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Buffalo Bills News - March 1, 2004

Marker Bills release Pro Bowl guard Brown [1:04 PM]
AP reports: 'Brown was due to receiver a $1.8 million bonus had he been on roster Wednesday, the first day of free agency. He also was due for a base salary of $2.7 million this season.'

Marker Dallas reportedly interested in quarterback [12:57 PM]
ESPN reports: Despite reports claiming Henson will also audition for Buffalo, team president Tom Donahoe told that he will not arrange for an individual workout unless he is convinced a contract agreement can be reached. Donahoe remains doubtful on that front. Agent Tom Condon also told that he doesn't think the Bills will request a Henson workout.

Marker Released [12:54 PM] reports: The Buffalo Bills have decided to part ways with eight-time Pro Bowl guard Ruben Brown, ending the tenure of one of the franchise's most recognizable offensive lineman. Originally drafted by the Bills in the first round (14th overall) of the 1995 draft, the former Pittsburgh All-American played and started in 136 games and has been selected to the Pro Bowl in each of the last eight seasons, an accomplishment no other Bill can claim.

Marker Restricted Free Agents Getting More Protection [8:50 AM] reports: 'Buffalo could have offered Tucker a one-year minimum tender ($628K), but it would have offered no protection against losing him to another team. The minimum tender only demands that another team that signs him away from Buffalo compensate the Bills with a draft pick equal to the round in which Tucker was drafted. Tucker, however, was an undrafted free agent coming out of college, so there would have been no compensation.'

Marker Buffalo fans in middle of frustration formula [5:16 AM]
Business First of Buffalo reports: 'The Bills are 34th with a frustration index of 2.95. And the Sabres, with a score of 2.12, rank 98th. That makes them Buffalo's least frustrating team, despite their weak performance in recent seasons.'

Marker Inside slant [5:15 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'The Bills will start free agency with about $7.8 million in cap space but that figure will fluctuate greatly. Off the bat, the team must decide if it wants to retain eight-time Pro Bowl guard Ruben Brown, who is due a $1.8 million roster bonus that will have to be accounted for.'

Marker Strategy and personnel [5:14 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'The Bills aren't being bashful about their interest in NC State quarterback Philip Rivers, one of the fastest rising players in the draft. Buffalo is in the market for Drew Bledsoe's eventual successor and taking a quarterback with its 13th pick is being heavily considered.'

Marker Notes, quotes, anecdotes [5:13 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'Coach Mike Mularkey recently sat down with Brown to discuss his future with the club. Part of the conversation addressed Brown's falling out with the previous coaching staff. Brown was excused from the final game of the season at New England after arriving late for a practice and having a confrontation with offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride.'

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February 29, 2004

Marker QB's contract demands could be deal breaker [12:06 PM]
ESPN reports: 'For now, trading for Drew Henson remains a possibility for the Bills. But the more Buffalo explores ways to acquire Henson from the Texans, the more difficult a deal appears.'

Marker Draft pick No. 13 just got luckier for Bills [8:58 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Tom Donahoe and Tom Modrak haven't missed on many drafts during their careers as president/general manager/college scouting gurus, so we have to believe they will make the right choice. The good news for the Bills is there won't be any wrong choices at No. 13. The Bills' needs are specific - quarterback, speed at wide receiver, interior offensive line, cornerback (if Antoine Winfield doesn't return), pass-rushing defensive end and tight end.'

Marker Time to talk shop as free agency set to open [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Winfield said he'd like to return to Buffalo, but the Bills won't get into a bidding war. His bargaining power improved last week when some of the top free agent cornerbacks were either franchised (Oakland's Charles Woodson and Baltimore's Chris McAllister) or put on the trading block (Washington's Champ Bailey).'

Marker McNally still getting a line on players [8:56 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"No. 1 is "smarts,' " he said. "I want players with football intelligence. If I'm told a player needs a lot of repetitions to get things right I'm not interested. The NFL is far different today than what it used to be. Defenses are so sophisticated now it's like looking into a box of coat hangers for linemen deciding what to do on a blitz."'

Marker Bidding opens to turkey hunt with ex-Vol Teague [6:52 AM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: 'Some lucky youngster will get the thrill of a lifetime this spring if he wins the auction for a special turkey hunt with Buffalo Bills center Trey Teague.'

February 28, 2004

Marker Clements Sets Goals For 2004 Season [7:35 PM] reports: 'Q: What was the biggest reason why the defense improved so much over the year? -Derek Grimm (Red Lion, PA)
NC: We had more talent by far. We get more and more talent on the defense every year. We gelled together. We just had that mentality that we are going to beat the guys across the ball from us.'

February 27, 2004

Marker Talent at Combine Impresses Bills GM [5:49 PM] reports: '"The size was impressive and some of the guys who did run, ran fast," said Donahoe. "It's really unusual with the number of receivers who are 6'2" and 6'3". In past years you'd get a guy or two, but now you have a whole host of them and it seems that the players that everybody has at the top of the draft are all bigger receivers."'

Marker Brown's future in Buffalo uncertain [5:16 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '“I think we need to discuss it further, but I didn’t want to prejudge him,” Mularkey said last week. “We have evaluations coming in on all the positions and I want to evaluate him as a player first. Obviously, he still can play. We’ll see where we are with him with that, the whole line really, then we’ll talk more.”'

