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Buffalo Bills News - April 25, 2002

Marker Bledsoe shuffles into Buffalo [5:28 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'Then the fun began. In a white limo big enough to house a family of six, Bledsoe was brought to Bills headquarters shortly after 3 p.m. where an estimated crowd of 1,500 fans were waiting. Some were sporting Bills sweaters with Bledsoe's No. 11 -- and tape over Rob Johnson's name. Others bought T-shirts and hotdogs. And yes, the ticket office was open. The band even played the fight song of Bledsoe's alma mater, Washington State.'

Marker Fans believe he will fill bill [5:27 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'He won't say it, but Bledsoe also sees something else. He sees a time coming in November and December when he'll get the opportunity to make two games a bad situation for the Patriots. It is a time he will look forward to, although he'll never admit it.'

Marker Bledsoe in hero's welcome [5:26 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'Jim Kelly, to whom Bledsoe is considered the long-awaited heir apparent in Buffalo, fired the first shot when asked about his thoughts on the trade. ``It's the craziest thing I've ever heard of,'' said the Hall of Fame quarterback, who will take Bledsoe to dinner this weekend and figures to be a staunch ally during Bledsoe's time in Buffalo. ``How could they ever let him go? And to Buffalo? This boy can still play. I'm sure they must have had reasons, but they better be good ones. I hope he comes back to bite them. (The Patriots) get the first-round pick out of it, but what's it going to be? The 28th pick? The 29th?'''

Marker Buffalo fans ready to make Bledsoe team's next hero [5:25 AM]
Providence Journal reports: 'The nine-year New England quarterback won over a crowd estimated at slightly more than 1,000 in a parking lot alongside Ralph Wilson Stadium by saying, "It was always tougher to play here because of people like you. I was jealous because I wanted to be part of an organization like that."'

Marker Buffalo Welcomes Bledsoe [5:24 AM]
Hartford Courant reports: 'Based on the welcome Drew Bledsoe got in Buffalo on Wednesday, you'd have thought he'd won the Super Bowl, instead of just watching it from the sideline.'

Marker Red, white and Drew in Buffalo [5:23 AM]
SLAM! Sports reports: 'If Bills fans haven't rallied behind Bledsoe yet, it won't take long.'

Marker Kelly embraces Bledsoe into Bills fold [5:22 AM]
AP reports: '"Look at this," Kelly said, embracing Bledsoe and pointing to the dozens of reporters inside the Bills' field house and about 1,000 fans outside. "This is all for you."'

Marker A hero's welcome for Drew Bledsoe [5:21 AM]
WGRZ-TV reports: '"Every time he took a snap from center, I held my breath against the Patriots," said Bills Owner Ralph Wilson. "To get a player and invididual of this character is a real plus for the Bills."'

Marker Former Bill joins secondary [5:04 AM]
Biloxi Sun Herald reports: 'The Buffalo Bills released Irvin in a salary cap move in the offseason and the Saints were able to pick him up cheap.'

Marker Saints sign cornerback Ken Irvin [5:03 AM]
AP reports: 'The New Orleans Saints signed free-agent cornerback Ken Irvin to a one-year contract Wednesday.'

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April 24, 2002

Marker Bills Introduce Bledsoe To Buffalo [9:39 PM] reports: Drew Bledsoe: "I'm coming to Buffalo for one reason and one reason only and that is to win football games. This is an organization that has a great tradition of excellence and I hope I'm part of the team that returns it to excellence."

Marker Press Conference: Donahoe and Williams Speak To The Media About Bledsoe [6:37 PM] reports: Gregg Williams: "It's been amazing all week long how the pep in the step of everybody has been around here from the offseason workouts to selling tickets to having meetings. He's put a pep in everybody's step."

Marker Rebuilding Buffalo gives Bledsoe star treatment [4:26 PM]
AP reports: '"It's nice to be wanted," Bledsoe said Wednesday at his first appearance as a member of the Bills, three days after Buffalo acquired him in a trade with New England. "To have some of that showered on us as we were coming into town -- yeah, it feels very good."'

Marker Bills release Hill, Graham; add 12 prospects [3:21 PM]
AP reports: 'The Buffalo Bills released safety Raion Hill and kicker Shayne Graham, while also bolstering their lineup by signing 12 undrafted free agents.'

Marker Saints eye more depth with addition of Irvin [3:20 PM] reports: The seven-year veteran had played his entire previous career with the Buffalo Bills but was released earlier this spring for salary cap reasons.

