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Buffalo Bills News - January 6, 2001

Marker Big man, big job [12:48 PM]
San Diego Union Tribune reports: 'Butler, 54, said he's a "big believer" in building through the draft. At one point in the 2000 season, 18 of Buffalo's starters were drafted by the club. By contrast, only eight of the Chargers' starters in their season finale were San Diego draftees.'

Marker Donahoe talks slow down [8:59 AM]
Buffalo News reports: ' now has been 10 days since the first meeting between Wilson and Donahoe. If the Bills are anxious about striking a deal with the former personnel chief of the Pittsburgh Steelers, they don't appear to be showing it.'

Marker Donahoe says talks with Bills ongoing [6:22 AM]
D and C reports: 'And while his name surfaced for top personnel jobs with the New York Jets and Detroit Lions the past two days, Donahoe insisted his focus is still on Buffalo.'

Marker Butler to bring old pal to S.D. [6:20 AM]
D and C reports: 'But it appears undisclosed NFL officials, interpreting language in the league's anti-tampering policy, have determined that's it's unreasonable for the Bills to hold Smith to the final six weeks of his deal.'

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January 5, 2001

Marker Chargers pin their future on Butler [9:10 PM]
AP reports: 'Of immediate concern is whether Butler will be able to bring along A.J. Smith, the Bills' pro personnel director. Butler and Smith have worked together since the early 1980s. Smith is under contract to Buffalo through mid-February, and reportedly will be forced to serve out the time, unless the Chargers can get the NFL to intervene.'

Marker Chargers name Butler vice president, GM [9:08 PM]
Sportsticker reports: '"It's a big challenge," said Butler, who was fired by Buffalo on December 19 after 14 years with the team. "I'm going to tell you this, nobody is going to outwork us. I don't like the word 'lose.' It's not part of my vocabulary."'

Marker Butler named Executive Vice President/General Manager [9:04 PM]
San Diego Chargers reports: '"John Butler knows what it takes to win in this league," said Spanos. "He's had amazing success in the draft and has been responsible for building championship teams. His record in Buffalo speaks for itself.'

Marker The Chargers did it: Butler takes GM job [1:58 PM]
North County Times reports: 'Once Butler became available ---- after contract talks with Bills owner Ralph Wilson collapsed ---- Spanos spurned other candidates and put Butler No. 1 on his list.'

Marker John Butler comes on board as GM [12:19 PM]
San Diego Union Tribune reports: 'Buffalo owner Ralph Wilson denied the Chargers permission to talk to Smith yesterday, but a source said San Diego will seek to overturn Wilson's decision today by asking the commissioner's office to review Smith's contract.'

Marker Chargers tab Butler as GM [9:06 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Butler will triple his salary, according to NFL and San Diego sources. His deal is worth $7.5 million over five years, the sources said, which is believed to put him among the top five paid GMs in the league.'

Marker Bills' loss of Butler hurts in many ways [9:06 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Not every move Butler made was on target, but he had more hits than misses. He deftly guided the Bills through some difficult transitions, while keeping the team competitive. When it came to the salary cap, Butler based his decisions on how good a player is.'

Marker Bills' owner blocks executive from exit [6:53 AM]
Providence Journal reports: 'Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson has decided to be petty, as well as penurious.'

Marker Ralph Wilson is firing back [5:15 AM]
D and C reports: '...the 82-year-old owner of the Buffalo Bills yesterday denied the Chargers permission to interview his pro personnel director, A.J. Smith, for an undisclosed front office position.'

January 4, 2001

Marker Wilson Passes The Ax [10:14 PM]
Buffalo Post reports: 'It's even harder to imagine Donahoe, who lost his job in Pittsburgh after a power struggle with Steelers coach Bill Cowher, being force-fed an incumbent coach.'

Marker Bills coaches' futures to be decided by new GM [8:42 PM]
AP reports: 'Phillips, who is well-liked by the players, was criticized for his handling of quarterbacks Rob Johnson and Doug Flutie. Blame also fell on the Bills offensive coaching staff, headed by coordinator Joe Pendry, and first-year special teams coach Ronnie Jones.'

