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Buffalo Bills News - August 11, 2000

Marker Corle sits, watches and wonders [6:10 AM]
D and C reports: 'As each day passes in camp, rookie running back Jason Corle watches as the men he is competing with for a roster spot -- Lennox Gordon, Sammy Morris, Josh Roth and Phillip Crosby -- go through drills, run plays live, and make impressions on the coaching staff. And all he can do is watch. Corle has been sidelined since the first week with a pulled left hamstring, and the inactivity is driving him nuts. "This has been terrible," said the free-agent signee from Towson. "I'm out here learning the offense and I'm learning what the game is about at this level, but it's frustrating not being able to go out and do what you have to do to make the team. "When you're a free agent, this is the worst-case scenario for me."'

Marker Basking in the glory of Bills training camp [6:08 AM]
D and C reports: 'Tens of thousands of people have traveled to the St. John Fisher College campus to take in a day of training camp. Some had basic, transparent reasons. They support the Bills. They're fascinated by quarterback Doug Flutie. They want potentially valuable autographs. It's an enjoyable summer escape for children. But a football training camp, sociologists and sports experts suggest, draws on potent aspects of American culture and personal psychology -- the worship of athletes, an attraction to the grotesque, gambling and something called "BIRGing." "BIRG" is an acronym created by social psychologists to describe an ego-supporting act -- "basking in reflective glory." "BIRGing is a very natural phenomenon," said Merrill Melnick, professor of physical education and sport at the State University College at Brockport. "We all want to identify with greatness, but we can't all be great. The next best game in town is to stand in the shadow of the great."'

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August 10, 2000

Marker Bills Offensive Line Preview [8:13 PM]
AP reports: 'While much has been made of the cuts and defections the Bills suffered this off-season, those concerns do not apply to the offensive line, intact except for the loss of free agent Dusty Zeigler. "They look like a pretty strong group, especially together," said coach Wade Phillips. "It takes togetherness to be a good offensive line, not just great individuals, but playing together. I think we're a lot further along than we were last year at this time."'

Marker Smith, Brown questionable for Saturday's game [8:10 PM]
AP reports: 'Smith continues to have swelling in his right knee after being hit with a helmet in Buffalo's win over Cincinnati last week. Brown has been nagged by a sore right ankle. Neither starters took part in any contact drills at training camp this week. Thursday, coach Wade Phillips said he'll wait until game-time to determine their status, adding both would play if this had been the regular season.'

Marker Kelly makes a return visit to Bills camp [3:45 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'But this, Kelly will be less involved with football than the days he was too young for Pop Warner. Rather than the rigorous schedule he worked for ESPN the last three years, Kelly will now only do NFL features for the all-sports network. "My priorities have changed...I look at it from a different perspective," said Kelly, who has three children including 3 1/2-year old Hunter who has Krabbe's disease and has already outlived his life expectancy. "He's not going to get any better but as long as he stays where it is ... that's a blessing." And that's why his new job appeals. "I'm really cutting back on what I did last year, I'm not going to be gone nearly as much as I was," he said. "With the features I'll be away one day, unlike last year when from Wednesday through Friday I was calling players and gone Saturday and Sunday. This gives me more time with my family, which is what I want." He's even postponed a planned move to Richmond for a couple of years and is currently looking to buy land for a hunting camp. "That should make everybody happy," he said with a laugh. But Kelly quickly pointed out his wife's family, his brothers and friends still live here. "I'd like to build a nice log cabin to come to a couple of weeks in the summer," Kelly explained, "and be able to come back for snowmobiling and the things I like to do in Western New York."'

