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Buffalo Bills News - June 14, 2000

Marker Johnson focused, No. 1 at Bills' mini-camp [8:39 PM]
AP reports: "Rob Johnson has come to the Buffalo Bills minicamp calm, cool and focused, having reclaimed the title of No. 1 quarterback. Johnson even was spotted sharing a couple of laughs with fellow quarterback — and sometime nemesis — Doug Flutie during practice Wednesday at Orchard Park Fieldhouse."

Marker Pingel will try to put Westminster College on the NFL's map [9:06 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Bills coach Wade Phillips needed another receiver because rookie free agent Corey Jones hasn't shown up this minicamp and likely never will. Pingel is wearing No. 18, the jersey number assigned to Jones.
"When you look at that guy and you see the mechanics of catching the football, somebody taught him something somewhere," Phillips said. "Somebody did a good job with him."'

Marker Bills draft picks appearing at hospital [9:05 AM]
Buffalo News reports: "Eight first-year Buffalo Bills players will participate in a pizza party with patients and staff members at Buffalo Children's Hospital tonight from 6-7."

Marker Small-school receiver Pingel about to catch up to Rice [8:04 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: This is an older article written before last year's college season about the Bills newest roster addition - WR Scott Pingel.

Marker Bills sign wide receiver Scott Pingel [7:32 AM]
AP reports: "Playing for Westminster College in Missouri, Pingel was a three-time All-America and was selected Division III player of the year in 1999. He holds seven Division III records, including 436 career receptions, eclipsing the mark of 301 set by Jerry Rice, now of the San Francisco 49ers."

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June 13, 2000

Marker A third receiver should be first priority [1:40 PM]
Colorado Springs Gazette reports: 'Earlier, the Broncos had talked to 36-year-old Andre Reed, recently cut by Buffalo after 15 seasons. Reed had 52 receptions for 536 yards last year, continuing a decline in productivity that has coincided with the Bills' erosion since Jim Kelly's retirement. Initially, we heard the Broncos might not be able to afford Reed. Of course, Shanahan was saving money for Young. Now Denver can use that cap room for a No.3 receiver. Either Dawkins or Reed could fill that role, but Dawkins should be the first choice.'

Marker Fisher hopes his 'summer vacations' will lead to job in 2001 [9:04 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'For the past two summers, Bryce Fisher has used up all his vacation time to fly in from Colorado and attend Buffalo Bills training camps.
Yet he is not an avid fan. Nor does he visit Western New York to collect autographs. Fisher was one of the Bills' seventh-round picks in last year's draft. He was the defensive tackle who recorded four tackles, a sack and a forced fumble, and helped cause an interception that was returned for a touchdown in the preseason opener at Seattle. The next day, he was back in Colorado Springs, fulfilling his obligation to the U.S. Air Force Academy. Fisher hasn't played a game of football since his debut, but he's with the Bills again and is set to play the full preseason slate this time around. Of course, he still has at least one more year to serve and will not play a down of regular-season action this year. Nevertheless, he burns up his furlough time working at his second job.'

June 12, 2000

Marker Bills back at Camp [2:26 PM]
Shout! reports: 'Wade Phillips welcomed the players back from their weekend off, gathering them together before practice in the fieldhouse for another reminder. "I talked about the mental aspect, stressing the mental part of the game and being prepared."'

Marker Money games [9:06 AM]
Business First of Buffalo reports: 'By 1999 the Bills average ticket cost had escalated to $40.89, about a 50 percent jump over 10 years, and a 15 percent increase in a year's time. Last year the average cost of an NFL ticket was $45.63. The addition of premium club seating is a primary reason for the increase. Like the Sabres, the Bills in recent years have steadily remained on the low end in average ticket costs. Since 1994, the least expensive seat at Ralph Wilson Stadium has gone up to $30, a $4 boost. "There are a lot of factors that go into (ticket prices) and there is not any single factor that dominates the conversation," said Bills' vice president/communications Scott Berchtold. "We look around the league and Western New York."'

