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Buffalo Bills News - April 1, 2004

Marker Smith, Mora and mularkey excited by new jobs [7:35 PM]
ESPN reports: 'Bledsoe tends to sit in the pocket and get creamed. To adapt, Mularkey wants Bledsoe to release the ball on his fifth step. "Some of that is in the design of the play," Mularkey said. "On his fifth step, he's got to let it go. Some of the scheme will almost force him to get the ball out of his hands quicker. I'm not going to say anything about the system or last year. I have a different philosophy on how to attack, and I think (offensive coordinator) Tom Clements has the same one, which is why I feel comfortable with Tom calling the plays. He has seen it be effective. I think it improved Kordell Stewart's play. It improved Tommy Maddox's play. I think it will help Drew."'

Marker Hope to Spring From Hunter's Hope Ball [4:19 PM]
WROC-TV reports: 'The hope is to raise $100,000 from the gala. To buy tickets for the July 23 event, call 1-877-984-HOPE.'

Marker Report: Pro Bowl G Brown agrees to terms with Bears [4:18 PM]
Sportsticker reports: 'The 6-3, 304-pound Brown started 136 games with the Bills. He missed the regular season finale in 2003 due to what the club termed "personal problems."'

Marker Bears continue to revamp line [4:17 PM]
ESPN reports: Free agent guard Ruben Brown, the eight-time Pro Bowl performer released by the Buffalo Bills last month, has agreed to join the Chicago Bears on a three-year contract.

Marker Candlelight Ball for Hunter's Hope [12:07 PM]
Rochester D&C reports: Hunter Kelly is doing far better than anyone could have hoped. ”I just never met anybody with the will he has,” Jim Kelly said today as he announced plans for the second-ever Hunter’s Hope Candlelight Ball in Rochester.

Marker Deal imminent between Bears and Pro Bowl guard Brown [11:35 AM]
Chicago Tribune reports: 'Sources said Wednesday night that the last issue involved whether the contract would be for one or three years, but it was not considered a sticking point. It's expected that Brown will earn a salary approaching $1 million, slightly over the veteran's minimum of $760,000.'

Marker Bills Backers of Arizona [11:33 AM] reports: The Group gathers at the Native New Yorker Restaurant on Alma School road and Guadalupe road in Mesa Arizona.

Marker Clements says run more, set up pass [5:16 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '”I know when I was a player I called my own plays and if I could hand it off to the running back, that takes a lot of pressure off the quarterback and it opens up a lot of things downfield,” Clements said. ”I played most of my career in Canada and you only have three downs to get a first down, but I think every year I played I had a running back who ran for over 1,000 yards, so even in a passing league you still had to run the ball.”

Marker Brown a Bear? His decision is due today [5:15 AM]
Chicago Sun Times reports: 'There have been no negotiations between the Bears and Brown's agent, Eric Metz, because it's basically a take-it-or-leave-it proposition.'

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March 31, 2004

Marker Buffalo Bills 2004 Draft Preview [4:38 PM]
The Sports Network reports: 'The Bills enter the draft with a glaring weakness at wide receiver. Josh Reed showed he was better suited to fill the No. 3 role. Statistically, Drew Bledsoe was one of the worst quarterbacks in the league and the team came up empty in a bid to sign Billy Volek as its signal-caller of the future.'

Marker Bills Alumni Spotlight: Mark Pike [11:14 AM] reports: '"I realized early that that was my meal ticket," Pike said. "I don’t want to say we didn’t focus on our positions, but we put the extra focus to our special teams, making that as important as playing offense or defense. We prepared that way, we studied film that way, we practiced that way. Steve and I became the two leaders of the special teams for years because of that. Later in my career, half the time I felt like I was a coach. We had so many young players, I was the guy that everybody came to. Your coaches can coach you so much, but then the younger players like to talk to players who have been through it."'

Marker Retooling Drew [8:52 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills are counting heavily on their new offensive scheme to allow their 32-year-old quarterback to excel. It's a system that worked in Pittsburgh with quarterbacks Kordell Stewart and Tommy Maddox. "I have a different philosophy (than last year's staff) on how to attack," Mularkey said. "I think Tom (Clements) has the same one, which is why I feel comfortable with Tom calling the plays. He has seen it be effective. I think it improved Kordell's play, it improved Tommy's play. I think it will help Drew."'

Marker Healthy McGahee shaking off the rust [8:51 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"He's been impressive," Bills coach Mike Mularkey said. "I saw no hesitation at all with his knee. He looked very fluid and I think he built a lot of confidence in this camp. "We're going like he is full go. To me, sometimes you can make them too conscious of it. I personally don't ask him how he's feeling. I let the trainers tell me. We're trying to get him confident and it looks like he is ready."'