Marker Jackson won't shrink from duties with Bills [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Jackson, who received his psychology degree from Nebraska, has been the target of more than one raised eyebrow since he joined the Bills last year as a seventh-round draft pick. "My high school teammates used to say, "Sheldon was one of those branches that fell off the tree a long time ago. He's just doing something his own way,' " Jackson said. "I'm a team player, but when the pads come off I enjoy my own little world. It's definitely different. To me, I'm OK. Everybody else is insane. Everybody else is a little weird. I love the way I see things through my eyes." The 6-foot-3, 237-pounder has a few idiosyncrasies, especially for a professional football player. He claims he doesn't know how to draw, but wants to be a tattoo artist. He has five tattoos himself, including depictions on his back of his mother, brother and sister. While some Bills drive new Hummers, BMWs, Jaguars and other prestigious cars, Jackson's fleet consists of an 1982 Chevy Monte Carlo, a '95 Chevy Z-71 pickup truck and a '77 Harley-Davidson Shovelhead. But one eccentricity stands out more than the others. In fact, 20 things stand out. Jackson polishes his finger and toe nails.'

Marker Flutie says Week Five his likely return date from groin injury [8:55 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I'm nowhere near ready, but I'm getting more comfortable. Right now all I can do is ride the bike and use the Stairmaster. Flutie was supposed to have a second MRI on the groin this week, but it got moved to Monday. "I wanted to have the MRI this week but it just doesn't make a difference," he said. "There's no need to rush it. (The MRI) should just update the healing." The timetable for Flutie remains about the same, with his return likely to be for either the third or fourth regular-season game. The Bills have a bye in Week Four so they may give him that extra week to recuperate, but Flutie said he sees Week Five as his latest possible return date.'

Marker Once-hated Thomas makes home debut tonight [7:43 AM]
Palm Beach Post reports: 'He has grown up through the years. He has mellowed. He no longer watches the tape of his draft-day plummet for inspiration. But he does have a little chip on his shoulder. He wants to beat the Bills. He wants to make them pay not just for letting him go after 12 years, but for how they did it. "To not make a phone call to me or to tell me before the season ended, that hurt," he said. "That's a motivational tool. I wouldn't say that's my whole deal that I'm using to continue to play, but it's a little part of it. I'm a little ticked off. But what really motivates me, what makes me feel good, is that the Dolphins were the first ones to call. I want to go out and make plays for this football team."'

Marker Flutie confident of early return from injury [7:39 AM]
AP reports: 'It'll be two weeks today since the Bills veteran backup slipped on the St. John Fisher College natural grass and suffered the injury. He was initially expected to be out until at least the middle of next month. There's still no clear indication when he will be back. Flutie said there's an outside shot of him being ready for the Bills regular-season opener on Sept. 3. "I still got three weeks. That's still a possibility," he said. At the latest, Flutie said he'll be back by Oct. 1, the Bills' fourth game of the season, which follows their scheduled bye week. He said there's no point returning for Game 3 only to take an additional week off.'

Marker Bills need big plays from Collins [6:05 AM]
D and C reports: 'There has been much excitement in this camp about the prospects of No. 1 tight end Jay Riemersma becoming a major cog in the Bills offense this season. And there has been much talk about the expanded role Sheldon Jackson -- like Collins a second-year tight end -- is receiving as he tries his hand at fullback and H-back. But no one seems to be paying much attention to Collins, who technically is No. 2 on the depth chart and figures to see ample playing time this season in two-tight end alignments. "I think people just want to wait to see," Collins said. What "people" are waiting to see is the 6-foot-4, 249-pounder display the explosiveness and big-play ability the Bills' deep thinkers think he possesses.'

Marker Change is clear to Kelly [6:04 AM]
D and C reports: 'An upbeat Kelly paid a visit to camp yesterday, observing practice, chatting with players, and signing tons of autographs for a legion of appreciative fans. Last night, he escorted a group of fans to dinner with defensive stars Ted Washington and Phil Hansen, winners of a charity raffle for his Hunter's Hope Foundation. While attending practice, Kelly was struck by the passage of time. The release of Andre Reed, Thurman Thomas and Bruce Smith means there are no Bills left from their first Super Bowl team of 1990. "It's time to move on, pass the torch, for the Bills to start a new tradition," Kelly said. "It's time for them to get a new identity and you can see with all the new players what they're trying to accomplish."'

