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Buffalo Bills News - July 25, 2000

Marker Dolphins find unlikely ally in Bresnahan [6:46 AM]
Miami Herald reports: 'They asked the former Buffalo Bills offensive line coach to cast aside the strongest NFL bond he forged over a 37-year career and help the AFC East rival Dolphins. Bresnahan responded in heroic fashion. He was on a cross-country flight the next morning . . . and on the field coaching Miami's linemen the morning after that. "There was no decision to make," Bresnahan says. "I mean, I checked with my wife, but she was going to urope with her sister and I wasn't invited -- I would have been scrambling."'

Marker All eyes focus on top pick's entrance [6:10 AM]
D and C reports: 'The team's first-round draft choice out of Arizona State ended his four-day contract holdout late Sunday, and was on the field for the first time yesterday at St. John Fisher College. All eyes are fixed on No. 96, the first defensive end drafted by the Bills since a guy named Bruce Smith back in 1985. With Smith now wearing Washington Redskins colors and veteran Marcellus Wiley recovering from back surgery, Flowers will get immediate playing time, something that should help his career blossom sooner than normal. "He's ready to play. He obviously has been working out," coach Wade Phillips said. "He didn't miss anything we didn't go over in our June mini-camp, so he seemed to fit right in."'

Marker Undrafted Cavil is eager to contribute [6:09 AM]
D and C reports: '"I hate the cold," he said at training camp yesterday. "And I've seen about two inches of snow in my whole life. So where do I end up? Buffalo." Somebody down here likes Cavil, too. The Buffalo Bills. "He's looking pretty good," Eric Moulds said. "He's big, fast and strong. That's hard to find in a receiver."'

Marker Bills prefer grass, not turf, at Fisher [6:07 AM]
D and C reports: 'Artificial turf causes wear and tear on the joints of the body, not to mention scrapes and "turf burns" to the skin during a fall or tackle. That's why all the drills are taking place on the grass practice fields. "You want to save your knees and legs and everything," punter Chris Mohr said. "We've always practiced on grass. We don't even practice on the Astroturf in Buffalo." That goes for the kickers, too. "The grass is just so much easier on the body," kicker Steve Christie said. "I'd rather stay on the grass as long as possible."'

Marker On our honeymoon, we watched the Bills! [6:06 AM]
D and C reports: 'The couple met about five years ago at a concert, and the first questions Gary asked were: Do you smoke and Who's your favorite football team? Shari answered "No" to the first one and "Bills" to the second. "When she told me Bills, I said, 'That's so cool,' " said Gary, whose late father hooked him on the team years ago. When Bills officials heard the Kums were on their honeymoon, they invited the couple to the camp's VIP section. Following the morning practice, Gary and Shari began their Finger Lakes vacation. They hope to take in a regular-season game at Ralph Wilson Stadium this fall.'

Marker Christie cherishes the 'sunshine' of kids [6:05 AM]
D and C reports: 'Christie has been with the Bills for nine seasons, and in that time he has broken most of the team records for kicking and scoring. But the 59-yard field goal and the 12 game-winning three-pointers pale in comparison to his work with Camp Good Days and Special Times. Continuing a tradition begun by former Bills kicker Scott Norwood, Christie donates money to the camp for each field goal he converts. Camp founder and director Gary Mervis says Christie has helped raise more than a quarter of a million dollars since becoming involved. The money has been used to construct a 35- by 18-foot arts and crafts building on the campgrounds near Keuka Lake.'

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July 24, 2000

Marker Defense shows it's speed [11:47 PM]
Shout! reports: 'The Bills worked in their dime defense for a substantial amount of the afternoon practice. The dime line consisted of Erik Flowers at left end, Shawn Price at left tackle, Phil Hansen at right tackle and Sam Rogers at right end. Rogers, of course, is filling in for the injured Wiley.'

Marker Flowers sheds nerves in Bills camp debut [8:29 PM]
AP reports: 'Four days late, rookie defensive end Erik Flowers felt like all eyes were on him Monday morning. "It kind of reminds you of being a little five-year-old going to kindergarten class, but being late and everybody's watching you as you walk through the door," Flowers said after making his debut at Buffalo Bills training camp. "I was a little nervous during the beginning of the drills. But things started to fit in a little bit."'

Marker Marv Levy met with cheers at Buffalo Bills training camp [8:20 PM]
AP reports: 'Regarding Buffalo's many off-season moves, Levy said he became sentimental when the team cut veterans Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas and Andre Reed last February. "I hated to see those three last remnants of all four Super Bowls go," he said, adding that he called all three of them the day after it was announced. "But I realize that faces change. When I first started coaching, Merlin Olsen and Deacon Jones were on the team I was coaching. It changes." Still, Levy remains impressed with his former team. "If I'm into predictions, and I will do this on my show, I'm going to say it's Indianapolis or Buffalo in the (AFC) East," Levy said. "(The Bills) have good depth at quarterback, excellent receivers. I'm impressed how they've kept the team going."'

