Bills, Sabres need good luck picking 13th [5:16 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'The best hope for a 2004 first-round pick to become a productive instant starter is at wide receiver.'
Adelphia has date in court for sale of WNSA [8:58 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Empire Sports Network, with the help of WNSA personnel, will cover the National Football League draft April 24 from 1 p.m. until the Bills make their selection...
...Later this month, the [NFL] network will officially announce the 2004 regular-season schedule on NFL Total Access with a two-hour special. It also will be released simultaneously on the league's Web site.'
Several teams expected to pursue Gallery [8:57 PM]
ESPN reports: 'While he doesn't have a lot of other suitors, Kordell Stewart remains reluctant to sign with the Buffalo Bills, in part because the coaches want him to assume some of the "Slash" duties he once played with the Steelers. At this point, rookie head coach Mike Mularkey has no one on the roster capable of filling the diverse position.'
Bills have Wilson excited [8:53 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"Mike Mularkey is a very high-class guy," Wilson said of his new head coach. "I think he's very solid, very sound. He's been a player for nine years. I think he'll have the respect of the players. He's not a know-it-all guy. He's going to take the good advice he gets. Sam Wyche (the quarterbacks coach) is a top guy, and so is Jim McNally on the offensive line. So all of those things put together, plus the talent we have, makes me feel good."'
Moorman Has Kicked His Career Into High Gear [7:02 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: '"I think you have to look at everything," said the 28-year old Kansas native. "Some guys might only have a gross of 39 but if they're netting 39 they're helping their team. Although a guy with a high gross doesn't mean they aren't having a good season either. The net punt average is a great indictor for a team effort because you've got coverage guys and then you've got your kick too so you combine the two together. There might be a game in there where the punter had a great game but maybe his coverage unit wasn't that good that day. I think you have to look at everything. Inside-the-20 is hard to look at too. Maybe the punter hasn't had an opportunity because they've been punting backed-up the whole season. I just think you have to look at the whole picture. More than anything you have to see the games that they've played in. I'm a firm believer you can't judge strictly by the numbers."'
Red-Hot Zolman Returns to Action for Rhein Fire [7:01 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: '"I think it was very important for this team," Zolman said. "With only 10 games, you have to really focus on getting the wins early in the season. I think getting off to the good start will hopefully give us momentum going into these next few games and will get the season going in the right direction."'
Williams says he'll re-sign with the Raiders [5:16 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '”I’ve always been a fan of the hometown team and I’m sorry they couldn’t step up and get me there,” said Williams, the popular East High and Syracuse University product. “I’d have loved to finish my career at home. But to all the Bills fans out there, tell them I’ll see them next season.”'
Roland A Raider [5:15 AM]
WOKR-TV reports: 'The veteran tight end had talked to the Buffalo Bills about possibly signing with the team near his hometown. But with this contract he’ll go back to the team that released him following knee surgery in 2003.'
Bills Areas of Importance For Draft [10:33 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: '“We’re more interested in what the value of the player is,” said Donahoe, “and where is the player a good pick, and that’s the way we stack our board. Some guys are going to go earlier than where we have them graded, and some guys are going to go later, but that’s the nature of what you do when you evaluate the players.” For Buffalo’s brass however, need at some point is a factor, so Bills Digest has put together a rundown of the team’s more pressing need areas. We also assess when those needs might be addressed, and what prospect might be available for Buffalo at that time.'
Mularkey studying Bills' needs in draft [5:16 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '“I can name six positions,” said Mularkey, who was in Rochester on Wednesday to tour the Bills’ training camp facilities at St. John Fisher College for the first time. “Some would be immediate, some would be support roles, some will depend on what we do the next three weeks in free agency. But I think we’re going to have a pretty good choice at a couple of positions that we’re looking at.”'
Campus Visits Keep Scouts Busy [11:05 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: 'Scouts will have a list of players they want to evaluate, but very often that list is lengthened. “The thing that is deceiving is you’re going to a school with five or six prospects and you think you’re going to have smooth day,” said Modrak, “then you talk to the school’s pro liaison and ask if there’s anybody else he would recommend. Sometimes they’ll recommend a handful of other guys, and if you’re doing your job you have to look at all of them. So a five player visit might turn into a ten player visit.”'
Mora to set tempo at first mini-camp [5:15 AM]
Atlanta Journal Constitution reports: 'The Buffalo Bills have shown interest in Falcons linebacker and restricted free agent Matt Stewart, Stewart's agent Brian Parker confirmed.'
Bills Wallpaper [11:35 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: This month - Coach Mike Mularkey
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.'
Bills Alumni Spotlight: Art Still [9:51 AM]
BuffaloBills.com 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.'
Zolman Shines In Spot Duty [8:46 PM]
BuffaloBills.com 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.'
Chris Berman's Cab Driver [11:47 AM]
BuffaloBills.com 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."'
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."'
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.'
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."'
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.'
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."'
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.'
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."'
Smith sold Brown on joining Bears [8:31 AM]
ChicagoBears.com 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."'
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.'
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.'
Bears feel they hit the target with Brown [5:10 AM]
SuburbanChicagoNewspapers.com 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."'
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.
NFL Europe Provides Opportunity For Zolman [3:01 PM]
BuffaloBills.com 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."'
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