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Buffalo Bills News - September 5, 2002

Marker Recovery from cancer heightens Gilbride's appreciation for the coaching life [2:17 PM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Cancer cost him one kidney and a rib, but it did not steal Gilbride's spirit. In a way, it was symbolic of the highs and lows he experienced for his 50 years.'

Marker Offensive line in a rush to mature [2:16 PM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Buffalo Bills' offensive line is tougher, meaner and more athletic than the 2001 version. It is also much younger and less experienced.'

Marker Henry primed to build on rookie season [2:15 PM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I'm looking forward to the season getting started," he said. "The coaches have told me that we're going to run the ball a lot, and I think I'm ready to make things happen this year."'

Marker Coming of age [2:15 PM]
Buffalo News reports: '"Like everybody else around here, I didn't know much about him before he came," says Bills fullback Larry Centers. "But the thing I've been impressed with is his leadership qualities - the ability to not even hesitate, not even blink, to step forward and speak to the team and talk about something that's not getting done right, something we need to work on as a team. He is willing to speak up. He's not afraid at all to step on that soapbox."'

Marker Submit your picks for the TBD Football Pool [9:22 AM]
TBD reports: 'Today is the deadline to submit your picks for week 1 of the pool. Don't be left out!'

Marker Bills' hopes ride on Bledsoe's arm [9:03 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills' prospects this season are riding on Bledsoe. Their young defense is not looking strong to open the season. The team will need Bledsoe and the offense to play well right away if it is going to have a good start to the 2002 campaign.'

Marker NFL's castoffs feeling burden of proof [9:03 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'So this Sunday, two of the game's stars will try to prove themselves all over again. It doesn't matter how well Cowart was playing for the Bills before he went down on that afternoon in Tampa two seasons ago, or how much money the Jets paid him as a free agent. No one really cares what a good soldier Bledsoe was after losing his starting job to Tom Brady during New England's improbable run to the Super Bowl. No one talks about the $103 million contract he signed before his final, ill-fated season with the Patriots. It's what you do on the field that matters.'

Marker Ahanotu moves up defensive line depth chart [9:02 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Ahanotu, the 10th-year veteran who started in Tampa and St. Louis, is expected to play most first and second downs against the Jets. But he also will get snaps in pass-rushing situations, both at end and tackle.'

Marker A Brave Cowart [8:57 AM]
Newark Star Ledger reports: '"Man, it puts a lot of pressure on me," Cowart said. "I definitely have to step up and meet the requirements. But I think everything will be good. We have a lot of good guys up front, and we have Marvin and Mo (Lewis), guys who are definitely going to help me. If I do what I'm suppose to do in the defense, it's going to put me in position to make plays."'

Marker Bills coach knows he's holding an ace in Bledsoe [8:56 AM]
Newark Star Ledger reports: '[Q:] How will Bledsoe hold up playing behind a young offensive line? [A:]We really think that Drew will do a lot of things for the offense and mask several young players as they get acclimated to the league because he's been in the fires before. The fact that he may have to move around mobility-wise will be some of the things we will design also. So we're fine with that. The big thing is Drew won't panic.'

Marker AFC East Team Previews [8:52 AM]
Baltimore Sun reports: 'Pressure's on: Gregg Williams, who got the job over the Ravens' Marvin Lewis a year ago. Williams' defense was slow to jell and his offense too inconsistent. He can't afford another 3-13, and he's got the added pressure of playing in what might be the NFL's best division.'

Marker Bills get Geason ready in a hurry [5:18 AM]
D and C reports: 'Newly signed tight end Cory Geason received a crash course in special teams play on Wednesday and could even see duty in short-yardage situations when the Buffalo Bills kick off the regular season against the New York Jets on Sunday.'

Marker Cowart still loves to hit [5:17 AM]
D and C reports: '"Playing in Buffalo, I'd say it's like watching TV on a 13-inch screen," he told New York reporters when he signed. "Now, you're getting an opportunity to watch me play on a screen that's 60 inches."'

Marker Bills have come due [5:15 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'Bledsoe has opened his teammates' eyes all summer with his work ethic and leadership. But Bills' fourth-string wide receiver Charles Johnson, who was his teammate with the Pats as well, has seen something more. "It seems like he's reborn and I love watching him take advantage of it," Johnson said. "He probably won't admit it, but I guarantee you (Sunday) is going to be like early in his career, he's going to have that nervous energy going."'

Marker New QB means new hope for Bills [5:14 AM]
Toronto Star reports: 'It's been an eventful couple of years, this tearing down again after the tearing down of the Kelly/Levy axis. Doug Flutie turned into a pumpkin, Alex Van Pelt auditioned to be a starter and Rob Johnson just kept on being Rob Johnson.'

Marker Too good to be Drew? [5:13 AM]
New York Post reports: '"He's their best quarterback since Jim Kelly and he can do for them what Jim Kelly did for them," Jets CB Ray Mickens said yesterday, referring to the four Super Bowls Kelly helped lead the Bills to in the '90s. "He makes them formidable."'