Marker Bills are interested in Stewart with a slash [8:50 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'However, if Stewart decides to join the Bills, Buffalo coach Mike Mularkey plans to use him on selected plays as a running back or receiver. "I'm intrigued by Kordell because of some of the abilities he has to do some of the things we talk about," Mularkey said Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings. "I don't want to call it the slash role, but it's a little bit of that. To me, when he was the most popular player in the league, that's what he was doing best."'

Marker East rivals look in mirror [6:35 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'This is Mularkey's first year as a head coach and he admits he hasn't done a lot of in-depth study of the teams in the division. But he has seen tapes of both of the Bills' games against the Patriots and has a pretty good grasp on what he's facing.'

Marker Teague speaks to benefit Boys and Girls Club [5:16 AM]
Jackson Sun reports: '''You can do anything you can put your mind to,'' Teague said. ''Stay focused on your goals, start now and don't be afraid of standing up for what you believe in.'''

Marker After bummer season, new regime gives Bledsoe new start [5:15 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: Can Drew still do? Does the wing that was as hot as any in Buffalo in 2002 have anything left? Or is this the end for a quarterback that has never really received the due he has deserved in his career? Time will tell, and there are seven million reasons why the Bills want an answer by late October.

March 30, 2004

Marker Troy Vincent elected president of players' union [9:49 PM]
AP reports: Bills cornerback Troy Vincent was elected president of the NFL Players Association on Tuesday.

Marker Drew's demise? [3:15 PM]
Pro Football Weekly reports: The personnel people I spoke to, almost to a man, echoed the same reasons for Bledsoe’s poor 2003 season — the loss of deep-threat weapon Price, the inconsistency of the offensive line, the stubbornness of the play-calling. These factors should all be rectified by the time the season begins in September.

Marker Bills sign lineman [5:15 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'General manager Tom Donahoe drafted the Notre Dame product in the fourth round in 1995 and was with the Steelers when head coach Mike Mularkey was on staff there. In Cincinnati, Gibson played for Bills defensive-line coach Tim Krumrie.'

Marker Titans Caravan finishes with 'Wycheck Day' [5:14 AM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: 'The date and time of the Titans-Bills preseason game in Buffalo has been set: Aug. 21 at 6 p.m.'

Marker Buffalo Signs Gibson [5:13 AM] reports: 'Gibson has appeared in 133 games with 57 starts.'

March 29, 2004

Marker Bears likely to add FB Johnson [11:10 PM]
Chicago Sun Times reports: 'The Bears also offered a three-year contract to guard Ruben Brown, an eight-time Pro Bowl player who was released by the Bills in a cost-cutting move. The Bears plan to start Mike Gandy at right guard but can't resist the chance to add a player with the resume of Brown, 32, a first-round pick in 1985 who became a perennial Pro Bowl selection over his 10-year career. He was waived because he carried a $5.8 million salary-cap number for 2004. The Bills replaced him with former Bears right guard Chris Villarrial. Brown is likely to take the Bears' offer and compare it to any other deals he receives. Brown is still talking to the Lions and Patriots.'

Marker McGahee As Ready As Ever [6:19 PM] reports: '"I'm healthy and I'm going to go out there and give it all I've got," said McGahee. "Everybody gets better as the season goes on. The more you work out the better it gets."'

Marker Gibson Agrees To Terms With Buffalo [6:07 PM]
WGR-AM reports: 'He'll sign a reported two year deal.'

Marker Thou shalt draft impact players, regardless of position [6:03 PM] reports: "We'd never say because somebody is a safety that makes him less valuable," Bills general manager Tom Donahoe says. "It's not inconceivable that a safety or tight end could be the first guy in the draft, because for us, it's strictly a matter of evaluating the guy's skill."

Marker Michigan Sports Hall of Fame to induct 50th class [4:33 PM]
AP reports: 'Joe DeLamielleure, Pat LaFontaine and Chris Spielman will be among 10 people inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame on Tuesday.'

Marker Bills Agree To Terms With Gibson [2:57 PM] reports: 'A graduate of Notre Dame with a degree in economics, Gibson entered the League when he was drafted in the fourth round of the 1995 draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers (120th overall). He played for the Steelers from 1995-98 before signing with the Bengals as an unrestricted free agent in March of 1999.'

Marker Bills sign free agent DT Gibson [2:47 PM]
Sportsticker reports: 'The 32-year-old defensive tackle spent the last five seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. He played in all 16 games last season, marking the eighth time in the last nine years he has appeared in every contest.'

Marker Buffalo should sign Stewart as Bledsoe backup right now [1:12 PM]
Niagara Falls Reporter reports: 'Donahoe can, and should, cross "find a backup quarterback" off the to-do list immediately. He's not going to find someone better suited to the job, or the situation, than Stewart.'

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