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Buffalo Bills News - March 7, 2002

Marker New York Jets Sign Free Agent Sam Cowart; Re-Sign Marvin Jones [8:23 AM]
Bloomberg reports: 'Cowart had 487 tackles, four interceptions, three fumble recoveries and 6 1/2 sacks in his five seasons in Buffalo.'

Marker Bills, Linebacker London Fletcher Agree to Five-Year Contract [8:22 AM]
Bloomberg reports: 'St. Louis was unable to resign Fletcher after the season, and on Sunday signed free agent Jamie Duncan to replace him at middle linebacker.'

Marker QB Blake piques Buffalo's interest [8:19 AM]
New Orleans Times Picayune reports: '"I'm not going to rush into anything," Blake said. "But with the (NFL) combine over, things should heat up by next week. If I had to sign today, it would be with Buffalo, but I'm trying to get in the best situation for me."'

Marker Jets sign ex-Bill 'Sam C' [5:20 AM]
New York Post reports: '"The addition of 'Sam C' makes our linebacker corps one of the best in the league. I can't wait to get on the field now. It'll be something to see."'

Marker Jets Taking Big Gamble [5:19 AM]
New York Daily News reports: 'Worst-case scenario: If Cowarts reinjures his Achilles early in the season, the Jets can cut him next offseason without major cap implications. Basically, it's a $3 million gamble.'

Marker Jets Add Playmaker [5:18 AM]
New York Newsday reports: 'Cowart's negotiations with the Bills hit a snag, apparently because Buffalo wanted his salary in 2003 reduced if he got hurt in 2002. There is no such clause in the Jets' contract. However, Cowart is eligible for up to a $6-million option bonus next March, which is partially based on playing time. If exercised, the bonus would be prorated over the final five years of the deal for cap purposes.'

Marker Tennessee loses Fisk to Chargers [5:17 AM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: 'Safety Blaine Bishop spent yesterday in Buffalo visiting with the Bills while receiver Chris Sanders, released by the Titans last week, has drawn interest as well.'

Marker Texans zero in on Wong, Bradford [5:16 AM]
Houston Chronicle reports: 'Meanwhile, negotiations with free-agent quarterback Rob Johnson are at a stalemate. The Texans are holding firm to their one-year, $1 million commitment, and Johnson has said Houston is where he wants to be and that money won't be an issue. Nevertheless, he and his agent have not pulled the trigger on the deal.'

Marker Ex-Ram Fletcher replaces Cowart [5:12 AM]
D and C reports: 'A tenacious player who goes sideline-to-sideline, the Bills like Fletcher because he'll be able to anchor the middle of their 4-3 defense and stay on the field on passing downs, either in coverage or to blitz.'

Marker Cowart back with Cottrell on rival Jets [5:11 AM]
D and C reports: '"I was lobbying for Sam since I got here," said Cottrell, who joined the Jets last year. "I never thought we could pull this off because he's one of those rare players. Needless to say, I was jumping up and down when it happened."'

Marker Losing Cowart to the N.Y. Jets could backfire [5:10 AM]
D and C reports: 'Donahoe and Williams appear determined to win or lose with their own guys. Given a reasonable amount of time, they probably will.'

Marker Steelers, Bruener agree on new deal [5:08 AM]
Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports: 'The Steelers also are trying to bring another player home, former Pitt tight end Dave Moore, who was released by Tampa Bay for salary cap purposes...Moore was in Buffalo yesterday.'

Marker Steelers kicker to visit Buffalo [5:07 AM]
Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports: 'Steelers kicker Kris Brown will get lots of frequent-flier miles, not much rest and, perhaps, a new place to play next week. Add Buffalo to his travel itinerary, after the Bills scheduled a meeting with Brown for next Tuesday and Wednesday.'

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March 6, 2002

Marker Jets pick up Cowart [9:42 PM]
New York Times reports: '"This," said Cottrell, who was disappointed in not getting a head- coaching position, "is one of the best days I've had in a long while."'

Marker Bills land Fletcher to lead defense [9:21 PM]
WGRZ-TV reports: 'Already, some NFL observers think the Bills are better off with Fletcher leading their defense, than they would have been with Cowart and the uncertainty of his achilles injury.'

Marker Jets sign free agent LB Cowart to multi-year contract [9:05 PM]
Sportsticker reports: '"I feel very fortunate that the Jets showed so much interest in me," Cowart said. "Obviously, coming off an injury like I did ... some teams stayed away from me. The Jets believed in me."'

Marker Fletcher agrees to sign with Bills [9:03 PM]
AP reports: 'A three-down linebacker, and three-year starter, Fletcher led the NFC champion Rams with 90 tackles last season, and was referred to as "an integral part of the team,'' by St. Louis coach Mike Martz.'