Marker Bledsoe gears up for new beginning [5:12 AM]
Boston Herald reports: '"More than anything, I'm just excited to be back on the field," he said. "I feel like I've been here a lot longer than I have. This is the time I've been waiting for. I want to prove I can still play at an extremely high level."'

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September 4, 2002

Marker Bills add Stevenson to practice squad [8:33 PM]
AP reports: 'Stevenson was Buffalo's fourth and final seventh-round pick in last April's draft. He was released on Tuesday after the Bills claimed four players off waivers.'

Marker Bledsoe primed for Bills' season opener [8:32 PM]
AP reports: '"This is the time I've been waiting for," Bledsoe said. "We finally get to play some games. Now we have a job in front of us."'

Marker Simms: Don't Always Believe What [6:33 PM] reports: I'm looking forward to broadcasting the Jets-Bills game this weekend for a couple of reasons. I like the Bills' new uniforms, but there's more to it than that. This is Drew Bledsoe's first regular-season start in Buffalo for the Bills and it's going to be exciting. But Bledsoe is only half the story here: We're going to see two of the best throwers in the National Football League, without question.

Marker Bills Kick Off "School Is Cool" Essay Contest With Meadow Brook Diary [5:59 PM] reports: The Buffalo Bills and Meadow Brook Dairy will kickoff the “School is Cool” Essay Contest this Thursday at 11:30 AM-12:30 PM at Ellicott Road Elementary School located at 5180 Ellicott Road in Orchard Park.

Marker Bills Television Shows To Start This Week [5:58 PM] reports: Bills All Access with Steve Tasker starts Saturday, September 7th at 11:00 AM on the Empire Sports Network. The Gregg Williams Show presented by Pontiac GMC airs Sunday mornings on WIVB-TV in Buffalo and Saturday evenings at 7:30 PM on WOKR-TV in Rochester.

Marker Drew Bledsoe Quotebook [5:55 PM] reports: "I expect us to be very good and I expect us to be extremely competitive. We are going to go out and do everything we can to win this game this weekend. I think that we have the ablility to do it."

Marker Bledsoe Makes Regular Season Debut [5:54 PM] reports: Quarterback Drew Bledsoe will make his regular season debut with the Bills this Sunday and will do it against a familiar opponent. In his career, Bledsoe has faced the Jets 16 times (all starts). Against them, he is 295 of 548 passing for 3,437 yards with 16 TDs and 22 INTs. He also has 31 rushes for 95 yards and scored one of his two career rushing TDs against them.

Marker Cards to look at ex-Bills tackle John Fina [1:28 PM]
Arizona Republic reports: OT John Fina plans to visit the Cardinals today and take a physical as the club tries to bolster its offensive-line depth. Fina, who played at Tucson Salpointe High and Arizona, is a 10-year veteran. He was chosen by Buffalo in the first round of the 1992 draft. Fina has also drawn interest from Washington but would prefer to sign with Arizona because he lives in Tucson, said his agent. Fina likely wouldn't sign until next week. Veterans on the roster in the first week are guaranteed their season's salaries should they be cut later. As a result, many veterans such as Fina often aren't signed until Week 2.

Marker Drew Bledsoe: Buffalo Bills [11:56 AM]
Orange County Register reports: '"Sometimes, when you're in the same place for a long time, it's human nature: You get a little stale," Bills general manager Tom Donahoe said. "The opportunity here seems to have revitalized him, re-energized him."'

Marker Bryson's status settled - for now [9:05 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I'm glad that I'm a part of this team, and I'm glad to have the trade stuff behind me," said Bryson, still listed as Travis Henry's backup. "Now I can just focus on playing. It gets kind of tough when people keep bringing it up because you don't ever know what's going to happen."'

Marker Wire at safety strengthens run defense [9:05 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Wire was a steal as the 97th overall pick in the draft, but he's a converted linebacker and still a bit shaky in pass coverage. But he sure can hit, and the Bills are willing to risk an occasional big pass play to fortify their questionable run defense.'

Marker 2002 NFL Preview: AFC East [8:48 AM]
Bergen Record reports: 'Path to the playoffs: Williams has a strong defensive background and he will need to use all of it to improve the Bills' rushing defense enough to get them near .500. At least he's got a terrific pair of young corners in Antoine Winfield and Nate Clements.'

Marker Fair Catch for Bills [5:38 AM]
D and C reports: '"We hope that's a routine thing," Bills coach Gregg Williams said of Rogers' touchdown against the Lions. "We've worked very hard on that phase of our game, on making returns a part of our offense."'

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09/11 @ Baltimore Ravens 1:00 pm
09/15 New York Jets 8:25 pm
09/25 Arizona Cardinals 1:00 pm
10/02 @ New England Patriots 1:00 pm
10/09 @ Los Angeles Rams 4:25 pm
10/16 San Francisco 49ers 1:00 pm
10/23 @ Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm
10/30 New England Patriots 1:00 pm
11/07 @ Seattle Seahawks 8:30 pm
11/20 @ Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 pm
11/27 Jacksonville Jaguars 1:00 pm
12/4 @ Oakland Raiders 4:05 pm
12/11 Pittsburgh Steelers 1:00 pm
12/18 Cleveland Browns 1:00 pm
12/24 Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm
01/01 @ New York Jets 1:00 pm

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