February 26, 2004

Marker Should the Bills sign Bruce Smith so he can retire as a Buffalo Bill? [5:38 PM]
WHEC-TV reports: 'Off the field Bruce was far from perfect. He did his share of whining at contract time and certainly angered his share of sportswriters. But nobody meant more to the Bills defense in their hey-day. And now Bruce deserves one more day in a Bills uniform.'

Marker Bills Have Free Agency Plan in Place [5:37 PM] reports: '"Free agency is a continuous process," Guy said. "We usually get started in April for the upcoming year. We call it projective free agency because we project the players who we think will be free agents. Sometimes contracts or incentives will take players out of free agency and other times those things will make players free agents."'

Marker - NFL - Wednesday roundup: Brady has minor surgery [9:26 AM]
ESPN reports: Expecting to upgrade at the position, the Houston Texans have released free safety Matt Stevens, a move that will save the team about $2.5 million in cap space. This marks the second time in two years that the Texans released Stevens but, unlike in 2003, the much-traveled eight-year veteran will not be returning to the team. Stevens, 30, is now a free agent and can negotiate with other teams. In stints with Buffalo (1996), Philadelphia (1997-98), Washington (1998-2000), New England (2000-2001) and Houston, he started in 42 of 104 appearances. Stevens has 276 tackles, 13 interceptions and 31 passes defensed for his career.

February 24, 2004

Marker Williams: A memorable combine [11:24 PM] reports: And I liked what the Bills had me do. They asked me to rate three aspects of NFL life in order: the Super Bowl, financial security, and the Pro Bowl. I put them in that exact order, with the Super Bowl being the most important. Financial security is nice, of course, but to be a champion would mean a lot to me. The Pro Bowl is nice too, but you have to fly over a lot of water to get there, and as you'll read, I'm not a big fan of flying these days.

Marker Buffalo Bills 2004 Free Agency Preview [3:42 PM]
The Sports Network reports: 'Bledsoe's successor isn't on the roster. He's only 32 but has started since entering the league and has taken a tremendous beating over the last five seasons. The Bills need to start looking for a replacement but the pickings are slim in free agency. Billy Volek of Tennessee will likely have several suitors. On the offensive line, McNally has made a career of thriving with low-round picks that will play the style he teaches. Like almost every team the Bills could use help rushing the passer.'

Marker Wyche finds voice in role with Bills [3:15 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: '“I’m the luckiest guy going,” Wyche said. “How many times can you call up and say, ‘I’m looking for the job. Oh, by the way, I have a heart disease ... and I can’t talk very well, do you have a job for me?”'

Marker Bills Alumni Spotlight: Kurt Schulz [9:02 AM] reports: 'Schulz and his wife, Susan, have returned to Western New York and make their home in Clarence with their two sons; Patrick, 7, and Daniel, 5. Since last October, he has worked in Buffalo for Merrill Lynch as a financial advisor. "I love it, absolutely love it," says Schulz. "One of the reasons that I wanted to get into this business is because I saw so many football players not succeed in managing their money. I guess I was maybe one of the ones that did because my background’s in accounting and I love this line of work. I love following financial markets and learning about it. Part of what I want to accomplish is to help out athletes and steer them in the right direction."'

Marker Bills still showing interest in Henson [5:16 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Bills general manager Tom Donahoe said he spoke at least twice with Houston officials about Henson at the NFL’s Indianapolis Scouting Combine, which concludes today. Donahoe said he’d like to either bring Henson to Buffalo for more evaluation or go to him with the Texans’ permission.'

Marker Note to Bills: Trade 13th pick for Ramsey [5:15 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Suggestion to Bills general manager Tom Donahoe: Trade the No. 13 overall pick for a package of later picks, including one late in the first round. Send that pick to the Redskins for Ramsey, immediately name him starting QB and release Bledsoe (if he can’t be traded for at least a middle-round pick, and I wouldn’t count on that).'

Marker Many teams would be interested in Ramsey [5:14 AM]
ESPN reports: The Buffalo Bills, seeking an eventual successor to Drew Bledsoe, would love to have Ramsey on board.

Marker Inside slant [5:13 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'A quarterback to eventually replace Drew Bledsoe? A speed receiver or game-breaking tight end to give an offense that didn't score a touchdown in seven games some firepower? A top-shelf center or guard to fortify the middle of a line that gave up an NFL-worst 51 sacks? A pass-rushing defensive end? A cornerback if free agent Antoine Winfield moves on? Fill any one of those needs and Buffalo's a better team.'

Marker Strategy and personnel [5:12 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: '"He hasn't played in three years and it's going to take him some time to get back in the swing," Donahoe said. "But he's big and he's a good athlete and his arm was good enough. But it was a workout."'

Marker Notes, quotes, anecdotes [5:11 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'It appears the Bills weren't provided any third-party warranty by SRI. AstroPlay, comprised of synthetic blades of grass and crushed tires, has a lifespan of about eight years in extreme weather conditions like Buffalo's and the surface needs a once-a-year grooming by a ride-on broom machine. The Bills selected AstroPlay over several similar systems, including industry leader FieldTurf. "We felt this was the best surface for us and we're not second guessing our decision," Donahoe said. "It might just cause some problems maintenance wise, but we'll solve those. Our (maintenance) people can handle probably most of the jobs, but if something major were to happen, we'd probably have to go outside."'

Marker March 3rd Looms for Bills [5:10 AM] reports: 'Swinging a deal for Henson, who hasn't played football in three years, will be tricky. As a draft pick last year by the Houston Texans, he'd have to be convinced to sign for sixth round money with some fancy contract inflating footwork, or face being returned to the draft.'

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