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Buffalo Bills News - June 20, 2000

Marker Buffalo Bills sign draft pick Leif Larsen [8:52 PM]
AP reports: 'A native of Norway, Larsen, 25, went to the Texas-El Paso on a track and field scholarship as a shot putter and never played football before college. He played 10 games last season and recorded 69 tackles. One of the strongest players in college football, he set the NFL combine record by bench-pressing 225 pounds 45 times.'

Marker The Week That Wasn't [7:07 PM] reports: 'NFL Insider followed Flutie each day through one of the most tumultuous weeks of his pro career. Monday, January 3...'

Marker You Make the Call! (#2) [8:52 AM]
Shout! reports: 'Tennessee is playing at Buffalo. It is 4th and 4, and the Bills are forced to punt. Daryl Porter is lined up in the "gunner" position for the Bills, near the right sideline away from the offensive and defensive linemen. He is checked in as an eligible receiver. Porter is looking to make a big play, and takes off as soon as the ball is snapped...'

Marker The "L" word - Hansen and Leadership [8:51 AM]
Shout! reports: 'If any fans are thinking about coming to training camp and asking Phil Hansen about the "L" word when they get his autograph, they better reconsider. Hansen has been hammered with questions about leadership ever since Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas and Andre Reed were released.'

Marker Q & A with CB Kenny Irvin [8:50 AM]
Shout! reports: 'Ken Irvin suffered a torn ligament in his left ankle toward the end of last season. He has been rehabilitating it throughout the off-season. The June mini-camp was his first real action in more than six months. The ankle passed the test. Here is a Q&A with Irvin from Day 1 of June mini-camp.'

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June 19, 2000

Marker Fisher blends sport, study [7:19 AM]
D and C reports: 'When the Buffalo Bills hold training camp at St. John Fisher College this summer, academic performance will get attention on the same field as athletic prowess. Fisher will use the training camp to help launch a new department that is designed to prepare students for careers in the big business of sports, a broad category that includes high school athletic directors, marketers of clothing, managers of fitness clubs and executives with professional teams.'

Marker Bills' man of action hopes to make a difference [7:18 AM]
Business First of Buffalo reports: '[Martin] Bayless, however, is also a man of action and perseverance. He played with the Bills and four other teams over the course of a 12-year National Football League career but it's what he has accomplished off the field that made him an attractive recruit by team management to fill the void of director of player development/special projects. Just what job is that you wonder? It is one all NFL teams, in light of the very disturbing series of arrests and allegations against numerous players, is taking quite seriously. In the past such hires would come about in a press release and in a wire transaction note. Now, the NFL wants these jobs to be more high profile. Thus, when the Bills announced Bayless, general manager John Butler was there and coach Wade Phillips presented Bayless as the replacement for Jerry Butler, who left the Bills and the post vacant over a year ago when he took a coaching job with the Cleveland Browns.'

June 18, 2000

Marker Football Player Now Health Crusader [10:28 PM]
AP reports: 'Chris Spielman, a former Ohio State All-American, had been sidelined from the Buffalo Bills with a neck injury and was about to announce he was taking a year off to be with his wife and two young children.'

Marker Bills end mini-camp [10:27 PM]
Shout! reports: 'The Bills' final mini-camp practice was its fastest. It appeared that their entire 11-on-11 session was entirely a two-minute drill, but in reality it was more like a double-time march up and down the field.'

Marker New Administration Building [10:26 PM]
TBD reports: 'The new administrative building is in the final stages of interior finishing. This state of the art facility was provided for by the stadium improvement plan outloined in the lease extension agreement reached in 1998. The original administrative building was constructed at the same time as the stadium. The 1972 structure has been cramped and inadequate for years.'

Marker You Make the Call! [10:25 PM]
TBD reports: 'Shout/TBD is starting a new feature, "You Make the Call." We will present for you both real and imagined NFL scenarios, and invite you to "make the call" based on the Official Rules for the NFL for 1999.'