Marker Tight end is red-zone threat [6:03 AM]
D and C reports: 'During red-zone work in practice, quarterback Rob Johnson continues to find tight end Jay Riemersma open for completions in the back of the end zone. It's always a mismatch, the 6-foot-5 Riemersma usually matched up against a shorter linebacker. On one particulary play, John Holecek was all over Riemersma, only to have the former Michigan all-state high school basketball player snatch the ball above his outstretched arms. "Jay's big in the red area because he's so tall," coach Wade Phillips said. "He can recognize the coverages, and he can anticipate and make plays. We're going to try to utilize him more. I think Rob feels good with Jay, I think it's a good combination. He looks for Jay in the middle of the field."'

Marker Wease puts Bills at ease [6:02 AM]
D and C reports: 'To many Bills players, Brother Wease is a pop cult figure. To them, the Rochester radio icon with the raspy voice and more body ink than Rodman is a breath of fresh air, especially during these dog days of training camp when questions about cover-2 zones have become as stale as an open can of day-old pop. Sure, the location of WCMF's makeshift studio just across the walkway from the team's locker room at St. John Fisher College has something to do with their willingness to share air time with Wease. But it's more than location. If they didn't care for him, they'd be sure to avoid him like a training camp Turk. "He's a guy you can go on the air with and have a casual conversation about everything, not just football," says Bills guard Ruben Brown. "Sometimes, Wease will ask you outrageous stuff, but it's all in fun. He lets you be yourself, be a person. Through the years, he's developed a good reputation among the players. We are reluctant to trust people in the media because you get burned so often. He's someone you can trust."'

August 9, 2000

Marker Color Sheldon Jackson different [8:45 PM]
AP reports: 'Jackson has gained attention at Bills training camp, and not simply because he's getting more responsibility in the offensive scheme, taking over for departed fullback Sam Gash. This summer, the second-year player has been featured in a sports drink commercial in which he's painting his fingernails just before game-time. Jackson has been conducting this ritual since his days at Nebraska, saying it's part of his expressive nature. The Bills' don't seem to mind.'

Marker Moore impressing Bills with his nose for ball [9:30 AM]
Lynchburg News and Advance reports: '"The Buffalo Bills base their opinions on production. That was not a hard decision," Dwight Adams, the team's vice president of player personnel, said of selecting Moore with the 89th overall pick. "That was not one for debate. There's Corey Moore, there's a productive player in a major program, with consistent production." It might prove to be one of the wisest selections in this year's draft. With a middle-round pick, the Bills secured the services of the 1999 defensive player of the year in college football (17 sacks, 35 career). No matter that he's undersized for a linebacker (5-11, 230 pounds -- up from his college weight of 225), let alone a defensive end; Moore makes plays.'

Marker One for the fans [9:05 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Starting with last Friday's preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals, fans are now allowed to bring nonalcoholic beverages in containers up to one-quart size. With a couple of caveats, this was a worthwhile change that will allow the Bills organization to crack down on alcohol while removing the penalty it had called against the many fans who wanted nothing more than a warm drink on a chilly day. But those caveats are important. The Bills say they reserve the right to check containers for alcohol. That's good, but they have to follow through. Security personnel should be prepared to check as many containers as they can, or at least to spot-check them. Alcohol is the primary fuel of anti-social behavior in the stands, and the Bills need to do everything they can to control it.'

Marker Will the Price be right? [8:59 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I'm going into this season with a little different set of circumstances," Price said Tuesday while walking off the Bills' training camp fields at St. John Fisher College. "I'm a starter and a lot more is expected of me, and I expect a lot more of myself."'

Marker Porter is never out of position [8:58 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Daryl Porter might roll out of bed this morning and find himself playing catcher. The Buffalo Bills defensive back has been all over the field at the team's training camp at St. John Fisher College. On Tuesday he played free safety, strong safety, cornerback and was on every special teams unit. "It's a positive for me and makes me a valuable player on this team," Porter said. "It's just a matter of not making too many mental mistakes because at one position you use one technique and at another you use another technique. "You just gotta be on your toes."'

