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Buffalo Bills News - October 4, 2000

Marker Thomas still waiting for explanation from Bills [8:58 PM]
AP reports: '"I felt like I was embarrassed not getting a phone call from Mr. Wilson," Thomas said Wednesday, referring to Bills owner Ralph Wilson. "I really never got the opportunity to say, 'Bye,' or to wish everybody well there. ... I just want to hear (Wilson's) voice and hear him say what happened and how it went down."'

Marker From the editor [2:57 PM]
Dolphin Digest reports: 'Defense -- This is the strength of both teams and, although the Bills have an outstanding defense, the Dolphins are better because the Bills don't have a linebacker like Zach Thomas or a defensive back like Sam Madison...Special teams -- Olindo Mare will be the difference and Matt Turk should keep the Bills backed up...The Dolphins will win, say 17-13, and it will mean a wonderful bye week for a team that is quietly sneaking up on the rest of the league.'

Marker Morris a pleasant surprise for Bills [9:02 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'When fullback Sammy Morris was taken by the Buffalo Bills in the fifth round of the draft last April, his goals were modest. Maybe a few snaps here or there and an appearance or two on special teams would have made the former Texas Tech star very happy. Morris did earn a job on special teams. As for playing in the Bills' backfield, that hasn't worked out the way he expected. It's worked out better.'

Marker Keeping Butler should be top priority [9:01 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Butler is four months away from auctioning off himself. For some unfathomable reason, Ralph Wilson has not re-signed the big guy who bleeds Bills blue and red. It's the current talk of the league, where Butler enjoys consensus ranking as one of the three or four best general managers in the NFL.'

Marker Walker makes it safety last [8:50 AM]
Palm Beach Post reports: 'Dolphins strong safety Brian Walker smiles at this topic. He's been having to prove his toughness since he came into the league in 1996 as an undrafted 186-pound cornerback. It didn't change this season when the 206-pounder was asked to switch from free safety. "My job is all about banging," Walker said. "Back there at free safety, you didn't have to worry about going against the tight ends and pulling guards because those big guys don't want to run downfield that far. I know I've got to play a physical game."'

Marker Bills are ordinary, not a contender [5:07 AM]
D and C reports: 'It is farcical to consider the Bills a serious threat this year to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl and serve as sacrificial lambs to the St. Louis Rams. In fact, if the Bills lose Sunday in Miami, you may have to cross them off the list of contenders for the AFC playoffs because the hole they will be in will be almost inescapable.'

Marker Living for the moment [5:06 AM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: 'Lost amid the brouhaha surrounding the preseason demotion of ex-starter J.J. Johnson is the fact the Dolphins have another talented tailback worthy of playing time. Denson proved that in Sunday's 31-16 victory over Cincinnati. "It got me a chance to show what I could do and that I could contribute," said Denson, who rushed eight times for 32 yards and caught one pass for five yards in his first action of the season. "I want them to feel I'm one of those players they kind of need to be out there every week."'

Marker Gadsden becoming Fiedler's choice [5:03 AM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: '"When the opportunity arises, I think the people in the locker room count on me to make some plays. I want to do that for the people that are fighting [to win] everyday, especially when it gets down in the red zone."'

Marker Bills dismiss Thomas as a grumpy old man [5:01 AM]
Miami Herald reports: 'Mostly, Thomas' former teammates put his remarks down to his typical behavior. Thomas has historically found ways to motivate himself through the perceived disrespect by others.'

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October 3, 2000

Marker Miami game now looms huge for Bills [2:37 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'Heading into a meeting with the Dolphins at Broward County's Pro Player Stadium five days from now, the Bills are already in trouble in the AFC East. Bad enough they're 2-2 a quarter of the way into the season, worse they're 0-2 in the NFL's toughest Division and about to meet a Miami team with a defense almost the equal of their own...on the road.'

Marker Thomas' blasts heat up Bills-Dolphins [9:01 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'In Monday's Miami Herald, Thomas was especially harsh toward to defensive end Phil Hansen, strong safety Henry Jones and linebacker John Holecek. Thomas attacked Hansen for his public comments about fellow ex-Bill Bruce Smith and his training camp holdouts. Thomas also claimed Jones and Holecek disrespected him in practices.'