Marker Mini-camp wrap-up [10:24 PM]
Shout! reports: 'Wade Phillips said the June 2000 mini-camp really kicked off the new season for the Bills. He was pleased with the team's intensity as well as the talent levels of the younger players. This was recorded in Active Audio.'

June 17, 2000

Marker Arli$$ not worth wading through to get to Phillips [9:04 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'One line, about one minute into the program. That summarizes Buffalo Bills coach Wade Phillips' appearance on HBO's "Arli$$" (9:30 p.m. Sunday, pay-cable), the series about a sleazy sports agent.'

June 16, 2000

Marker Westminster's Scott Pingel signed by Buffalo Bills as Free Agent [9:28 AM]
Westminster College reports: 'Pingel was named Player of the Year in the Saint Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference last season after breaking the NCAA all-divisions records for career receptions, career yardage, and career touchdown catches...Pingel, a native of Perryville, graduated cum laude from Westminster College this past May with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Mathematics and Secondary Education.'

Marker Kelly honored as father of year [9:13 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"One of the greatest professional quarterbacks of all time, Kelly is being honored for his work as co-founder, along with his wife Jill, of Hunter's Hope Foundation, founded in 1997 after their son, Hunter, was diagnosed with Krabbe Disease."'

June 15, 2000

Marker Hopeful Bills consider minicamp a success [8:27 PM]
AP reports: '"We've definitely got the talent. If we can get the guys to know the system and be ready to execute, play mistake-free football and stay healthy, I think we'll have a good year," Cowart said. "It's going to be very vital that we cut down on mistakes." Added quarterback Doug Flutie: "We've got a lot of young guys, it's how quickly they get comfortable with the game that's important."'

Marker It's no contest: Flutie's a rung below Johnson [9:04 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Johnson is the Bills' man for the foreseeable future. That was settled at the end of last season when he tore apart the Indianapolis Colts in the final regular-season game and then Wade Phillips handed him the starting assignment for the playoff game in Tennessee. The move should have been made weeks before, but the many Flutie loyalists still have the notion that Doug will be able to wrest the job back from Johnson if he outplays him in the summer games. That's not going to happen.'

Marker Byrd persists, looks to secure roster spot with Bills [9:03 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Before the stabbing, Byrd was projected as an early-round draft pick. After the stabbing, he went undrafted. Now, as a free-agent pickup, he tries to cling to a Bills team replete with openings in the secondary. To do so, the Schenectady native needs to use the speed that made him such an attractive commodity in the first place. Though after the stabbing he lost about two-tenths of a second off his sprinter's speed - Byrd took a year off from football at Syracuse to run track - he said he still runs around 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash, certainly passable for an NFL cornerback. But Byrd's natural speed will not alone win him a roster spot. He must use the June minicamp to memorize the Bills' complicated zone defenses and multiple schemes.'

Marker Buffalo catches on to Pingel [7:28 AM]
Columbia Daily Tribune reports: 'Although he spent his first day of mini-camp mostly observing after re-aggravating a hamstring injury, Bills head coach Wade Phillips took notice of the tools Pingel used to shatter 15 Division III records and seven all-division marks during his four years in Fulton for Westminster. "When you look at that guy and you see the mechanics of catching the football, somebody taught him something somewhere," Phillips told The Buffalo News. "Somebody did a good job with him."'

June 14, 2000

Marker Bills backups play [11:27 PM]
Shout! reports: "Wade Phillips had said the Bills' rookies and other younger, backup players would have more playing time, more reps, during the second week of the mini-camp. This afternoon, they did. A thunderstorm again pushed the practice inside the fieldhouse, where it was hot and humid."

Marker Bills' Phillips to appear on HBO's Arliss [8:41 PM]
AP reports: 'Phillips was asked by reporters if he'd consider working on other HBO series, like "Sex And The City." "Well, I don't know about that," he said, laughing. As for The Sopranos? "I'd get killed on The Sopranos."'

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."

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."'

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