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Buffalo Bills News - April 16, 2003

Marker Josh Liddell a special WR [2:48 PM]
Panther Insider reports: Liddell, who grew up near Rich Stadium, has always been a big fan of the Buffalo Bills and was a huge fan of Kelly, Reed and Lofton. While growing up, Liddell would go to the Bills training camp. "As a little kid I remember going to training camp and I always remember the guys that stayed and signed autographs for the kids. I want to be able to do that and take the time for kids, because that is special for them. I want to make sure that I can give something back," said Liddell.

Marker A dear Marvin letter [2:46 PM]
CNN/SI reports: I think the NFL will miss John Butler, the 56-year-old Chargers GM who died of cancer on Friday. I really liked Butler, even though we had a major falling-out late in his tenure in Buffalo. This is why I liked him so much: He was a big man in so many ways. We hadn't spoken for three years until the Friday before this year's Super Bowl in San Diego. I was at the Chargers facility, in their front offices, doing the media pool report while covering the Raiders, and I ran into Butler. He was angry with me because I had agreed to be a regular guest on the radio show of a former Bills coach, Chuck Dickerson, who often was brutally frank and critical of the Bills.

Marker Chiefs could be the best of Gary's options [2:45 PM]
Kansas City Star reports: Gary would be a backup with the Chiefs or at either of his other free-agent stops, Buffalo and Detroit. But neither the Lions nor the Bills have halfback issues like the Chiefs.

Marker Trading No. 1 picks always risky [2:45 PM]
ESPN reports: That's not to say, however, that all trades that fit into this category are busts. The deal that secured quarterback Drew Bledsoe a year ago legitimized the Buffalo Bills, made them immediately competitive, and dramatically moved forward for GM Tom Donahoe a refurbishing of the franchise. There is no player in this year's draft, none at the No. 14 spot he forfeited to New England, likely to have meant more to the Bills than Bledsoe means to the health of the team.

Marker Player Profile: Tight End Ryan Neufeld [12:41 PM] reports: Signed with the Bills on 1/22/03 as an unrestricted free agent…released by the Seahawks on 8/27/02 before the start of the 2002 season…originally signed by Seattle on 1/23/02 and attended Seattle's 2002 training camp.

Marker The Week In Bills History (April 13-19) [11:53 AM] reports: April 17, 1999 - CB ANTOINE WINFIELD IS BILLS' 1999 NO. 1 PICK CB Antoine Winfield from Ohio State was the Bills' No. 1 pick (23rd overall) in the 1999 NFL Draft.

Marker Bills Alumni Spotlight: Lucius Sanford [10:49 AM] reports: Lucius Sanford, an outside linebacker with Buffalo for nine seasons, had a tendency to hit running backs head-on, lift them off their feet and plant their backs on the field. Offensive linemen have ‘pancake blocks.’ Sanford had ‘pancake tackles.’

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April 15, 2003

Marker Updated Buffalo Bills Roster [10:44 PM] reports: Numbers Assigned: Antonio Brown (19), Sam Gash (33), Rian Lindell (9), Sammy Morris (31), Izell Reese (43), Dainon Sidney (37).

Marker Win a Mike Williams Autographed Football [4:21 PM] reports: Win an Authentic NFL Game Ball autographed by Mike Williams. Selected by the Bills with the fourth overall pick in the 2002 Draft, Williams was Buffalo's highest draft pick since taking Bruce Smith #1 overall in 1985.

Marker Watch the Draft Live [10:20 AM] reports: Enter to win a trip for two (2) from Buffalo to New York City to watch the NFL Draft at Madison Square Garden on April 26th, courtesy of the Buffalo Bills and JetBlue. Winner will be notified on or about April 21, 2003. Register now before you miss your exclusive chance to attend the 2003 NFL Draft.

Marker Player Profile: Offensive Lineman Ron Boldin [9:53 AM] reports: Signed by the Bills on 1/24/03…allocated to the NFL Europe where he played for the Frankfurt Galaxy…originally signed with the Washington Redskins as an undrafted rookie free agent on 4/26/02…released by the Redskins during their 2002 training camp.

April 14, 2003

Marker Forever A Bill [5:08 PM] reports: When the former GM of the Bills died on Friday, he left behind legacy that will live through the NFL forever. His talent for plucking anonymous players from out-of-the-way schools is legendary. His competitiveness was unmatched - the man was Chris Spielman in a sport coat.

Marker Athletes in Action Breakfast [2:18 PM]
TBD reports: TBD Special Photographer Cindy Fox was at Athletes in Action Breakfast to honor Frank and others on the 10th anniversity of the greatest comeback and has provided pictures of some of those in attendence including Frank Reich, Jim Kelly, Travis Brown, Marlon Kerner, and ex-Bills TE Jay Riemersma.

Marker Noll might have rebuilt Bills [1:16 PM]
Shout! reports: 'Did you know Chuck Noll considered coaching the Bills in 1969? Noll served as defensive coordinator for Don Shula's Baltimore Colts team, which had just lost to the Jets, 16-7, in Super Bowl III. After the game, Buffalo and New England offered Noll head coaching positions, but he instead chose to coach Pittsburgh...'.

