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Buffalo Bills News - May 20, 2001

Marker No surprise as Bills release Antowain Smith [8:48 AM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'A straight-ahead power runner, Antowain was neither elusive, nor a particularly gifted blocker. But his worst short-coming was two skillet hands that caught only 38 passes in four seasons with Buffalo.'

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May 19, 2001

Marker Arrival of Rogers spells send-off for QB Moreno [10:11 AM]
San Diego Union Tribune reports: 'Rogers was selected by Buffalo...in the second round of the 1994 draft. He started 11 games last season and 79 of 101 in seven seasons with the Bills, but in San Diego he is expected to split time with Gerald Dixon on the strong side.'

Marker Bills drop Antowain Smith [9:00 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Buffalo Bills freed up salary cap room for their rookies Friday. Guess how they did it? By releasing Antowain Smith. Big surprise there.'

Marker Bills finally cut Smith [7:15 AM]
D and C reports: 'The move cleared $1.25 million -- Smith's base salary -- in cap space. Approximately $352,000 in unaccounted bonus money will count toward Buffalo's 2001 cap, a "hit" the team could've spread out over two seasons had Smith been released on June 1. The amount wasn't significant enough to take advantage of the loophole.'

Marker Bills plan larger camp [7:13 AM]
D and C reports: 'Fearing injuries to players, former coaches Marv Levy and Wade Phillips eliminated full-speed contact from their camp practices. But the energetic Williams, 42, is from a different school.'

May 18, 2001

Marker Chargers sign Rogers, release Moses Moreno [9:11 PM]
AP reports: 'In his career he has 500 tackles, 21 1/2 sacks, two interceptions, six forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries.'

Marker Bills release RB Antowain Smith [9:05 PM]
Sportsticker reports: '"We liked what we saw in minicamp from our young running backs and want to give them every opportunity possible," said Bills president and general manager Tom Donahoe after waiving Smith.'

Marker Chargers sign LB Sam Rogers to five-year deal [8:12 PM]
Sportsticker reports: 'Rogers, who turns 31 on May 30, started 11 games last season and had 74 tackles, five sacks, one interception and forced three fumbles. The 6-3, 245-pounder missed the final five games of the season with a torn groin muscle.'

Marker When minimum is too much [6:42 PM]
Fox Sports reports: Alex Van Pelt doesn't suffer from delusions of grandeur. The Buffalo quarterback has a handle on his skills and his value to the team. Sometimes, that's not enough. For a handful of backup players on every club in the NFL, the union that was organized to protect their interests often prices them out of the market with the veteran minimum. That happened to Van Pelt last season before a training-camp injury opened the door to his return. "Exactly,'' Van Pelt said. "I was like hey, my union is supposed to be out there helping me, and instead, it's keeping me out of work.''

Marker Bills release Antowain Smith [6:40 PM]
AP reports: 'Along with slashing $1.25 million from their salary cap-strapped payroll, the move allows the Bills to concentrate on developing their youngsters.'

Marker Release of Antowain Smith creates salary cap room [3:17 PM]
TBD reports: The expected release of Antowain Smith creates much needed cap room for the Bills. According to the NFLPA, Smith was scheduled to earn $1.25 million in 2001. That money will be needed to sign the 2001 draft choices. Since this is the last year of Smith's contract, accelerated bonus money was not an issue with his release.

Marker Bills Release Antowain Smith [2:57 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: The Bills today released running back Antowain Smith. Smith was the team's first-round draft choice in 1997 and put together his most productive season in 1998 when he rushed for 1,124 yards as the starting running back. He started 11 games in 1999 and saw limited action last season, rushing for 354 yards.

"We liked what we saw in mini-camp from our young running backs and want to give them every opportunity possible," said Bills President/General Manager Tom Donahoe. "We have also added Larry Centers to our backfield and feel confident about the attributes he brings to our club."

Marker Centers centers on Bills [7:33 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: 'Larry Centers talks to the media about his role in the Bills' West Coast Offence, and how he wants to be part of a Super Bowl contender in Buffalo.'

May 17, 2001

Marker How did the Bills get their nickname? [11:29 PM]
TBD reports: '...given in an obituary from the Buffalo News (December 25, 1999):

SWEET - Donald E., gave Buffalo Bills their name 12/25/99
When the Buffalo Bisons of the All-America Football Conference sponsored an essay contest to re-name the team in 1947, Donald E. Sweet pulled an end run to win the $500 prize...'