Marker McDaniel back on the path to success [8:56 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'After spending most of the '99 season on the practice squad, McDaniel has blossomed in this year's camp. He has caught everything thrown his way and made several dazzling catches for long gains. If he keeps it up, he will be a lock for a starting job as the third wideout in the Bills' three-receiver sets. He also should figure prominently on special teams as a coverage man. "Well, anything can happen," McDaniel said. "I don't think I'm a lock. We've got a lot of young guys who have to show their stuff. I'm just going to practice hard every day, eliminate my mistakes and hopefully have a good season. I always had a talent for catching the ball. The Lord blessed me and I thank him every day for that."'

Marker Tackling is game-only activity [6:15 AM]
D and C reports: 'Fans heading out to St. John Fisher in hopes of seeing defensive end Phil Hansen blindside quarterback Rob Johnson, or linebackers John Holecek and Sam Cowart sandwich Antowain Smith before throwing him to the ground will be disappointed. While some teams, most notably the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins under Jimmy Johnson and Tom Coughlin's Jacksonville Jaguars, strap on full pads and have at it, the Bills don't conduct live scrimmages in camp. The reason? This is training camp, not boot camp.'

Marker Phillipses cherish camp time [6:14 AM]
D and C reports: 'It was a little like old times yesterday for Buffalo Bills coach Wade Phillips and his son, Wesley. As the morning practice session came to a close at St. John Fisher College, Wade picked up a football and tossed it to his son, who caught the ball, then threw it back to his dad. "Yeah, it was good to have him around before he leaves to go down there," Wade said of Wesley. Wesley visited Bills' training camp yesterday before departing for the University of Texas-El Paso today for the start of football practice. The redshirt junior will compete for the Miners' starting quarterback job. Father and son won't be seeing much -- if any -- of each other over the next four or five months as they will be separated by about 2,000 miles and two very busy football schedules. But this is something the Phillips' have grown accustomed to.'

Marker Rogers injures neck [6:12 AM]
D and C reports: 'Linebacker Sam Rogers sprained his neck during a pass-rushing drill yesterday morning and sat out the afternoon practice. He hopes to return today and plans to play Saturday at Detroit. Rogers said he actually injured his neck in last Friday's preseason opener against Cincinnati. "In the pass rush drill, I got pushed into a lineman and it bent more than I wanted," he said. "But I should be back (Wednesday)."'

Marker In search of signatures [6:11 AM]
D and C reports: 'It's hit or miss for Buffalo Bills fans seeking autographs. Many find that the players are harder to grab than they were in a more spartan setting at Fredonia State for 19 years, and some fans long for the good old days. "Fredonia was really good for the kids," says 38-year-old Ken Carosa, a mortgage loan originator from Henrietta. Joe Fan sees signing autographs as part of the Bills' job. "When fans pay your salary, it's a little different" than having a normal job, he says. Some Bills also see it that way, but the structure of the camp at St. John Fisher doesn't encourage their cooperation. At Fredonia, players had to stroll along a path between two rows of roped-off fans after practice to get back to their dorms and the dining hall. "That made a big difference," Carosa says. "They had to walk right by you." But at St. John Fisher, players must literally go out of their way to get to the fans. "It's just too bad if they aren't willing to come over to you, because you can't get to them," Joe Fan says.'

Marker Benefits from Bills camp unclear [6:10 AM]
D and C reports: 'With thousands of visitors attending Buffalo Bills training camp over the last two weeks, the Bills organization will likely get what it wants -- a shot at a larger, more lucrative fan base. But what economic benefit -- if any -- the Rochester area will gain from hosting the three-week camp is largely unknown. That's because no one is tracking where camp visitors are from; therefore, no one knows how much money out-of-towners are spending. And the camp's setup discourages visitors from stopping by local businesses.'