Marker Davison signs with Jets, blasts Kansas [1:44 PM]
Lawrence Journal World reports: '[Jamarei] Bryant was contacted by several other teams, including Arizona, Chicago, Green Bay and Jacksonville. He said he picked Buffalo because he thought it was his best chance to make a team. It couldn't hurt that Bryant's agent is friends with Bills secondary coach Pat Thomas.'

Marker Part II: Fans React to Bledsoe Trade [12:54 PM] reports: "I am a long-time Pats fan and will continue to remain one, but I am looking forward to seeing Drew stick it to them this year and for years to come. In this day and age of everything being business oriented, I am proud to say I am following a player because of the character he has."

Marker Slight sadness amid Boston's big wins [11:36 AM]
ESPN Page 2 reports: The news filtered through the Fleet Center stands during the Celtics game. There was a suddenness to it, a finality, a coldness. We were like kids in high school who just found out somebody had been expelled. You hear about Bledsoe? And the word spread, and it spread, and by the end of the game, probably everyone knew. Bledsoe was gone.

Marker Bledsoe ready for new start in Buffalo [9:09 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I think you're always motivated to play at the highest possible level, and that won't change," he said. "This is a great opportunity for me to be a starting player again and resume my career. I get to do it in a terrific setting. It's a great opportunity to show I'm at the top of my game. And I want that more than anything."'

Marker Bledsoe's perfect fit [9:08 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"He told Ralph Wilson to send the Buffalo Bills stuff to him so his kids could wear it."'

Marker Draft weekend yields big results [9:06 AM]
Niagara Falls Reporter reports: 'Now, with free-agent signings that bolstered Buffalo's depth chart at linebacker, kicker, tight end, on the offensive line and in the return game, along with this year's draft choices, Donahoe has already remade the Bills into a team that will bear little resemblance to last year's 3-13 disaster, regardless of what their new uniforms look like.'

Marker Bills to rally around Bledsoe [5:22 AM]
D and C reports: 'The Bills are anticipating around 100 members of the media, including a large contingent from the Boston area, to cover the event that will take place in the field house. ESPN News and Empire Sports Network plan live coverage of the news conference at approximately 2 p.m.'

Marker Bledsoe to attempt his first Bills rally [5:21 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'Fans of the 3-13 team have been energized by the deal; they flooded the Bills with season-ticket inquiries the day of the trade, which caused the team to keep the box office open through the night.'

Marker Bills fans rally 'round Drew [5:20 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'Drew Bledsoe will receive a hero's welcome today in Buffalo, as the Bills will hold a rally for the former Patriots quarterback in front of the team's administrative offices in Orchard, Park, N.Y.'

April 23, 2002

Marker Bills Release Statement About Bledsoe Merchandise [11:05 PM] reports: We are currently working with NFL licensed manufacturers to deliver this product as soon as possible.

Marker Curtis Alexander Named Offensive Player of the Week - NFL Europe [11:05 PM] reports: Alexander earned offensive honors for his role in the Frankfurt Galaxy's 54-14 win over the F.C. Barcelona Dragons. Alexander rushed for a league season-high 192 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries.

Marker Bills Release K Shayne Graham, S Raion Hill. Sign 12 FA. [11:04 PM] reports: Most of the FA have been mentioned over the last few days, but the 2 cuts seem like news. Hill played in 31 games since 1999 and started 13 last season at SS. Graham was picked up last season and kicked the final 6 games. I don't think either release is a surprise.

Marker Bledsoe saga not over yet [9:33 PM]
ESPN reports: 'The defense has holes, and you have to wait and see about things like chemistry and injuries. But Bledsoe makes the Bills better.'

Marker Bills Win Big With Bledsoe [4:59 PM]
WIVB-TV reports: 'The downside is so much greater for New England. They just gave up a 30 year old quarterback, who holds just about every one of the team's passing records, and as good as he was on the field, he was even better in the community. They are gambling on a guy named Brady, who I will admit had a tremendous season last year. But, they better hope he's not a one hit wonder, or gets hurt early in this season.'

Marker The enemy no longer [4:55 PM]
WGRZ-TV reports: 'Drew Bledsoe doesn't make the Bills an instant Super Bowl contender. But he does accelerate the rebuilding effort by warp speed, by turning what was a glaring weakness into a positive. He also gives the Bills the legitimate "star" they've been missing that helps sell tickets.'

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