Marker Former SU star Byrd leaves Bills' camp; Flowers signed [11:40 AM]
Syracuse Post-Standard reports: 'Former Syracuse University wide receiver David Byrd reportedly packed his belongings and left the Buffalo Bills training camp Sunday, stating he needed to attend to family problems, according to a source close to the NFL team...The Buffalo Bills signed rookie defensive end Erik Flowers on Sunday, the last of the team's eight draft picks to sign.'

Marker Buffalo Bills Survivor: The Winner!!! [11:06 AM]
TBD reports: The 15th castaway has been voted off Buffalo Bills Island, leaving only one survivor standing - Mr. Buffalo Bill! The voting wasn't lopsided, but it wasn't close either. The vote count was 110 to 64. Who won - Kelly or Tasker?

Marker Flutie acting out a real 'Second String' role [8:59 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Critics have said Flutie needs to stop wallowing in self-pity and get over it. They feel his constant harping on the past might have a negative effect on the team's preparation for the season. Don't buy it. It's highly doubtful Flutie's words bother the Bills one bit. If fact, they are glad to have a backup who believes he is worthy of being a starter. Furthermore, Phillips knows his team is in great shape at quarterback with a talented young starter and a proven veteran in reserve. You can count on one finger the number of NFL teams who have the same luxury.'

Marker Johnson aims to stay free of injuries [8:58 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I'm not tired of hearing it (avoiding injury problems) because I want to do it," he said. "It's good motivation. I haven't done it yet. A lot of quarterbacks get hurt. You just have to stay away from the big injury. The hits you take, with the size of the guys hitting you, you're going to get some bumps and bruises week to week. You just have to avoid the things that keep you out a long time." "I can play with pain. It's not that. It's just the injuries I've had. The ribs are tough to play with quarterback-wise because it's tough to throw. The head was a fluke thing that I hope never happens again. I just have to stay away from the unlucky breaks."'

Marker Flowers finally signs contract, will practice today [8:56 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'So Flowers' deal figured to fall between $5.5 million and $6 million over five years with a signing bonus of $2 million to $2.5 million.'

Marker Rochester, Buffalo 2 cities, 1 team [6:34 AM]
Business First of Buffalo reports: 'Gaining support from Rochester-based corporations is one of the keys to the franchise's ability to compete financially in the NFL. Buffalo-area fans of the Bills may shudder at the thought of having to share their team with another city, but the economic reality of professional sports speaks to greater priorities -- survival. Population projections support the Bills' broad-based marketing strategy. The Buffalo metropolitan area continues to shrink, ranking among the NFL's smallest. By 2025, the region that stood among the nation's 20 largest markets when Ralph Wilson brought the team here in 1959, will be close to falling out of the top 50. While the loss of population put the Bills at a competitive disadvantage with its NFL brethren, the corresponding erosion of private sector businesses based here has created greater obstacles. When companies such as Trico, Bethlehem Steel and National Gypsum cut back their operations or moved, the core of corporate support here withered even as major professional sports franchises increasingly turned to local business in search of sponsorships. By stretching the Bills market, companies such as Wegmans are taking a higher profile in the team's marketing plans. The direct appeal to fans becomes stronger as well, as the players spend three weeks in Rochester each summer.'

Marker Levy evokes memories [6:18 AM]
D and C reports: 'Levy had a roster in his hands, and he said he counted only 21 players who were with the team when he last coached. Of course, the three most notable absences were Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas and Andre Reed, all of whom were released in February. "I hated to see those last three remnants of all four Super Bowls go, but there are young players and things change," said Levy, a hint of sadness in his voice. "But I've said this before, when Babe Ruth left, Joe DiMaggio came, and when DiMaggio left, Mickey Mantle came. There is a changing of the guard. "When I came into my last camp, Jim Kelly (who retired following the 1996 season) wasn't there. If you coach long enough, great stars are going to leave. There was quite a bit of sentiment when I heard they were releasing them. John had told me a couple days before, and he told me it was going to be one of the toughest things he'd have to do."'

Marker Jackson learning playbook [6:17 AM]
D and C reports: 'The second-year player, a seventh-round draft choice out of Nebraska, is one of the busiest players in the Bills camp as he is trying to learn two positions -- tight end and fullback. "For a guy in his second year in the league, that's about as tough as it gets," Jackson said yesterday during a break at St. John Fisher College. "I can't think of anything harder, other than playing quarterback, than to have to learn two positions. "There's no real scheme to it, you just know when you're playing tight end you think about playing tight end, and when you're playing fullback you think like a fullback and just go with it."'

Marker Panos makes a forceful return [6:16 AM]
D and C reports: '"I haven't felt healthy like this in a long time," said the hard-nosed Buffalo Bills offensive guard, who missed the 1999 season after underdoing neck surgery. "I've never taken for granted what I have, but I do appreciate it all the more. This training camp isn't drudgery at all for me."'