Marker Same old Thurman stages verbal rerun of his tired act [8:59 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Thurman says he didn't forget what happened in the offseason, but nobody forgot about him, either. The sorry thing about Thurman's act is that he gave us a refresher course about himself. He's older, but he's not any wiser.'

Marker Dolphins notebook [7:23 AM]
Orlando Sentinel reports: '"He`s as big as all outside." -- Linebacker Robert Jones on Buffalo nose tackle Ted Washington.'

Marker Dolphins gearing for Bills [7:22 AM]
Orlando Sentinel reports: '"I guess with Buffalo and the Jets, it starts feeling more intense around here than any other week because of the rivalry," receiver Oronde Gadsden said. "With the history between the teams we`ve put together, it`s going to be a little more intense."'

Marker Dolphins have a different look [7:15 AM]
Palm Beach Post reports: 'Robert Jones couldn't say it last week. He wanted to, and he was even asked to, but he couldn't say anything bad about Cincinnati for fear of motivating the Bengals. He doesn't have such a problem this week with Buffalo up next. "Now that it's done and over with, I can honestly say I didn't have much respect for Cincinnati," the linebacker said. "I only said that (to the media), but I do respect Buffalo. Buffalo's got a lot of talent. Great quarterbacks. Either one can give us trouble. Both have given us trouble in the past. Great wide receivers. A harem of running backs, massive offensive line. It's going to be a tough, physical battle this week." How tough? "Look at their mascot," he said, "it's a buffalo. There's nothing finesse about a buffalo."'

Marker Dolphins' backfield crowded [7:13 AM]
Palm Beach Post reports: 'Thurman Thomas will get all the attention -- it is, after all, Buffalo week -- but the Miami Dolphins' running backs are learning to share the football. For the first time this season, three Miami runners got at least five carries in Sunday's 31-16 victory over Cincinnati. This depth was needed after Thomas was held out with a groin injury.'

Marker Bills hoping to reverse trend against Dolphins [6:36 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'Two weeks ago against the New York Jets it was special teams mistakes and last Sunday, red-zone ineptitude led to the 18-16 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. "It's a division loss at home against a team (Indianapolis) that's supposed to be the Super Bowl champ and we had them," Bills linebacker John Holecek said. "But we let it slip through our fingers." That's where the problem lies. Given the Bills have had games against the Tennessee Titans, Green Bay Packers, Jets and Colts, few would argue that a 2-2 start is a disgrace. But losing the hard way, when statistics say they shouldn't, hurts that much more.'

Marker Trash talk was just Thurman being Thurman [5:04 AM]
D and C reports: 'Thomas singled out Holecek, safety Henry Jones and defensive end Phil Hansen as players he had no respect for, players he would not shake hands with before or after Sunday's game at Pro Player Stadium.'

Marker Dolphins-Bills: Same script, different cast [4:58 AM]
Miami Herald reports: '"The last few weeks I've had to do a lot of talking to the players, covering all the bases," Wannstedt says. "But this week, getting ready for Buffalo, players understand what's on the line. Coaches enjoy weeks like this. We can save our voices."'

Marker Ruddy gets praise, braces for big test [4:56 AM]
Miami Herald reports: 'Tim Ruddy earned his second game ball of the season after Sunday's victory in Cincinnati. Coach Dave Wannstedt says the seventh-year center is playing at a "Pro Bowl level." And vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman says Ruddy is playing a lot more physical than in past years. But accolades and testimonials aside, Ruddy's ascent will be tested Sunday at Pro Player Stadium by an old nemesis -- the Bills' Ted Washington. Buffalo's Pro Bowl nose tackle and immovable force remains a daunting task for any center, but especially Ruddy. But Ruddy's play this season has convinced even the greatest doubters that the Dolphins made a wise choice to re-sign him to a five-year, $12.75 million contract -- including a $4 million signing bonus -- last February.'

Marker Dolphins deal for Bears TE [4:54 AM]
Miami Herald reports: 'The Dolphins acquired yet another tight end Monday when they dealt a seventh-round draft pick in the 2001 NFL draft to Chicago for Alonzo Mayes.'

