: The Group gathers at the Native New Yorker Restaurant on Alma School road and Guadalupe road in Mesa Arizona.

Marker Clements says run more, set up pass [5:16 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '”I know when I was a player I called my own plays and if I could hand it off to the running back, that takes a lot of pressure off the quarterback and it opens up a lot of things downfield,” Clements said. ”I played most of my career in Canada and you only have three downs to get a first down, but I think every year I played I had a running back who ran for over 1,000 yards, so even in a passing league you still had to run the ball.”

Marker Brown a Bear? His decision is due today [5:15 AM]
Chicago Sun Times reports: 'There have been no negotiations between the Bears and Brown's agent, Eric Metz, because it's basically a take-it-or-leave-it proposition.'

March 31, 2004

Marker Buffalo Bills 2004 Draft Preview [4:38 PM]
The Sports Network reports: 'The Bills enter the draft with a glaring weakness at wide receiver. Josh Reed showed he was better suited to fill the No. 3 role. Statistically, Drew Bledsoe was one of the worst quarterbacks in the league and the team came up empty in a bid to sign Billy Volek as its signal-caller of the future.'

Marker Bills Alumni Spotlight: Mark Pike [11:14 AM] reports: '"I realized early that that was my meal ticket," Pike said. "I don’t want to say we didn’t focus on our positions, but we put the extra focus to our special teams, making that as important as playing offense or defense. We prepared that way, we studied film that way, we practiced that way. Steve and I became the two leaders of the special teams for years because of that. Later in my career, half the time I felt like I was a coach. We had so many young players, I was the guy that everybody came to. Your coaches can coach you so much, but then the younger players like to talk to players who have been through it."'

Marker Retooling Drew [8:52 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills are counting heavily on their new offensive scheme to allow their 32-year-old quarterback to excel. It's a system that worked in Pittsburgh with quarterbacks Kordell Stewart and Tommy Maddox. "I have a different philosophy (than last year's staff) on how to attack," Mularkey said. "I think Tom (Clements) has the same one, which is why I feel comfortable with Tom calling the plays. He has seen it be effective. I think it improved Kordell's play, it improved Tommy's play. I think it will help Drew."'

Marker Healthy McGahee shaking off the rust [8:51 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"He's been impressive," Bills coach Mike Mularkey said. "I saw no hesitation at all with his knee. He looked very fluid and I think he built a lot of confidence in this camp. "We're going like he is full go. To me, sometimes you can make them too conscious of it. I personally don't ask him how he's feeling. I let the trainers tell me. We're trying to get him confident and it looks like he is ready."'

Marker Bills are interested in Stewart with a slash [8:50 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'However, if Stewart decides to join the Bills, Buffalo coach Mike Mularkey plans to use him on selected plays as a running back or receiver. "I'm intrigued by Kordell because of some of the abilities he has to do some of the things we talk about," Mularkey said Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings. "I don't want to call it the slash role, but it's a little bit of that. To me, when he was the most popular player in the league, that's what he was doing best."'

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