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Buffalo Bills News - March 15, 2004

Marker Inside slant [5:15 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'Buffalo would love to land Vincent, a five-time Pro Bowler who at age 32 hasn't lost much. He'd replace Winfield and add tons of leadership. However, the Cincinnati Bengals, after clearing $4-5 million in cap space after releasing ex-Bill Jeff Burris, were in the driver's seat for Vincent as the weekend approached. Vincent played for Bengals defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier in Philadelphia. Carolina and Kansas City are also in the running for Vincent.'

Marker Strategy and personnel [5:14 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'Defensive end - Bills pass rush was spotty, despite Aaron Schobel's 11.5 sacks, helping to explain their NFL-low 18 takeaways. Team has spent second-round picks on Ryan Denney and Chris Kelsay the past two seasons with very little return so far.'

Marker Notes, quotes, anecdotes [5:13 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'The Bills may regret not going after rising young receiver Justin McCareins of Tennessee, a restricted free agent the rival New York Jets picked up in a trade for a second-round pick. McCareins averaged 17 yards per catch last season and is a rising deep threat, something Buffalo needs. Now the Bills will have to face him twice a season.'

Marker Is it McGahee's time to shine? [5:12 AM]
NY Football Digest reports: 'In my opinion, Willis McGahee needs to prove he can handle the every day grind of being a professional running back. If he makes it through mini-camp and the exhibition season unhurt, he could be a major factor for the Bills this year. I do believe it is McGahee’s time to shine. The only question is, will he take the opportunity and run with it.'

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March 14, 2004

Marker Notes: Still some meat left on those free-agent scraps [11:17 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: The Bills got the best bargain guard, Chris Villarrial, the former Bear who might be the best of the three. He got a four-year deal that averages $2.82 million, which is relatively mild compared to the other two deals. But even $2.8 million is a lot to pay for a guard. They should be developed, not acquired in free agency. And if you do want a veteran, sign that player to a two or three-year deal with a minimal signing bonus and an average of about $1 to $1.5 million. They're guards after all.

Marker 2004 Free Agency [10:57 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: 2004 Players Signed: Chris Villarrial; 2003 Players lost: Ruben Brown, Sam Gash, Keith McKenzie, Dave Moore, Sammy Morris, DaShon Polk, Dainon Sidney, Antoine Winfield

Marker Prudence needed if Donahoe is to keep Bills on path to success [9:01 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'But the Bills have been reluctant, and wisely so, to overpay for the sake of quickly closing the deal. Signing the best player available to an excessive pact, becoming a buyer in an overinflated market, amounts to compromising the future for the benefit of immediate gratification.'

Marker Pats winning streak over [6:01 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'In Buffalo, the Bills have decided to follow the Patriots' approach to free agency. They released Pro Bowl guard Ruben Brown and didn't make an offer to retain corner Antoine Winfield because they were no longer ``value players.'' They were both solid starters, but neither played to the level of his contract. Off they went. Brown, still unsigned, was scheduled to count $5.8 million on the Bills' salary cap. Winfield signed with Minnesota for $35 million over six years, including a $10.8 million signing bonus. Replacing Winfield will be difficult because he did play well. But with only one interception in the last 37 games, the Bills felt that their money could be better used in other areas.'

March 13, 2004

Marker Bills in holding pattern [5:16 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Many general managers and coaches are attending college pro days — Ohio State showcased its potential draft picks on Friday — making the signing of free agents at this point an exercise in creative scheduling.'

Marker Some notes on the Hawks and the Bills [5:15 AM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'Several fullbacks have auditioned in Orchard Park as it appears Buffalo won’t re-sign 35-year-old Sam Gash. And the Bills’ interest in quarterback Drew Henson and, to a lesser extent, Tennessee’s Billy Volek, has been well-documented. Clearly the NFL minimum for a 10-year veteran is way too much money for a soon-to-be 34-year-old journeyman, no matter how popular he is in the lockerroom.'

Marker Dolphins add tackle and fullback [5:14 AM]
AP reports: 'Morris, who played his first four NFL seasons in Buffalo, will back up Rob Konrad and play on special teams.'

Marker Dolphins sign free agent FB Morris, OT St. Clair [5:13 AM]
Sportsticker reports: '"Sammy Morris adds several different dimensions to our backfield, having played fullback, halfback and serving as the third-down back," Dolphins general manager Rick Spielman said. "He was a leader on the Bills' special teams unit the last few seasons and was their captain, and we expect that he will have the same impact with our team."'

March 12, 2004

Marker Dolphins hope to bring in Boston in by Monday [4:52 PM]
ESPN reports: 'Morris, 26, is a solid reserve back who can also return kickoffs. He signed a two-year deal, details of which were not immediately known, after also being courted by Cleveland and New England. The former Texas Tech star was a fifth-round choice of the Buffalo Bills in 2000. He played well as a rookie, then was buried on the depth chart, as the Bills brought in several other tailbacks.'

Marker Guard Ross Tucker is Starting With a Goal [4:51 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: '"I knew I wanted to stay with the Bills," Tucker said. "They approached my agent before the Super Bowl about maybe doing a long-term deal. It was something I was interested in.'

Marker No visit set for Volek with Bills [8:52 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Bills Vice President of Communications Scott Berchtold said quarterbacks coach Sam Wyche has not made plans to scout the unrestricted free agent, as sources told The News on Wednesday. Berchtold said he could not comment on the possibility of a future visit by the Bills with Volek but that none currently has been set.;

Marker Bills aren't the only ones chasing QB Volek [5:16 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Volek visited with the Atlanta Falcons for a second time on Thursday and has already mulled over two contract proposals, said agent Ken Staninger. Volek has also met with Denver and Green Bay.'

