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Buffalo Bills News - April 6, 2004

Marker Divisional draft preview: AFC East needs [3:57 PM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'Perhaps no team in the NFL has such defined needs as the Bills. Their need for a top-flight wide receiver to complement Eric Moulds screams for attention. Their need for a successor to Drew Bledsoe is also evident. Finally, their lack of a dangerous pass rusher is just as obvious.'

Marker Bills Alumni Spotlight: Art Still [9:51 AM] reports: 'At home, Still and his wife, Liz, share a philosophy. "The secret of staying young is always having one in diapers," he said. Think they don’t believe that? The Stills have 11 children: Afa, 19; Niko, 18; Aquina, 17; Meleana, 17; Luka, 16; Lanai, 15; Usala, 12; Kalani, 9; Valia, 6; Esaia, 3; and 14-month-old Faitasi.'

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April 5, 2004

Marker Zolman Shines In Spot Duty [8:46 PM] reports: 'Quarterback Greg Zolman made the most of his first NFL Europe opportunity this past weekend, completing 7-of-9 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown to help the Rhein Fire to a 26-25 victory over the Cologne Centurions. Teammate Mike Shafer, also allocated by the Bills, added a 35-yard field goal in his only attempt.'

Marker Chris Berman's Cab Driver [11:47 AM] reports: '"He told me how he grew up in Lewiston and went to Lewiston-Porter high school," said Berman. "He said he followed the Bills from their days in War Memorial stadium. He told me he had some job with the team which was somewhere between janitor and general manager, but I can't recall what it was. He had some intrinsic feel for the Bills and was hired by Mr. Wilson in the early days of the AFL, so he was probably a gopher in the old championship days. But he developed this feel with the team. So this guy is a greater Buffalo transplant who I believe has a psychic connection to the Bills, pre-wagons circling. He probably helped build a couple of the wagons that have been circled."'

Marker Inside slant [6:34 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'Rather than let a controversy simmer, Mularkey has already come out and said he will depend heavily on both players and will devise plays that utilize each player's strengths. There are several formations where both Henry and McGahee line up in the same backfield. "I've got a name for it, so it must exist," Mularkey said of that personnel grouping. "You've got two guys who can do both, catch the ball and run the ball. That will give some teams some problems. ... When you've got quality backs like that, you've got to get them on the field somehow."'

Marker Strategy and personnel [6:33 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'Among Buffalo's allotted players to NFL Europe is QB Greg Zolman, Vanderbilt's all-time passer who's with his fifth NFL team since 2002. That fact should not reflect poorly on Zolman, who has had the misfortune - or fortune, depending on how you view it - to play on teams stacked at the position. In his brief time in the league, Zolman has played behind Peyton Manning (Indianapolis), Brett Favre (Green Bay), Brad Johnson (Tampa Bay) and Kurt Warner and Marc Bulger (St. Louis). Now he's behind Drew Bledsoe.'

Marker Notes, quotes, anecdotes [6:32 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'Owner Ralph Wilson wanted a three-year extension of instant replay but went along with the five years that owners overwhelmingly approved at league meetings in Palm Beach. "I'd just as soon have gone with three years but five years is OK," Wilson said. "There are so many changes in technology. Too many people felt that in five years something better might come along."'

Marker Williams says he'll talk with Bills this week [5:16 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Despite positive talks with the Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, free agent tight end Roland Williams has not ruled out signing with his first choice, the Buffalo Bills.'

April 4, 2004

Marker Former NFL player now finding his way [4:39 PM]
Hagerstown Herald Mail reports: '"Playing in front of 80, 90 thousand people like that is really a cool thing," he said. "Even though you're getting paid for it. The camaraderie with the guys, working for a specific purpose, trying to meet a goal." But he seemed no less enthused about helping serve meals to a few dozen people at the rescue mission, having a new goal - finding a nice place to live and a good job - and lifting weights in the meantime. "I'm really looking (to) the Lord ..." he said. "Whatever He tells me to do, I'm going to do."'

Marker Will Mularkey stick as Bills coach? It's too soon to tell [9:01 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Hold off the judging of Mularkey until mid-October, at the earliest.'

Marker New era begins for Bills, John Murphy [5:15 AM]
Niagara Gazette reports: 'A 1974 graduate of DeSales, Murphy originally had planned on a legal career. Then NHL Hall of Fame broadcaster, the late Ted Darling of Lockport, helped change his mind. "Ted Darling was very helpful. One day, I worked up enough courage and knocked on his door on Locust Street just to see if he'd talk to me about broadcasting, and he did," Murphy said. "He took me inside his home and sat down with me for about an hour-and-a-half and talked to me about everything -- sports and sports broadcasting. That meant a lot."'

April 3, 2004

Marker Smith sold Brown on joining Bears [8:31 AM] reports: '"He just said the right things to me," said Brown, a salary cap casualty in Buffalo. "He was an honest guy. He didn't beat around the bush. He was straightforward. He's going to tell you like it is. There are no two ways about him. There's only one way and that's the right way."'

Marker Brown fills the bill for Bears [5:12 AM]
Chicago Sun Times reports: 'Brown came at a bargain rate. He gets a $1 million signing bonus, and the total value of the deal is $4.5 million. He can add another $800,000 with escalators tied to playing time and playoff victories.'