June 11, 2000

Marker Tasker still getting into coverage areas [3:52 PM]
Albany Times Union reports: 'When wide receiver and special teams ace Steve Tasker played for the Buffalo Bills, he planned carefully for his future after retirement. During his off-seasons, Tasker worked for Buffalo's WKBW-TV (Ch. 7), an ABC affliate. "I was there for six or eight years,'' Tasker said. "I was an intern there. I ran scripts around, did all that. I wrote a story or two for the 11 o'clock news, so that helped me out with my writing.'''

June 10, 2000

Marker Nice practice Friday [11:33 AM]
Shout! reports: 'Phillips ended a crisp, spirited afternoon practice by telling his players not to be foolhardy with their weekend off. "You represent yourself, your family, the Buffalo Bills and me. Do the right thing this weekend."'

Marker Walton's a bore, and WNYers are not tuning in [9:01 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills are replacing Ray Bentley, who now is coaching the Buffalo Destroyers of the Arena League, with veteran play-by-play man Jay Randolph on their preseason telecasts. Steve Tasker will be the analyst for the two games in August, which will be carried locally on Channel 49. "We love Ray, but we thought it was in the best interest of both of us to make the change," said a Bills spokesman.'

Marker Ceremony honors Tobia for keeping Bills in Buffalo [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Nine days after the birth of the namesake grandson he never got to see, Vincent A. Tobia, the late Buffalo Bills lawyer and legendary State Police undercover mob and narcotics investigator, was lauded by Gov. George E. Pataki and the State Legislature at a Buffalo ceremony Friday. A State Legislature resolution praising Tobia, who died of a heart attack at 60 last July 7 was presented to his son, attorney Vincent J., and his 81-year-old father, Vincent. During the noontime ceremony in Erie County Hall, Mayor Anthony M. Masiello cited Tobia's business and legal skills as key factors in keeping the NFL franchise in Buffalo while teams moved out of much larger, more media-intense cities over the past decade. Masiello told the courtroom filled with the late lawyer's friends that Tobia had played "an integral role" in keeping professional football alive in Buffalo.'

June 9, 2000

Marker Moore's size not an issue as far as Bills are concerned [9:11 PM]
AP reports: '"Size," Moore said, pausing, following a mini-camp session this week. "I never really thought much about my size. Other people, they're always talking about my size. But I just constantly wanted to go out and make plays. And that's what I do best. "So don't worry about my size. I just let my play-making take control of that."'

Marker Red zone work [1:20 PM]
Shout! reports: "Attendance was at its lowest for the mini-camp, but that didn't keep the 67 Bills who took part from engaging in the most spirited practice to date as rain pelted the fieldhouse roof. The team went 11-on-11 in the morning for the first time."

Marker Starter Johnson ready to finish [9:17 AM]
NFL.com reports: "Rob Johnson understands the skepticism. If he were looking at himself from the outside, he, too, would question his ability to withstand the rigors of a 16-game NFL season."

Marker Wilson, wife advance [9:03 AM]
Buffalo News reports: "It appears Ralph Wilson has more talents than running a football team. The Buffalo Bills owner and his wife, Mary, have advanced to the semifinals of an 80-and-over international tennis doubles tournament in Europe."

Marker Kelly's close call should spur reflection [9:03 AM]
Buffalo News reports: Nancy E. Brock (Williamsville) shares her thoughts about Kelly's misfortune.

June 8, 2000

Marker Bills' Jackson hopeful with move to H-back [9:38 PM]
AP reports: "So impressed are the Bills with [Sheldon] Jackson's size and ability, they've come up with a creative way of giving the second-year player more responsibility. Utilizing Jackson's blocking and ball-carrying skills, the Bills plan to incorporate him into an H-back -- a quasi-tight end who lines up in the backfield."

