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Buffalo Bills News - March 5, 2004

Marker Late-night turnabout [5:10 AM]
St. Paul Pioneer Press reports: 'Cornerback Antoine Winfield had pen in hand, ready to sign a $30 million contract with the New York Jets, when the Vikings managed to whisk him away from the Big Apple on a private airplane late Thursday night.'

Marker Winfield backs away from Jets deal [5:09 AM]
ESPN reports: Late in the evening, as the two sides were finalizing the deal, Winfield backed away for what sources described as personal reasons. And the Jets, who had been expected to introduce the newest addition to a rebuilding defense at a Friday news conference could now see Winfield make some visits to other clubs that have been pursuing him.

Marker Winfield waffles on Jets offer [5:08 AM]
AP reports: 'If Winfield does not end up with the Jets, it would be a huge embarrassment for a franchise hoping to make up for a disastrous 2003.'

Marker Winfield Balks on Deal [5:07 AM] reports: 'Winfield was being scouted by the Minnesota Vikings and Houston Texans and could still arrange to visit those teams. At 5-feet-9 Winfield is considered a first rate cover corner. But in his five years as a Buffalo Bill had just six interceptions.'

Marker Bengals re-tool defense [5:06 AM] reports: 'But Adams said it’s a good bet Bober won’t sign anywhere until he visits Buffalo and the man who groomed him in New York, new Bills offensive line coach Jim McNally.'

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March 4, 2004

Marker Bruener And Pass Visit The Bills [9:09 PM]
WGR-AM reports: 'Free agent FB Patrick Pass was also in Orchard Park. He's more of a special teams guy with 12 special teams tackles and a 23.1 yards per attempt on kickoff returns. He was a 7th round pick three years ago by the World Champion Patriots out of Georgia.'

Marker Villarrial Joins Bills [9:08 PM]
Indiana Gazette reports: 'In Buffalo, Villarrial will play for Director of Football Operations Tom Donahoe, and his assistant, Tom Modrak, both of whom are IUP graduates.'

Marker It was time for Brown, Bills to part [4:25 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'According to Donahoe, “sometimes you do it for change” and, in this case, that’s exactly what Ruben and the Bills needed.'

Marker Bruener Says He's Healthy and Can Contribute [4:24 PM] reports: '"This is my first free agent visit. I've had the great luxury of being with the Pittsburgh Steelers for nine years. This is a unique opportunity for me to see how another organization is run and see the personnel. It's a great opportunity for me to see some familiar faces in a different organization. I'm really impressed with what I see here in regards to the direction that Tom Donahoe and Mike Mularkey are trying to pursue. I'm really excited about what I've seen so far."'

Marker Pro Bowl CB Vincent Finds Buffalo Attractive [4:23 PM] reports: '"Oh yes. You know what teams are going to be in need of a particular position. I knew there would be a chance that Antoine (Winfield) wouldn't be here and I wouldn't be in Philly and that the market would be open. It's not far from home so of course it was a squad that myself and my wife looked at real hard to see if it was a good fit."'

Marker Moulds hoping Bills land speedy receiver [4:22 PM]
AP reports: '''People have that expectation from being in Buffalo of going to four Super Bowls, and as a player you want to continue that tradition,'' Moulds said. ''You feel like it's your responsibility to keep things going and the last few years we haven't done that."'

Marker Bills bring in two players for visits [4:22 PM]
AP reports: 'The Buffalo Bills' courting of free agents continued on Thursday as they met with tight end Mark Bruener and fullback Patrick Pass.'

Marker Who are the early winners and losers in free agency? [3:59 PM]
Pro Football Weekly reports: The Bills quietly reached an accord with ORG Chris Villarrial, and at a bargain price (four years, $12 million). Villarrial is 31, but he’s a mauler who is rarely beaten or penalized and, along with underachieving ORT Mike Williams, puts Buffalo in position to have the best right side of an offensive line in the NFL. Somewhere, RBs Travis Henry and Willis McGahee are smiling.

Marker Bills ink right guard Villarrial [8:52 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"Coach Mularkey has a plan he's going to put into action," Villarial said. "I think it's going to work. I'm going to play right guard. I'm going to work with (right tackle) Mike Williams, and we're going to run the ball. That's what I'm excited about."'

Marker Bills sign guard Villarrial [5:16 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Improving Buffalo’s offensive line play and the team’s overall mental toughness are goals spelled out by president and general manager Tom Donahoe. In signing Villarrial, the team feels it has helped address both areas.'

Marker Vikings interested in Bills' Winfield [5:15 AM]
St. Paul Pioneer Press reports: 'The Vikings believe Winfield is the best available cornerback in a strong class. Although he is just 5 feet 9, the former first-round pick from Ohio State is known for his toughness, coverage ability and help on run support. Winfield played two years under new Vikings defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell in Buffalo.'

