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Buffalo Bills News - January 16, 2002

Marker Bruuuuuuce is not ready to hang up cleats yet [6:28 AM]
ESPN reports: Ex-Bill great Bruce Smith has warmed up to new Redskins coach Steve Spurrier. "He's a coach that believes you should burn it on the game field instead of the practice field," Smith said.

Smith injured his shoulder early in training camp and didn't come close to repeating his 10-sack season of the previous season, finishing with just five. Smith called Spurrier "very refreshing" and noted the coach's no-tackling rule in practice.

Smith is 12 sacks short of Reggie White's NFL career record of 198, a mark Smith would dearly love to have. He also wants one more chance to win a Super Bowl, having lost four in a row during his 15 seasons with the Buffalo Bills.

Marker Marv Levy to Colts: 'I am ready to coach' [5:32 AM]
ESPN reports: 'Nevertheless, Irsay said that while he has "tremendous respect for guys like Marv Levy and Ted Marchibroda," he sounded somewhat reluctant to endorse Levy as his next coach. "If we could just meet, if we stirred up the coals, I think he would have a different view," said Levy. "But he has to be open for it to work."'

Marker Levy, 76, would listen to the Colts [5:23 AM]
Indianapolis Star reports: '"I didn't apply for the job," said Levy, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August after posting a 154-120 record (including playoffs) during 17 years as a head coach. If the Colts expressed an interest? "I'll give you an honest answer rather than dance," Levy said. "I would probably listen."'

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January 15, 2002

Dallas Morning News reports: • • •
2001 picks: 12.
On roster: 8
Starters: 5.
On reserve lists: 2
The Bills' draft class started a combined 66 games in a 3-13 season. That's the league high. All eight draft picks started games. No. 2 pick Travis Henry rushed for 729 yards with two 100-yard games.
April grade: A
January grade: A+

Marker Bills want Cowart...but at what cost? [1:28 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'They could declare Cowart their franchise player and pay him the average salary of the top five middle/inside linebackers in the NFL. And though, Donahoe hates to use that designation, it might make the most sense if Cowart doesn't agree to a contract. That way the Bills would only be bound by a one-year agreement, ample opportunity to assess his health.'

Marker Vote for the Bill of the Year [10:41 AM] reports: All the players who won Game Ball of the Week awards are now eligible to win the Game Ball of the Year title.

Marker Vote for the Jill of the Year [10:08 AM] reports: Which Buffalo Jill deserves the honor of being named the Jill of the Year?

Marker Cowart could test market [9:08 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The signing bonus will be the most contentious part of the negotiations. Burrough has proposed a tiered bonus that would pay Cowart a certain amount when he signs, when he passes a physical and the rest when he is activated to the regular-season roster.'

January 14, 2002

Marker Colts Receive Permission With Jets to speak with Ted [7:04 PM]
AP reports: Cottrell spent 11 seasons with the Buffalo Bills, the last three as DC, when his defenses never finished worse than sixth in the NFL. His time with Buffalo also overlapped with that of Colts president Bill Polian.

Marker Phil Hansen: The strongest link [2:49 PM] reports: It's a classic example of too little (one column doesn't pay nearly enough credit to an 11-year veteran), too late (accolades never came as quickly or often as Hansen deserved). But in a capsule, that was Hansen's career: He was a great, great player, but there was usually one story, or one guy, that was slightly bigger.

Marker Tom Donahoe off-season Update [2:42 PM] reports: Q: On a percentage basis, what is the chance of Buffalo taking the #4 pick in the draft or trading down in the hopes of gaining additional picks? A: If we are sold on a guy who is there when we pick we?ll stay there and make the pick. If we?re not, and we listen to some different offers and it makes sense we?ll go in a different direction. You don?t really go into a draft leaning one way or another because you have to see who is there.

Marker Williams comments on Patriots defense [1:50 PM]
The Sporting News reports: The extra week of preparation might give Belichick's Patriots an edge. So, undoubtedly, will the unique character of the Patriots' defense. Theirs is the only unit in the league that switches back and forth from a 3-4 to a 4-3, defying characterization and confusing opponents. "That gives you fits," Bills coach Gregg Williams says. "It adds practice time and game-plan time. And to their credit, they are flexible enough personnel-wise to do it."

Marker Centers provided the best of a crummy Bills season [1:15 PM]
Niagara Falls Reporter reports: 'Say what you want about the 2001 Bills, but they managed to become more competitive as the season wound down.'