Marker Bills name Bayless development director [8:45 PM]
AP reports: "Former Buffalo Bills safety Martin Bayless is the team's new director of player development/special projects."

Marker Bills fit or fined [6:56 PM]
Shout! reports: "They're getting pretty tough on players this year as far as your weight and body fat go," he said. "(Strength and conditioning coach) Rusty Jones is coming down on us. I think there's going to be some fines involved this year. It's going to be the first time since I've been here. But (conditioning) is important. It will be good for our team." . . .

Marker Rob Johnson impresses [2:44 PM]
Shout! reports: "On a day when the offense rebounded, Rob Johnson was the most impressive performer. He zipped pass after pass past defenders and into receivers' hands. First, he hit Avion Black for a diving catch. Then Peerless Price beat Courtney Jackson deep. Then it was Bobby Collins down the middle."

Marker Recap of Day Two at the Bills Mini-Camp [2:43 PM]
WGR55 reports: "To their credit, most of the players looked a lot leaner at the Mini-Camp weigh-in. Ted Washington looks as if he's dropped 15-20 pounds and is checking in at 335-345. Ruben Brown looks to have lost five to 10 pounds and is down to 300. Robert Hicks looks great. He doesn't even have love handles anymore! His 330 pounds look great on his 6'7" frame. Antowain Smith also looked chiseled at 229 and four percent body fat. Unfortunately the same can't be said for outside guard Jamie Nails who's 355 at best."

Marker Bills Photos [2:41 PM]
CBS Sportsline reports: This is a collection of minicamp photos.

Marker Helping Habitat for Humanity [11:01 AM]
Shout! reports: The Buffalo Bills and Choice One Communications are joining forces to assist Habitat for Humanity with the construction of a home located at 33 Grey Street in Buffalo. The two organizations will participate in an event at the construction site this Saturday, June 10 starting at 10:30 AM.

Marker Phillips likes 'new look' of secondary [9:05 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I'm pleased about that because we did lose two guys out of the secondary that started for us," said Phillips, who saw Smith (Chicago) and Schulz (Detroit) leave via free agency. "But it looked like we're right back where we were last year. It doesn't look like we've missed a beat as far as pass coverage is concerned. There's no pass rush on seven-on-seven drills, so the quarterbacks have time (to throw), and we're covering them. Some of the guys are making outstanding plays. "I'm encouraged about our pass defense. It's going to take a rush with it, but the coverage has a lot to do with how well you rush sometimes."'

Marker Flutie still sore over that playoff benching [6:22 AM]
Toronto Star reports: '``No, I'm definitely not over that,'' Flutie said yesterday as the Bills went through day two of a four-day mini-camp. Furthermore, he doesn't think he will ever be able to put it behind him. ``Just like I've never gotten over why they benched me back in New England 10 years ago,'' added the former six-time CFL MVP. ``If you don't understand (why something's happened to you) it's hard to accept.'

June 7, 2000

Marker Bills confident they have emerging leaders to fill any void [9:08 PM]
AP reports: '"There may have been some questions -- by a lot of people, a lot of guys on the team, even -- about the moves that were made in the off-season," [Henry] Jones said. "And I think it was time to clear the air, for us and say, 'Every year there's change. ... The only difference this year is some veterans that were here for a long time are gone. But that just means some guys are going to have to step up and play."''

Marker Scary moments during day two [6:53 PM]
Shout! reports: "The Bills survived a couple of scares when trainer Bud Carpenter had to go onto the field to tend to Antowain Smith and nose tackle Ted Washington. When Smith came up limping after catching a pass, there was concern that Smith had aggravated his turf toe."

Marker Defense ahead of offense [1:46 PM]
Shout! reports: Wade Phillips stated the obvious." Our pass coverage looked awfully good. It was good for our offense working against the defense that led the NFL in pass defense last year. Our linebackers did a good job, and our secondary coverage looked very good."

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