Marker Ruddy `at a Pro Bowl level' [4:52 AM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: 'The Dolphins don't want to reveal how coaches have graded center Tim Ruddy through the first five games of the season, but the fact he is the only offensive player to receive two game balls from coach Dave Wannstedt speaks volumes.'

Marker Monday notebook [4:50 AM]
Dolphin Digest reports: 'While most of the attention this week will be on running back Thurman Thomas, playing his first game against his former team, a more important storyline -- if the Dolphins are to run against the Bills Sunday at Pro Player Stadium -- should unfold in the trenches. That's where center Tim Ruddy, who according to head coach Dave Wannstedt is playing the best football of his career, will butt heads with All-Pro tackle Ted Washington. The Bills enter Sunday's game with the league's second-ranked run defense, yielding an average of only 66.3 yards per game. The 6-5, 330-pound Washington, who has averaged nearly 110 tackles the past four years, remains a big reason why Buffalo is so formidable against the run.'

Marker Dolphins offense shows signs of improvement [4:49 AM]
AP reports: 'The Bills rank among the NFL's best defensive teams, and in two meetings against them last year, Miami totaled one touchdown. "They're probably the most physical team we play all year,'' coach Dave Wannstedt said.'

Marker Dolphins acquire TE Mayes from Bears [4:47 AM]
AP reports: 'The Miami Dolphins acquired tight end Alonzo Mayes from the Chicago Bears for an undisclosed late-round draft choice Monday.'

October 2, 2000

Marker Bills don't bite after being baited by Thurman Thomas [8:55 PM]
AP reports: '"We know Thurman. I think he's pulling everybody's chain," Bills coach Wade Phillips said. "He's a great guy and a great leader. He'll do whatever it takes. ... Thurman's got his own reasons for everything. He's a special guy as far as leadership is concerned, we all know that."'

Marker Vanderjagt's kick beats Bills [4:00 PM]
Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. reports: '"The way this turned out doesn't surprise me at all. The way this turned out -- coming down to the last play -- doesn't surprise me at all. It was a real dogfight right from the beginning," said Colts coach Jim Mora. "To come up here and beat these guys here in a really important game for both teams is a tremendous accomplishment for our football team. I couldn't be more proud of them."'

Marker A loss to remember for the Bills [2:31 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'Waiting for the elevator outside the Ralph Wilson Stadium press box, the Indianapolis Colts' assistant coaches who had been in the booth, spotted general manager Bill Polian. Spontaneously, they shared a collective hug and Polian, who held that position for eight seasons with Buffalo, gave a relieved eye roll that said, 'We stole one.''

Marker Colts win at Orchard Park for only second time since '87 [2:30 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'Indianapolis sacked Bills' quarterback Rob Johnson four times. The first was recorded by former Bill Cornelius Bennett. Later, Marcus Johnson sacked Johnson, who fumbled, with tackle John Fina recovering. However, Fina wasn't allowed to advance the ball since the fumble occurred in the final two minutes of a half and, thus, could only be taken forward by the fumbler. Dwight Hollier also got a sack. It was first sack of the season for all three linebackers. In addition, defensive end Chad Bratzke recorded his second sack of the campaign.'

Marker Vanderjagt was ready for Colts' call [2:28 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'As for Vanderjagt, he once played a double for actor Tony Danza in a football movie called 'The Garbage Pickin' Field-Goal Kickin' Philadelphia Phenomenon.' That my well be a forgettable part, but his heroics yesterday will be a role that will be remembered for a long time.'

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09/07 @ Chicago Bears 1:00 pm
09/14 Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm
09/21 San Diego Chargers 1:00 pm
09/28 @ Houston Texans 1:00 pm
10/05 @ Detroit Lions 1:00 pm
10/12 New England Patriots 1:00 pm
10/19 Minnesota Vikings 1:00 pm
10/26 @ New York Jets 1:00 pm
11/09 Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 pm
11/13 @ Miami Dolphins 8:25 pm
11/23 New York Jets 1:00 pm
11/30 Cleveland Browns 1:00 pm
12/07 @ Denver Broncos 4:05 pm
12/14 Green Bay Packers 1:00 pm
12/21 @ Oakland Raiders 4:25 pm
12/28 @ New England Patriots 1:00 pm

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