Marker Bills/Chargers Game Hotel Information [11:16 PM]
TBD reports: 'The Bills Backers have arranged a group rate at The Holiday Inn located in the historic Old Town district of San Diego. The hotel is just steps away from dozens of shops, bars and restaurants. Most major attractions are just minutes away including beaches, Sea World, the San Diego Zoo and Qualcomm Stadium. Staying with the Backers is a great opportunity to meet and party with Bills fans from all over the country.'

Marker Bills claim Craig Heimburger off waiver wire [11:10 PM]
ESN reports: 'The Bills claimed a huge offensive lineman off the waiver wire from the Green Bay Packers. Craig Heimburger, a right guard during most of his college and pro career will be signed when he clears waivers. He's 6'2 312 pounds and was a 5th round draft choice of the Packers in 1999.'

Marker Shape up or ship out: Williams is what Bills need [8:31 PM]
CBS Sportsline reports: '"Many of the players who were here before Gregg said the one thing that was lacking was discipline," said Donahoe. "They wanted discipline, somebody to come in here and correct the way things were going. From the players I've talked to, there hasn't been any complaints about the changes."'

Marker Bills express interest in Modrak [7:58 PM]
AP reports: 'Modrak met with Bills president and general manager Tom Donahoe in Buffalo on Wednesday, Bills spokesman Scott Berchtold said. Berchtold described the meeting as an informal one...'

Marker Projected June 1 cuts [3:14 PM]
ESPN reports: 'Antowain Smith puts house up for sale--you do the math.'

Marker Former Bills scout Nix added to Chargers mix [10:03 AM]
San Diego Union Tribune reports: 'Nix was offered the position of director of college scouting with the Bills, but said he elected to join the Chargers because of his relationship with Butler.'

Marker Phillips case heard; Bills talk to Modrak [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'But given the outstanding job Modrak did in Philadelphia the past three years, he is a prime candidate for a general manager position in the NFL. He recently had an interview with the Chicago Bears.'

Marker Chargers hire Nix as director of player personnel [5:15 AM]
AP reports: 'Tapping his Buffalo connections again, San Diego Chargers general manager John Butler hired Buddy Nix as director of player personnel Wednesday. Nix spent the last eight seasons as a scout with the Bills.'

Marker Arbitrator to rule on Phillips [5:10 AM]
D and C reports: '"We're confident there will be a fair resolution of this matter ... and I expect it will not be a lengthy delay now," said Jerry Whalen, Phillips' attorney.'

May 16, 2001

Marker Phillips appeals contract dispute with Bills to NFL arbitrator [8:58 PM]
AP reports: 'With Bills owner Ralph Wilson also on hand, Phillips presented his case to NFL arbitrator Jay Moyer during a daylong hearing in Buffalo. The hearing was closed to the public.'

Marker Bills rank 10th in NFL profits [5:27 AM]
D and C reports: 'Confidential documents entered into evidence during the Oakland Raiders' lawsuit against the league reveal that the Bills -- who once claimed an inability to compete economically and threatened to move -- turned an $11.587 million operating profit in 1999.'

May 15, 2001

Marker Bills profits jump [8:58 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills' $11.58 million operating profit for 1999, the latest year covered in the documents, was nearly double their profit of $5.6 million the year before, according to documents released as part of Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis' billion-dollar lawsuit against the league's 31 teams.'

May 14, 2001

Marker NFL Legers Reveal Profits Depend on New Stadiums [8:07 PM]
Los Angeles Times reports: LA Times feature on the value of NFL franchises. Some very interesting information included. According to the Times, the average per-team operating profit jumped to $11.6 million in 1999--which just happened to be the same amount as the Bills operating profit in 1999. Buffalo reaped the benefits of a renovated stadium. There's also a look at which team might be the most likely to move to LA, as well as actual team financial statements for every NFL team, including the Bills. (Thanks to Boston's Sports Guy for the link.)

May 13, 2001

Marker Bills' foes show few signs of giving any ground [9:15 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills, in fact, have far more question marks than any of the three teams that finished ahead of them last season.'

Marker Questions on Williams to be answered Sept. 9 [9:14 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'All of that is fine, but now judgments are being withheld until he coaches his first regular-season game, the same as it would for any new head coach in the NFL. Organizing a minicamp is one thing, managing the clock is another.'

Marker Here's one draft Bills hope to feel for years to come [9:13 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'But the '01 rookie class is going to be especially important in 2002. Marv Levy liked to say that the best rookies are last year's rookies. In other words, the players going into their second seasons represent a team's best chance for new impact players.'

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