Marker Chargers hire Butler as GM [8:41 PM]
AP reports: 'Butler will be introduced at a news conference Friday morning, spokesman Bill Johnston said.'

Marker Here's a Vote for Sports Talk Radio to Get Real [2:01 PM]
Buffalo Beat reports: 'But let's face reality; a lot of times, our "experts" are long on opinion and short on everything else, including the facts. Once again, the hope must be that if you hear it said often enough, you'll believe that Johnson is better than Flutie, even if Flutie plays better, wins more games, and entertains the fans.'

Marker Chargers clear the deck to let Butler do it as GM [1:49 PM]
San Diego Union Tribune reports: 'Chargers president Dean Spanos is so certain that former Buffalo Bills executive John Butler is the right man to take over his football operations that before boarding a private plane yesterday to meet with Butler in Las Vegas, Spanos fired the top two people in his personnel department.'

Marker Chargers clear way for Butler [1:47 PM]
North County Times reports: 'Any chance Butler can entice Bills free-agent defensive end Marcellus Wiley (10 1/2 sacks) and/or disgruntled quarterback Rob Johnson - both Southern California residents - to tag along? Those familiar with Butler's success wouldn't be shocked.'

Marker Bills divided on QB issue [7:04 AM]
CP reports: '"But Doug gets them going much more when he's on the field. He changes things when he's out there, it's a different game with Doug. But he is 38."'

Marker Bills hurry up and wait for next GM [6:14 AM]
D and C reports: 'It's been learned Donahoe, who has comparable credentials to Butler, also wants a five-year deal worth at least $1 million annually, parameters Wilson may be unwilling to commit to.'

January 3, 2001

Marker Chargers fire top personnel men [8:18 PM]
AP reports: 'The San Diego Chargers fired their top two talent evaluators Wednesday, presumably to clear the way for John Butler to be hired as general manager of the NFL's worst team.'

Marker Christie: Bills divided by QB controversy [8:16 PM]
AP reports: 'He is the first Bills player to admit publicly how deeply the rift affected the team. Bills officials were not immediately available for comment.'

Marker Chargers close to landing Butler [1:49 PM]
North County Times reports: 'It's believed Butler will be accompanied to San Diego by a number of his underlings in Buffalo. The most prominent person is A.J. Smith, the Bills' director of pro personnel.'

Marker Titans miracle is thing of past, Gash concludes [12:27 PM]
Baltimore Sun reports: '"I don't care what happened back then, because it's not going to change," Gash said. "It's one of those things where you'll always remember it; you'll never forget it, but you learn from it."

Marker Chargers set to name Butler GM [12:23 PM]
San Diego Union Tribune reports: 'Barring an unexpected setback, the Chargers will announce fired Buffalo Bills executive John Butler as their new general manager by the end of the week, a source close to the situation said last night.'

Marker Wilson takes no action on Phillips [9:02 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Buffalo Bills head coach Wade Phillips had a meeting with team owner Ralph C. Wilson Jr. in Florida on Tuesday and walked away from it with his job intact, team sources said.'

Marker Housecleaning of Bills needs to start now [9:01 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Wilson is the owner. It's his team Phillips turned into a national laughingstock. He should pull the trigger and spare his new general manager - most likely, Tom Donahoe - the trouble of coming to town with blood on his hands.'

Marker Rooting for the enemy [9:01 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The handful of followers of the University at Buffalo women's basketball team were excited to see Bills quarterback Doug Flutie at the Bulls game at Boston College last week. They were disappointed to learn that Doug was rooting for the Eagles and not Buffalo, but they should take solace in the fact that Flutie didn't really seem to know who BC was playing.'

Marker Phillips job appears secure following meeting with Bills owner [6:35 AM]
AP reports: '"Mr. Wilson confirmed, as he did three weeks ago, that Wade Phillips is head coach of the Bills," team spokesman Scott Berchtold said after Wilson and Phillips held a daylong meeting at Wilson's home in West Palm Beach, Fla.'

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