Marker Jets defensive coordinator Cottrell to interview with Colts [1:10 PM]
CBS Sportsline reports: Former Bills DC who lost head coaching job to Gregg Williams is to interview with former Bills GM Bill Polin. Jets GM Terry Bradway informed his coach of the call but it remains unclear when Cottrell will interview for the job.

Marker Meet the New Year, Same as the Old Year [12:49 PM] reports: In his Monday Morning Quarterback column, SI's Peter King makes his rookie of the year picks:
"... Guard Leonard Davis of Arizona, a piledriver from day one, is my offensive rookie, while Buffalo's rookie shut-down corner, Nate Clements, edges Pittsburgh's Kendrell Bell as defensive rookie ..."

Marker Cutting seats could boost sales [5:12 AM]
Business First of Buffalo reports: 'A few million bucks in a $100 million-plus business would be sacrificed but, in the long run, it just might be an investment.'

January 13, 2002

Marker Interview with Fred Smerlas [10:42 PM] reports: "I was at my kid's baseball game on a Friday at 7:30. I got a call from Ralph Wilson on my cell phone and he said "What are you doing?" I said 'I am at my kid's baseball game.' He said, "you made it to the Wall of Fame." I said, "Ralph, that's great!"

Marker Ruben Brown and Larry Centers represent Bills in ProBowl [10:44 AM] reports: Marcellus Wiley was the only ex-Bill listed on Pro-Bowl roster.

Marker Beebe Helping Kids Speed to Success [10:31 AM]
NFL HS reports: There are only a handful of NFL players that will always be remembered for at least a single play or moment. Most of them are legends of the game: Walter Payton, Franco Harris, Joe Montana, Don Beebe.

Marker Bills begin countdown to crucial draft [9:19 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"The one thing we have to do is be very thorough. Whoever this player is, he's going to make a lot of money. I'm not against paying great players a lot of money, but this guy better prove to all of us he can be a great player."'

Marker Team won't overpay for Cowart to stay [5:27 AM]
D and C reports: '"Not much less than what they paid (wide receiver Eric Moulds)," [Cowart's agent Gene] Burrough said by telephone from his office in Duluth, Ga., when asked what he felt Cowart was worth. "I don't expect a $12 million bonus, but not too much less."'

Marker More stability is expected after last year's overhaul [5:26 AM]
D and C reports: 'The Bills have 6 unrestricted free agents, 7 restricted free agents and 6 exclusive rights free agents.'

January 12, 2002

Marker Sifting through the wreckage [9:04 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Most pleasant surprise: Jonas Jennings.'

January 11, 2002

Marker Hansen’s NFL years exemplary [4:23 PM]
Fargo Forum reports: 'Moreover, Hansen brought a work ethic to the field that set an example for younger players. He came to play every game. No complaining. No showboating. No whining when he was injured or sometimes overshadowed by marquee players.'

Marker Wilson says Johnson must earn QB job [5:10 AM]
D and C reports: '"We can't just bring a guy back and say, 'The job's yours, you're the guy,'" Wilson said Thursday night from his home in West Palm Beach, Fla. "Who knows, maybe (third-stringer) Travis Brown's the guy."'

January 10, 2002

Marker Up close in the off-season: Brandon Spoon [8:31 AM] reports: 'I will stay on the stairmaster three times per week, and lift some light weights through the beginning of March. I learned from the veterans and our strength and conditioning coach, Rusty Jones, that it is critical to back off the training and let your body heal.'

Marker Dr Z's All Pro Team [8:31 AM] reports: And here's a sleeper that popped my eyes open: the Bills' Billy Conaty . Maybe I just saw him on the greatest days of his career because I couldn't find anyone to agree with me. I didn't like him as much as I did Woody, but he was fairly close.

Marker Centers uncertain if Bills are still in his future [5:14 AM]
D and C reports: 'They include returning to the Bills if they provide him with a pay hike and assurances from coach Gregg Williams that the team will take steps to improve, requesting his release from the final year of his contract so he can sign with a contender, or retirement.'

Marker Als quarterback Calvillo 'testing the waters' of NFL [5:13 AM]
Montreal Gazette reports: 'Foster wouldn't identify the interested teams, but one is believed to be Buffalo - perhaps Calvillo's next stop. "There does seem to be some interest," Foster said.'

Marker Eskimos rookie poised to become first CFL option player [5:12 AM]
CP reports: '[Anthony Calvillo] worked out for Jacksonville and Seattle and has a session planned with Buffalo.'

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