Marker The icing on the cake? [5:11 AM]
Arlington Heights Daily Herald reports: 'Brown said it was a mutual parting with him and the Bills, who drafted him in the first round in 1995 (14th overall). While it took Brown awhile to find a home, he said he already feels comfortable with his new team, mostly because of the feeling he got from talking to new head coach Lovie Smith, who did a masterful recruiting job.'

Marker Bears feel they hit the target with Brown [5:10 AM] reports: 'Brown, who is 32 years old, said he probably lasted this long in free agency because of his age and long tenure in Buffalo. Detroit was the only other team giving serious chase. "I knew that because at this stage of my career — 32 years old, nine years with one team — that's not common that teams come rushing out of the closet unless you're Bruce Smith, you know, one of those types of impact players," Brown said. "So I knew there was going to be more of a slow process for me."'

April 2, 2004

Marker Around the league [6:04 PM]
ESPN reports: "He's doing really well," said rookie HC Mike Mularkey, who reiterated his plans to pair McGahee and starting RB Travis Henry in some formations. "He's making cuts, running with decisiveness, and isn't hold back on anything. You can tell he's excited being back out there."

Mularkey noted at the league meetings that, while the Bills would like to get Kordell Stewart, the QB is not yet ready to concede to a backup role. And make no mistake, if he signed with the Bills, the journeyman Stewart would almost certainly be asked to reprise the "Slash" role he once played with the Steelers. The Bills really don't have on their current roster the kind of versatile athlete around whom Mularkey can scheme up some trick plays. They might be forced to add such a flexible player through the draft.

Marker NFL Europe Provides Opportunity For Zolman [3:01 PM] reports: '"The important thing for me is that I get some game experience and the Bills see what I can do in game-type situations. Other than a few snaps in preseason, I really don't have a lot of game film except for college stuff. I think it will be beneficial to get out there, get on film, and do well. I am going to do the best I can with this opportunity."'

Marker Nice guys can finish first [2:46 PM] reports: His defensive prowess almost landed him a spot in 2003 with the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena League -- the eventual AFL champions -- but it was all for naught. There just wasn't enough room on the roster. The Twisters didn't mind as he came back to Arkansas and became the go-to guy on defense. His achievements good enough to be noticed by Buffalo. The Bills signed Carter and sent him to NFL Europe training camp in Florida as a cornerback.

Marker Ex-Bills QB plans event to help fight kids' illness [5:16 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Since parents Jim and Jill Kelly created the foundation seven years ago, it has given out close to $4 million in research grants, Kelly said.'

Marker Even without football, Ingoglia's among finest [5:15 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '”Believe me, if some team still wanted me to play, I’d be out there in a heartbeat,” says Ingoglia, who spent two seasons on the Buffalo Bills practice squad and a season as Super Bowl quarterback Jake Delhomme’s teammate with the Frankfurt Galaxy in NFL Europe. ”But I knew when the Bills didn’t re-sign me after the 1998 season that my season in Europe would probably be my last hurrah in pro football. It was time to move on with my life.”'

Marker Chicago simply this Rube's kind of town [5:14 AM]
Chicago Tribune reports: '"Everybody has an opinion, and their opinions don't matter a bit," said Brown, now the oldest Bear. "I'm still healthy, still hungry and still can do the job on Sunday. I've gotten through nine years relatively unscathed and I have a lot left."'

Marker Bears bolster line further with perennial Pro Bowl guard Brown [5:13 AM]
Chicago Sun Times reports: 'Ruben Brown on Thursday agreed to a $4.5 million, three-year contract with a $1 million signing bonus and a $500,000 roster bonus due in March. With playing-time incentives, he can earn another $1 million over the final two years of the contract.'

Marker Bears add Brown to further beef up line [5:12 AM]
Arlington Heights Daily Herald reports: 'Brown will receive $1.5 million in guaranteed bonus money this season with a base salary of $1 million. The deal includes escalators based on playing time and the team's playoff performance that can increase its value over the next two seasons.'

Marker Bears sign guard Ruben Brown [5:11 AM] reports: 'The signing is a tradeoff of sorts, as former Bears right guard Chris Villarrial went to Brown's former team in free agency.'

Marker Marv Levy a cut above Super Bowl champions [5:10 AM]
San Antonio Express News reports: '"It is a unique situation to coach and play in Buffalo," Levy said. "I had one coaching friend tell me, 'Marv, no one ever wants to go to Buffalo and nobody wants to leave it.'"'

Marker NFL Europe League Kicks Off April 3 [5:09 AM] reports: 'The Bills have assigned cornerback Kahlil Carter, offensive lineman Jasen Esposito, linebacker Asa Francis, kicker and punter Mike Shafer, and quarterback Greg Zolman to develop in the NFL Europe League (NFLEL) this spring.'

Marker Brown's a Bear [5:08 AM] reports: 'Eight time Pro Bowl guard Ruben Brown is the newest member of the Chicago Bears. He agreed to three year free agent deal with the team Thursday.'

Marker No Call Back [5:07 AM] reports: 'It seemed the perfect marriage. The Buffalo Bills have been shopping for an experienced tight end. Rochester native Roland Williams was shopping for a team.'

April 1, 2004

Marker Bears agree to terms with Brown [7:58 PM]
AP reports: 'The former Buffalo Bills standout could sign as early as Friday.'

Marker Bears agree to terms with Ruben Brown [7:57 PM]
The Sports Network reports: 'The 32-year-old Brown has been selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his last eight campaigns.'

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