August 8, 2000

Marker Unflashy Carpenter emerges as front-runner for Bills free safety job [7:16 PM]
AP reports: 'A year after making the Bills' as an undrafted free agent, Carpenter has emerged as the leading candidate -- ahead of four-year veteran Daryl Porter and second-round draft pick Travares Tillman -- to replace starting free safety Kurt Schulz, who's now with the Detroit Lions. And in anti-Deion fashion, Carpenter is keeping his cool. "I'm not a flashy guy," explained Carpenter following the Bills' Tuesday morning session at St. John Fisher College. "I could pull it off back then in high school. Even in college I was a little flashy. But now, it's just getting down to business."'

Marker Wiley returns ahead of schedule [11:03 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"It felt good," Wiley said. "The back is fine. Now I just gotta turn it on upstairs and get all that right. I've been sitting on the sidelines too long. I gotta get it all in tune - the mind and the body." Wiley thinks he'll be at full strength by the Sept. 3 opener against the Tennessee Titans. He said there is a 50-50 chance he could play in the Aug. 24 preseason finale against Philadelphia.'

Marker Bills planning to improve coverage by leaps 'n bounds [11:00 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Part of the problem is that Buffalo's cornerbacks, while admirable, are all relatively small. Antoine Winfield, who begins his first full year as a starter, is only 5-foot-9. Reggie Durden, the good-looking rookie from Florida State, borders on tiny at 5-8. The "giant" among the group is starter Ken Irvin, at 5-11. It's not a rare deficiency. Most NFL teams suffer from it. Top-rank cornerbacks with size are rare and hard to acquire. Two of the best in the last 10 years, Champ Bailey and Chris McAlister, came into the 1999 draft. Bailey was picked by Washington with the seventh selection and McAlister by Baltimore with the 10th. The other part of the problem is that Buffalo's regular-season schedule is alive with high-quality receivers who virtually have "mismatch" written all over them. Most of the mismatch problems are likely to come against out-of-division and out-of-conference foes. That wasn't such a problem last year, especially since there were four games against the NFC East, which wasn't overloaded with big receivers. This season their out-of-conference opponents are from the tough NFC Central, all of whom have good big men. The Bills caught something of a break when 6-4 Keyshawn Johnson forced a trade away from the Jets, eliminating two fearsome meetings, but they'll still see him on Nov. 26 in Tampa since he's now a Buc.'

Marker School of hard knocks [10:59 AM]
D and C reports: 'The Bills told him to retire and informed him that for his own good they were not going to let him play for the team. Burroughs sought work elsewhere, but no other team would take a chance, either, and he had no option but to hang up his cleats. "I was bitter," he said. "I stayed away from football a long time. I didn't even watch the Bills for a couple years. It was mentally more than I could bear, watching my teammates doing it without me. "But I don't have any regrets. I know that God is a good God, he's the same God that gave me the opportunity to be drafted in the first round. In the beginning I questioned it, but not anymore, because I know I can walk and that's bigger than football."'

Marker Model of respect [10:57 AM]
D and C reports: 'While the Buffalo Bills of the present sweated through drills on the practice fields yesterday, just a few yards away some former Bills reminisced. Only it wasn't that easy to distinguish the alumni from the current players. "A lot of us look like we can still play," said Tom Day, a defensive end from the AFL championship teams of 1964 and '65. Day is one of those who remains in marvelous shape. His New York driver's license says he'll turn 65 on Aug. 20, and it's the only way he'll ever convince someone he's eligible for a senior citizen's discount.'

Marker Wiley surprises by donning pads [10:55 AM]
D and C reports: '"It was just basically to make sure my stability was there," he said. "They say my muscles and structure are fine, now it's getting hit and getting shock treatment, plus getting my mind back into it." Wiley underwent lower back surgery in mid-July and at the time, his timetable for a return to action was 4-6 weeks. It has been about 3 1/2 weeks, so he still has a ways to go. "I'm trying to do some conditioning because I'm not going to be running around doing all the team work so I have to do my conditioning as well as my drill work," he said.'

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