Buffalo Bills 2004 Unrestricted, Restricted, and Exclusive Rights Free Agents [5:15 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: The 2004 free agent period for the NFL begins on March 3 and the Bills have a total of 12 players that are either categorized as a EFA, RFA or UFA this offseason. Below is a complete list of Buffalo's 2004 free agents, broken down into their respective categories.
Bills hire Szabo to coach secondary [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Steve Szabo, who was a teammate and classmate of Roger Staubach at the Naval Academy and went on to a 34-year career as a college and pro coach, will be the Buffalo Bills' new defensive backs coach.'
Bills' Donahoe reaffirms vow to reach his AFC East rival's level. [5:18 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'New coach Mike Mularkey, the former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator, was hired for his past skill in blending the run and the pass. “We believe in what we believe and we know it’ll work,” Donahoe said. “We just have to stay consistent with our philosophy and our plan and do it better.”'
Bills add DB coach [5:17 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'The only staff opening left is quarterbacks coach, and Mularkey has interviewed ex-Cincinnati and Tampa Bay head coach Sam Wyche. He may also hire a special assistant.'
Miller recovering [5:16 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Van Miller, the longtime voice of the Bills, is recuperating in a Buffalo hospital following surgery for diverticulitis and will not attend Thursday’s Rochester Press-Radio Club Day of Champions dinner.'
Insanely early 2004 NFL predictions: AFC East [5:15 AM]
Fox Sports reports: 'New head coach Mike Mularkey will open up the offense with gadget plays and fun not seen in these parts since the K-Gun offense of the late '80s and early '90s. This team is fully capable of reaching the postseason party.'
Just what is the Patriots blueprint? [5:14 AM]
WGRZ-TV reports: 'But while the Patriots o-line improved and Weis’ offensive system was the right one for his personnel, the Bills crashed and burned with the wrong system for the wrong personnel, and Bledsoe became the focal point of the criticism. While some of that criticism was certainly deserved, Bledsoe was by no means the main problem in 2003.'
Bills hire Szabo to coach DBs [2:59 PM]
AP reports: 'Mularkey's staff is all but complete, depending on whether he hires a quarterbacks coach. Former Cincinnati and Tampa Bay head coach Sam Wyche is being considered for that job.'
Szabo Added To Bills' Coaching Staff [2:09 PM]
WGR-AM reports: 'Szabo replaces Steve Jackson, who left to join Gregg Williams in Washington.'
Bills Hire Szabo To Coach Secondary [2:00 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: 'Szabo (pronounced ZAY-bo) spent this past season as a volunteer assistant coach with the New England Patriots. Prior to that he coached linebackers with the Jacksonville Jaguars from 1994-02 under Tom Coughlin and in 2004 he will be entering his 35th season in coaching.'
Dodge Celebrity benefits United Way [11:10 AM]
Golden Gate Gazette reports: 'This inaugural celebrity golf tournament is a fundraising event to benefit the Hunter's Hope Foundation, a non-profit organization established in 1997 by Hall of Fame quarterback of the Buffalo Bills, Jim Kelly and his wife Jill after their son Hunter was diagnosed with Krabbe Leukodystrophy. Kelly and several former and current Buffalo Bills players as well as other professional athletes, including Dan Marino, Bruce Smith and Bernie Kosar, will make their way to Southwest Florida to participate.'
Bills Web site ranked fourth among pro teams [8:54 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'This is the second time Sports Business Journal and UMass have undertaken this review. In 2002, buffalobills.com also was ranked fourth overall.'
Wyche, Henson interest the Bills [5:20 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'The Bills are committed to veteran Drew Bledsoe at least through 2004, but president and general manager Tom Donahoe reiterated on Monday that the team is doing some long-range planning at the position.'
Bledsoe needs wins for his ticket to Hall [5:19 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'It must have been difficult for Bledsoe to watch his former team win two of the last three Super Bowls, but the new coaching regime of the Buffalo Bills can only hope that the pass-happy QB will buy into the predominantly running attack the team is expected to emphasize in 2004.'
Bledsoe's RV on eBay [5:18 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Meyers RV Superstores is auctioning off Buffalo Bills quarterback Drew Bledsoe’s Winnebago Ultimate Freedom motorhome on eBay through Saturday until 4:55 p.m.'
Drew Bledsoe's Winnebago Ultimate 40ED [5:17 AM]
EBay.com reports: 'Has never been registered, the title is brand new!'
Bills consider Wyche as QB coach [4:34 PM]
AP reports: 'Wyche interviewed for the job with new Bills coach Mike Mularkey last week, a team spokesman said on Monday. Mularkey is also seeking a defensive backs coach to round out his staff.'
Bills Website Ranks Among the Best In Sports [1:02 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: 'In a recent study conducted by Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal and the University of Massachusetts Graduate Sports Communications program, buffalobills.com ranked fourth out of 131 professional sports team web sites.'