Marker Bills: Camp fans make a difference [6:14 AM]
D and C reports: 'Yesterday, there were approximately 8,000 sets of eyes providing analysis from the stands and hillside. The crowd, believed by the Bills to be the largest ever for a basic training-camp session, again made a routine practice a little more fun for the players. "With all these people, it's like you have a game-day atmosphere," said second-year wide receiver Jeremy McDaniel. Life at St. John Fisher College already is better than the Bills believed it would be, and the players appreciate it. "People love to play the game but don't let anyone fool you, people love playing in front of the fans, too," said second-year tight end and fullback Sheldon Jackson.'

July 23, 2000

Marker Bills Sign DE Flowers [11:21 PM]
AP reports: 1st round draft choice, Eric Flowers, is in Rochester with a new contract and will practice Monday morning.

Marker New NFL elite might not have long stay at top [9:17 AM]
Baltimore Sun reports: 'Contenders: Buffalo: No team has done a better job in the salary-cap era than the Bills. Now they have to show they can do it without the veteran leadership of Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas and Andre Reed. They also lost three other starters from their defense that was ranked No. 1 last season and didn't sign a single unrestricted free agent. On offense, quarterback Rob Johnson has to prove he can stay healthy and keep Doug Flutie on the bench.'

Marker Antowain toes the line in backfield competition [9:00 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'This is an important year for Smith, who is entering the last year of his contract. The Bills are still committed to him, but he must avoid the injury bug and re-establish himself as the elite running back in the offense. "It's basically put up or shut up," said Smith, who ran for 1,124 yards in 1998. "I'm at the point now where I know I have to produce. I won't say I've got something to prove to myself, but I want to go out there and let my teammates and the coaching staff know that I am the guy that can carry this team."'

Marker Wilson says charging for camp is not in club's future [8:59 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson is not a proponent of such money-making devices. He said he would never force fans to pay to watch practice. "Not as long as I've got a pulse," he said. "We just like to get as many fans out as possible to build up some enthusiasm and interest in the team now through the regular season. Whatever other people do, it's up to them. But we wouldn't do it. It might prevent some people from coming. We're trying to attract more fans, not turn them away."'

Marker Sixteen isn't so sweet for Bills defense [8:58 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '""We're not much different than we were last season,"" Cottrell says. ""We planned for Bruce Smith's leaving by drafting Marcellus Wiley three years ago and Erik Flowers this year. We like Keith Newman (the replacement for departed linebacker Gabe Northern) a lot. Antoine Winfield, our new right corner (in place of Thomas Smith), proved he could play last season. ""The only real surprise was Kurt Schulz signing as a free agent (with the Detroit Lions), but we have some good athletes at the free safety position."" Cottrell likes his unit again, and its performance in the Saturday morning training session at its St. John Fisher College base seemed to back his opinion.'

Marker Flutie put on hold by Bills [6:28 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'Doug Flutie may not be the starting quarterback, but he could have a special role in the Buffalo Bills offence. At the end of practice yesterday, Flutie was the holder on field-goal attempts, replacing punter Chris Mohr, who usually is assigned the chore. Included in the special-teams drill were a number of fake field-goal trick plays. "It was nothing, we were just trying a few things," said Flutie, who remains wildly popular with Bills fans, judging by the lineups to get his autograph.'

Marker Smith gets historical [6:27 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'Smith isn't longing for legendary Bills Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed and Bruce Smith, who were released by the Bills in the off-season and moved to the Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins respectively. Antowain Smith just wants to regain the form that two years ago had him touted as the featured runner in the Bills backfield and logical successor to Thomas. And Smith may be ready. A rigorous off-season training program has the 28-year-old in the best shape of his three-year pro career.'

Marker Forget Big Three; Bills have leaders [6:17 AM]
D and C reports: 'Forgive the lack of sentimentality, but missing the Big Three is like missing a toothache. After 15 seasons, their absence is a much needed breath of fresh air. Any more harping on life without them demeans the quality of the current team, denying a horde of Bills their long overdue recognition as leaders. Thirty-something veterans Phil Hansen, Henry Jones, Ted Washington, John Fina, Jerry Ostroski and Sam Rogers cast a quiet confidence any team with championship aspirations can build around.'

Marker Football, fun, sun for $1 [6:15 AM]
D and C reports: 'From the up-close look at the players on the practice field to the interactive football games on the artificial turf of Growney Stadium, fans are treated to hours of entertainment all for the price of a $1 shuttle bus ride.'

Marker Lighter Brown faces test blocking [6:14 AM]
D and C reports: '"Guys were saying I lost too much weight, but I'm moving good and I feel strong," he said. "I may have lost a little bit of strength because I was up to 325 and obviously I'm not going to be as strong as a 325-pounder, but I'm quicker, I feel more energetic and hopefully I can stay injury-free during the season. "That's the main thing, you work out and exercise so your body will be able to take the abuse during the season." Through weightlifting, Brown figures he will go up to the 295-pound range by the time the season starts.'

Marker Smith looks regain form of 1998 [6:12 AM]
D and C reports: '"My main focus coming into camp was to stay healthy throughout the season, and that's a hard thing to do," said Smith. "I just want to get back to the form that I know I'm capable of. "I know what I can do when I'm healthy and I think my teammates believe in me, it's just a matter of me staying healthy and showcasing my talents."'

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