Marker Bills Hosting Clinic For High School & College Coaches [1:13 PM] reports: 'For the third straight year, the Bills coaching staff will be hosting the Buffalo Bills Coaches Clinic for local high school and college coaches. It will be held on Friday, May 9th and Saturday May 10th in the Bills Fieldhouse and training facility in Orchard Park.'

Marker Former Bills exec Butler earned chance to live his lifelong dream [1:02 PM]
Niagara Falls Reporter reports: 'His ability to find talent in the football hinterlands made names like Don Beebe of Chadron State, Phil Hansen of North Dakota and Marcellus Wiley of Columbia a big reason the Bills averaged 10 wins per year during Butler's 14 seasons in their front office.'

Marker Butler made friends, players feel special [1:01 PM] reports: Marv Levy once described John as a guy who builds morale. I witnessed that morale-building outside the cafeteria every afternoon. He would shake the player's hand, ask how practice was going, inquire about a nagging injury, tell me a little funny story about the player to make him laugh, and ask how everyone at home was. He was old fashioned and he made them all feel special. The veterans who had been at other places before Buffalo knew it was special, and they knew the difference was John Butler. Rarely do NFL players have daily conversations with the top club executive.

Marker Butler's passion for football was unmatched [1:00 PM] reports: I will say that the pressures of being a GM hardened John a bit through the years. His job and everything associated with it became increasingly personal. He looked at players and coaches as family, and would staunchly defend them against criticism. He found parting ways with a player, a standard part of a GM's duties, emotionally painful and, at times, downright unbearable.

Marker Bills tryout DB Corey Sawyer [9:14 AM]
Arena Football reports: Ordway, who was with the Storm during training camp and was signed to the team's practice squad on February 21, will replace [Corey] Sawyer in the lineup this weekend. Sawyer was placed on the Storm's exempt list after missing the week while working out for the NFL's Buffalo Bills.

April 13, 2003

Marker Bills Try To Better Their Other Half [1:22 PM]
Tampa Tribune reports: '``You always hear about trying to build your team with speed, especially defensively,'' Williams said. ``You want to set land speed records, and that's helped in the kind of guys we've brought in here. We like the fact we can pose some matchup problems for the offense.'''

Marker Bills could be in a rush to land D-linemen in draft [9:20 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills could use another option in their pass rush. At one end they have Aaron Schobel, who is developing into a nice player. He had 6 1/2 sacks as a rookie and 8 1/2 last season. At the other end is Marcus Jones, whom President and General Manager Tom Donahoe shrewdly signed in November. Jones tore cartilage in his knee last August and was cut by the Bucs at midseason.'

Marker Butler stuck to the basics - family and football - to the end [9:19 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills were a team of stars in the glory years, but Butler and his scouts had a rare gift for identifying late-round picks - Jeff Wright, Marvcus Patton, Carlton Bailey, Mike Lodish - the list goes on and on. He and A.J. Smith, the pro personnel guy he took with him to San Diego, had a knack for plucking the right free agents, too.'

April 12, 2003

Marker Chargers' GM dies at 56 [9:57 AM]
North County Times reports: 'Spurred by Butler's deft drafting, the Bills went 140-83 in that period ---- second only to the San Francisco 49ers ---- and made the playoffs 10 times, including the four Super Bowls from 1991 through '94.'

Marker Chargers will miss Butler [9:56 AM]
North County Times reports: 'Smith, Butler's right-hand man and confidant going back to their days as scouts for the Chicago Blitz of the United States Football League in 1982, may find himself in charge of more than the draft. He has a good chance of becoming the Chargers' general manager permanently, a team source said. Smith was said to have been devastated by Butler's death and declined to be interviewed through a Chargers spokesman.'

Marker There was more to Butler than football [9:55 AM]
North County Times reports: 'His public image of tough, ex-Marine, old-school football mind was not the man I came to know in the last year. I found him to be funny but very focused on his work. And there was more depth to this man than I would have ever imagined.'

Marker Fond thoughts of Butler are plentiful [9:12 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"It's one of the saddest days in Bills history," said Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly. "It's sad. But it's really not up to us. The good Lord above picks the time when you leave, and I guess it was John's time. The toughest thing for me is I know how much of a fighter he is and how much he always had that never-say-die attitude."'

Marker Bills owner to receive award [9:11 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Wilson is being honored for his commitment to the area and his philanthropy. He donated $25,000 to food banks in Buffalo and Rochester last holiday season and plays a leading role in the team's relationships with Women's and Children's Hospital, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, the United Way and Ronald McDonald House.'

Marker Butler never lost sense of humor [6:52 AM]
D and C reports: 'It would be nice to see his name affixed to the Wall of Fame at Ralph Wilson Stadium some day in the not-so-distant future.'

Marker Butler was a great GM, a good friend and ‘way cool’ [6:51 AM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'The exact circumstances of his exit from Buffalo and hiring in San Diego are murky.Wilson maintains that Butler had made up his mind to leave and no amount of money would have kept him with the Bills. Members of the front office say he’d have stayed had he been paid a competitive wage rather than being nickeled and dimed. No matter, 27 months ago, Butler, without a contract in Buffalo, signed with the Chargers.'

Marker 'We have lost a giant' [6:50 AM]
San Diego Union Tribune reports: 'Levy said Butler showed up for his interview in Buffalo with a sheaf of paperwork detailing how he would conduct himself in the post for which he was being considered.'

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