Marker Bears start fast, fade fast [5:14 AM]
Arlington Heights Daily Herald reports: '"Chris did a great job for us, but when a player gets out into free agency you have to be prepared to lose him," Angelo said. "So we'll still look for offensive linemen. We're comfortable with the people we have. We have Terrence Metcalf, so we do have a replacement for Chris. But we want to get more linemen in here to create good depth if nothing else."'

Marker So long Keyshawn and trade? [5:13 AM]
St. Petersburg Times reports: '"My intention was to re-sign with Buffalo but as soon as free agency started everything broke loose," said Moore, a 12-year veteran whose one-year, $900,000 contract will cost only $450,000 on the salary cap because of a veteran exception. "Tampa called and we started talking and it seemed that it made a lot of sense for my situation and my family to be here all year round."'

Marker Steelers sign Kreider, eye Colts' linebacker Marcus Washington [5:12 AM]
Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports: 'Tight end Mark Bruener, released Friday by the Steelers, will visit Buffalo Tuesday to meet with the man who drafted him No. 1 in 1995 with the Steelers, Bills president Tom Donahoe, and his former tight ends coach and offensive coordinator, Buffalo coach Mike Mularkey. "We have interest in him as a blocking tight end," Donahoe said, "and we're eager to have him in for a visit."

Marker Put the press on Winfield [5:11 AM]
Newark Star Ledger reports: 'New Jets defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson wants to play a gambling, blitz-happy scheme that relies on man-to-man coverage and Winfield is the perfect fit. Winfield, a first-round pick in 1999, has played his entire career with the Bills and last season became the first cornerback in club history to lead the team in tackles. Opponents rarely threw to his side with success.'

Marker Jets try to corner Winfield market [5:10 AM]
New York Daily News reports: 'As of last night, the two sides were trying to hammer out a deal. It's believed the Jets offered a multi-year contract averaging at least $5.6 million per year, including a signing bonus that may top $10 million. One sticking point was the amount of money in the first three years, but there were late indications an agreement could be reached today.'

Marker Corner market [5:09 AM]
New York Newsday reports: 'Winfield, 26, viewed as a good fit for the predominantly man-to-man system the Jets want to play, made the Jets his first stop on his free-agent tour. He has other visits planned, but he and his agent spent the night on Long Island and will continue talks with the Jets this morning.'

March 3, 2004

Marker Bills cut Moore [11:21 PM]
ESPN reports: Clayton's Quick Hits:
The Bills cut tight end Dave Moore to save $800,000 of cap room. Their plan was to cut him and re-sign him quickly to the minimum salary qualifier and get $450,000 in cap relief. The only problem is that the Bucs worked quickly to convince him to return to the Tampa area. Moore, a former Bucs starting tight end, accepted the minimum salary tender and joined Jon Gruden and the Bucs Wednesday.

Marker Moore Returns [9:02 PM] reports: Dave Moore always had a nose for the end zone at Raymond James Stadium. Maybe that helped him find his way back to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers opened their 2004 free agency efforts on Wednesday with the immediate signing of Moore, the 12th-year veteran TE. Moore played the majority of his NFL career with the Buccaneers before spending the last two seasons with the Buffalo Bills.

Marker New Guard Villarrial Says He's Ready To Win [7:43 PM] reports: '"First and foremost, they have great fans. The family atmosphere. Thirdly would be the coaching staff. I met with the staff and they're excited. They want to win. They want to bring a winner here. I want to win. That's our fit."'

Marker Bills Sign Chris Villarrial [7:42 PM] reports: 'Last season, he started all 13 games in which he played. Entering his ninth season, Villarrial has primarily played right guard with the exception of the 1997 season when he started 11 games at center. A three-year starter at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Villarrial was drafted by the Bears in the fifth round of the 1996 draft.'

Marker Bills sign offensive lineman Villarrial, work out cornerback Vincent [7:41 PM]
AP reports: 'The Bills also worked out cornerback Troy Vincent on Wednesday. Vincent, who has 42 interceptions in his 12-year career, has played with both Philadelphia and Miami. ''We had a good talk and it was a chance for him to visit with certain people,'' Mularkey said. ''I think he's still playing at a high level and is a very good corner.'''

Marker Bills sign offensive lineman Villarrial [7:40 PM]
AP reports: 'Villarrial, 30, has spent his entire eight-year career with the Chicago Bears, starting 109 of the 116 games that he has appeared in.'

Marker What should the Buffalo Bills top priority be in free agency? [7:39 PM]
WHEC-TV reports: 'Whether it's Drew Bledsoe's confidence to stand in the pocket, or bigger holes for Travis Henry, improving the offense starts in the trenches, and that's where I'd spend my money first.'

Marker Vincent Visits. Woody Had Not Been Contacted [7:39 PM]
WGR-AM reports: 'The Bills say reports on CNN/SI report that they're close to coming to terms with free agent Damien Woody are false.'

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