Marker Bills get Fletcher to fill void of Cowart's departure [7:14 PM]
ESPN reports: Details of Fletcher's contract were not immediately available.

Marker What's fair is fair in the Johnson/Flutie flack [7:05 PM]
ESN reports: @ I criticized Dougie for his ill-advised remarks, whenever he was out of Buffalo. Naturally, Flutie fans roasted me, toasted me, skewered me and broiled me from one side to the other. Now, you find your trembling tiny tot of the kilowatt showing you that this adoring little bumpkin is fair.
The point is that Rob Johnson is gone. He should have kept his mouth shut. He couldn't hold back his lip, just like Flutie, and had to come out with what can be perceived as a little self serving, if not vindictive assessmemt. He, like Flutie, served up a big platter of negative rhetoric in conducting pity parties.

Marker Donahoe comments on Sam Cowart [6:51 PM]
BuffaloBills.Com reports: TD gives the impression that despite numerous efforts to keep him in a Bills Uniform, Cowart may have wanted to leave regardless.

Marker London Fletcher visits Bills - Comments to the media [6:50 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: @ Q: Are you ready to sign on the dotted line? A: I have some other trips planned. It's a process. There are some other things that have to be met. So far so good, the organization definitely has a strong interest in me and I have a strong interest in them otherwise I wouldn't be here. I was the first guy they brought in so that shows they are definitely interested. I'm still scheduled to visit with Detroit and Pittsburgh.

Marker AFC Needs: Buffalo [6:29 PM]
ESPN reports: @ The hole: Alex Van Pelt is being paid around $1 million a year to be either the backup or the starting QB, but new OC Gilbride cannot live with just one QB. That's why Gilbride and the Bills management walked around the combine over the weekend looking for agents who had QBs, as well as checking out all of the QBs who were throwing in the RCA Dome.

The solutions: It's pretty simple. Sign Jeff Blake. For some reason, the Bills are wondering if Blake has a lingering ankle problem from the 2000 season. He's had a year on the sidelines as Aaron Brooks' backup to rest the ankle, so he should be fine. Blake and Jonathan Quinn are the two veterans the Bills are talking to, but Blake is the right fit.

Marker LB Cowart to join Jets [3:41 PM]
CBS Sportsline reports: '"We're jumping up and down with joy to sign him," said one Jets team source. "He's one of the top two or three backers in the game."'

Marker Cowart agrees to deal with Jets [3:40 PM]
Fox Sports reports: 'The former Pro Bowl star agreed to a six-year, $31 million deal with the New York Jets.'

Marker Ex-Bills linebacker Sam Cowart to sign with Jets [3:38 PM]
AP reports: 'A league source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the deal was to be completed late Wednesday.'

Marker 2001 Season Review - Statistical suprises [3:19 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: @ Statistical suprises are better than Tuna Surprise but remember that statistics (i.e. QB rating) can be deceiving.

Marker QB Market - too many pegs and/or too few holes [2:22 PM]
The Sporting News reports: @ With Miller and Dilfer resigning, that leaves a few too many pegs and/or too few holes, and the QB market figures mostly to be on mute. The Bills might be interested in tabbing Jeff Blake, who could compete for the starting job. Rob Johnson reportedly is headed to Houston, where he will do the Texans absolutely no good in three games before getting hurt.

Marker Linebacker Cowart will be reunited with Cottrell [1:18 PM]
ESPN reports: @ For months the Bills and middle LB Sam Cowart have argued in negotiations over how much risk the team should assume in a long-term contract following a season in which he partially tore an Achilles tendon. The AFC East rival Jets were willing to take more of the risk and will now put Cowart against the Bills twice a year. Cowart agreed to a six-year, $31 million contract that included a $1.8 million signing bonus and a play-time option bonus in 2003 that could be as much a $6 million.

Marker Cowart now a NJ Jet - Bills looking seriously at Fletcher and others [1:17 PM]
WNSA reports: @ With Sam Cowart now a New York Jet, the Bills will be really looking at London Fletcher who played for the St. Louis Rams. He's 5'11", 241 pounds and was the top tackler for the Rams. In 2000 he recorded 133 tackles with 5.5 sacks and last season added 199 stops with 4.5 sacks. He also picked off 6 passes in the last two years.

Now with Rob Johnson definitely out of Buffalo (and reportedly eager to join the Houston Texans) the QB situation also needs to be addressed. Up comes the name of Jonathan Quinn. Already chants of "The Mighty Quinn" might be ringing around Orchard Park.

Marker Bills foundation grant aids day camp [8:58 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Summer Days program run by the Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers has received a $5,000 grant from the Buffalo Bills Youth Foundation.'

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