Marker Volek's NFL tour in Atlanta again [5:15 AM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: 'Also yesterday, Buffalo Bills officials denied they had planned to send quarterbacks coach Sam Wyche to Nashville on Sunday to visit with Volek, but they would not comment on whether they now planned to visit with Volek at any other point in the coming days.'

Marker Falcons up ante for Volek [5:14 AM]
Nashville City Paper reports: '“I don’t know about the Buffalo thing,” Staninger said. “The only thing I do know is they talked to Billy [Wednesday] about coming down there. Sometimes people are coming through to look at college players and such, and could stop and take a look along the way. But if it’s scheduled, I don’t know anything about, and you’d think as his agent, that if anything was scheduled, I’d know about it.”'

Marker Boston trade draws near [5:13 AM]
Miami Herald reports: 'Fullback Sammy Morris signed a two-year deal to be a backup, agent Mark Slough said. Morris signed a two-year contract and will be introduced today at a news conference. The Dolphins won a mild bidding war with division-rival New England for the former Buffalo back. ''It was down to Miami and New England. Miami stepped up and was more aggressive,'' Slough said.'

Marker Dolphins land Rams' St. Clair, reportedly closes in on Chargers' Boston [5:12 AM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: 'Morris, who played his first four NFL seasons in Buffalo, will replace the departed Femi Ayanbadejo (Arizona) as Rob Konrad's backup and play a prominent role on special teams.'

Marker Dolphins working on deal for Boston [5:11 AM]
Palm Beach Post reports: 'The Dolphins also agreed to a two-year contract with Sammy Morris, a pass-catching running back who played the past four seasons in Buffalo. Morris, 6 feet and 220 pounds, had 14 catches for 100 yards and 19 rushes for 70 yards last season. He could replace fullback Obafemi Ayanbadejo, who left for Arizona, or back up Ricky Williams if Travis Minor leaves as a restricted free agent. Morris is considered an excellent special-teams player, with 38 career tackles.'

Marker Bills Lose Special Captain [5:10 AM]
RNews.com reports: 'Morris spent the first four years of his NFL career in Buffalo. A little undersized for full time duty in the backfield, Morris caught 14 balls for 100 yards last season. He ran for another 70. Miami gave Morris a two year deal.'

March 11, 2004

Marker Dolphins sign Buffalo running back [8:18 PM]
Palm Beach Post reports: 'The Dolphins have agreed to a two-year contract with Sammy Morris, a pass-catching running back/fullback who played the last four seasons in Buffalo.'

Marker Bills Alumni Spotlight: Mike Stratton [5:22 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: '"I don’t think there was any one that was better timed than that one and it wasn’t due to my skill of trying to time the tackle," Stratton said. "I think it was due to my fear that Lincoln was going to catch the ball and his feet were going to hit the ground before I got to him and then I might miss him. So I was driven more by fear than anything else. It was a good collision. I felt it and I knew that he felt it. I didn’t know what would happen. I was happy in some ways that he was not coming back into the game because he had already given us fits, but I was also happy that he didn’t seem to be that badly hurt. So it sort of worked out well."'

Marker Saying goodbye to the Bills’ king of candor [4:41 PM]
Rochester City Newspaper reports: I met Winfield in April 1999 after Buffalo drafted him 23rd overall. I wrote for the independent Bills publication Shout!, and was assigned to ghostwrite an ongoing diary chronicling a player's rookie year. We chose Winfield, figuring there wouldn't be any better subject than the team's first pick. As it turned out, there probably weren't many better subjects in the NFL.

Marker Bills' Wyche to scout free-agent QB Volek [8:53 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills are fully committed to Drew Bledsoe for the 2004 season and are not expected to be eager to bring in a quarterback who would be considered a serious threat to their starter. Volek, given his apprenticeship in the Titans' system, would be more of a threat than Henson. Bledsoe is due to receive a contract bonus in November and his future with the team beyond this year depends on his performance.'

Marker Volek, Bills will meet here [6:09 AM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: 'Sunday, the Bills are scheduled to meet with Volek in Nashville.'

Marker Dolphins, Boston share an interest [6:08 AM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: 'The Dolphins and free-agent fullback Sammy Morris started contract negotiations Wednesday but didn't reach an agreement. The Dolphins want Morris, who played with Buffalo the past four seasons, as a backup to Rob Konrad after Femi Ayanbadejo signed last Saturday with Arizona.'

March 10, 2004

Marker Roland Williams Could be a Bill [12:27 PM]
WOKR-TV reports: The Bills are in need of a backup TE to play behind Mark Campbell. Roland Williams is a free agent since being released by Bucaneers. The talks between Williams and the Bills are considered to be in the preliminary stages at the moment.

Marker 2 players mulling Patriots' offers [5:17 AM]
Providence Journal reports: 'Morris, who's been a valuable special teams player the past three seasons in Buffalo, visited the Miami Dolphins yesterday, according to his agent, Mark Slough. Earlier, Morris met with the Cleveland Browns. Slough pointed out that two of the teams interested in his client had to face Morris a combined four times each season. "I don't think that's coincidence," Slough said of the interest in Morris, a 6-foot, 220-pounder. "Obviously, they scout the division closely and know what people can do."'

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