Despite recent trends, elite QBs still matter [9:12 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Look for the Buffalo Bills to investigate the possibility of acquiring the rights to Drew Henson, the former University of Michigan quarterback who has struggled in the New York Yankees' minor-league chain.'
Bills' Super defeats ‘never go away' [5:20 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '“You think about what might have been, had we won, not just one of the games, but all four,” Talley says. “I’m greedy. I wanted to win them all, but gee, if it was just one, how kind would history be? We have a number of guys who will go to Canton and a number of us will be sitting on the fence, not knowing and wondering.”'
Hansen: Waiting two weeks is a factor [5:19 AM]
Fargo Forum reports: 'The Bills, of course, lost all three Super Bowls in which Hansen played. So when asked for his analysis of today’s game, Hansen offered his opinions before adding -- humorously -- “However … since we lost all the games I played in, what do I know?” In Hansen’s three Super Bowls, the Bills had both one-week and two-week breaks before the games. So he is confident Patriots and Panthers players will have had their fill after two weeks of pre-Super Bowl pomp and circumstance. “Everybody wants a piece of you,” Hansen said.'
Milloy is still a fan [5:18 AM]
Nashua Telegraph reports: '“This is their show,” Milloy said of his former teammates. “I’m here to support them. Hey, you know? I don’t even talk about the game. A lot of them know what to do, a lot of them have already been there. Just like any fan or any family (member), I try not to bother them. It should be business. There’s plenty of time to talk after this game. . . . That’s one thing you the media don’t see, are the friendships. I have a lot of friends over there and I support them.”'
Milloy from sidelines: No regrets [9:23 AM]
Metro West Daily News reports: 'In terms of wins and losses, Milloy got the short shrift. His new team, the Buffalo Bills, finished 6-10 and fired their head coach. Meanwhile, the Patriots went 14-2, allowed the fewest points in the league, and are in their second Super Bowl in three years. But Milloy got what he wanted, a lucrative four-year, $10 million deal in which $6.75 million was earned in 2003. He would have been paid $3 million in New England.'
Milloy visits old pals [9:21 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'Milloy, who remains very close friends with Ty Law [news] and Tom Brady [news], said he plans to support his former teammates but hasn't bothered to talk football with them. ``You know what, I don't even talk about the game,'' he said. ``I think they know what to do. A lot of them have already been there. Just like any fan or any family, I try not to bother them. It should be business. There's plenty of time to talk after this game. I'm here to support them. This is their show.'''
Milloy here, then gone, but not forgotten [5:16 AM]
Palm Beach Post reports: 'Milloy won't be wearing a Patriots jersey Sunday because the team believed he wasn't worth a $5.25 million salary and he wasn't willing to take a significant cut. "Two days before the Super Bowl, I'd make the same decision," Milloy said. "The bottom line is, at that point, (the Patriots) weren't about winning championships. It's easy now to say that, because they're doing well. But I made the right decision. Now that they have more wins the story is different. But that was a business decision."'
Milloy stops by, says he’ll be rooting for Pats [5:15 AM]
Woonsocket Call reports: '"We lost a lot of close games, where New England won the close games," he said. "That's the difference in this league. So you have to know how to win those close games and that's what we didn't do last year. I've talked to Drew after the end of the season and our focus is on next year. Last year was very unusual for him and for me. It just didn't work out."'
Nice rebound for Pats [8:59 PM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'Bills linebacker Takeo Spikes just shook his head at the memory yesterday, amazed at how good his team looked and how putrid the Patriots appeared. "It's nice to be (at the Super Bowl) but not under these circumstances," said Spikes, in town for the Super Bowl festivities. "I mean we beat those guys badly."'
Levy To Serve As Honorary Pro Bowl Coach [4:37 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: '"I am looking forward to going back to the sidelines very much. It is an honorary coaching position and I am looking forward to working with the Indianapolis Colts staff. Their offense is very similar to what we ran when I was in Buffalo and I have a lot of respect for their coaching staff. It will be wonderful to be on the field again with all of the great players. It is going to be nice weather in Hawaii and I am looking forward to being there."'
Bledsoe assesses 'frustrating' season [4:36 PM]
Portland Tribune reports: '"Frustrating," he says. "The style of offense we were forced to play was dramatically different than a year ago. We were set up personnelwise to play a lot more conservative style, but at times we tried to play the same style as last year. We just didn't have the personnel for it."'
Spikes Excited About First Pro Bowl Trip [3:59 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: '"I am happy that Coach Gray is staying because stability has always been very important to me. I always wanted to feel comfortable with the people and the system that they have in place, and right now in Buffalo I feel comfortable. We don't have to learn a new system this year, we can just let our athletic ability take over without even thinking about the system. I felt like from week eight through 16, our defense really picked it up and played to its ability, so I am excited that everyone is still in tact and that we still have the chemistry that we had last year. Now we are catching on."'
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