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Buffalo Bills News - December 31, 2002

Marker Riemersma, Newman expect to go [9:01 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I called (wife) Cara from the car (Sunday night), and it got a little emotional there," a misty-eyed Riemersma said. "I talked to guys like Phil Hansen and John Holecek, asking them how they handled it. I wear my emotions on my coat sleeve and it's been tough. It really has. You really never know in this business what's going to happen, but certainly you can see the writing on the wall."'

Marker Bills can barely wait for next year [9:00 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'As Bledsoe said, there are no more long-term building projects in the NFL. You strike when the opportunity is there. Next year, in the third season of the Gregg Williams era, the door figures to be open wide for this team.'

Marker Bills' Riemersma feels he won't return [5:25 AM]
D and C reports: 'Riemersma is scheduled to be the third-highest paid player on the team in 2003. With a base salary of $3.5 million and a salary cap figure of $4.8 million, only Eric Moulds and Drew Bledsoe will count more against the cap than Riemersma. By cutting Riemersma, the Bills would eat the $1.3 million portion of his bonus he is still owed, but they would save his $3.5 million in base salary.'

Marker What the Bills have to do to reach the playoffs in 2003 [5:24 AM]
D and C reports: 'At 2-4 in the East Division and 5-7 in the conference, Buffalo had no chance in those hair-pulling tiebreaker scenarios.'

Marker Bills had chances to make playoffs [5:23 AM]
D and C reports: 'A play here, a play there, and they’d be breaking down film of the Steelers or Colts today.'

Marker Thomas tells luncheon crowd of treatment visit [5:22 AM]
El Paso Times reports: 'This year's Sun Bowl legend, Thurman Thomas, shocked a large Rotary Club of El Paso team luncheon audience Monday at the Convention Center by saying he's a recovering alcoholic. The former All-Pro running back for the Buffalo Bills said he recently spent 28 days in an Alcoholics Anonymous rehabilitation program in Minnesota.'

Marker Runner's great day remembered [5:21 AM]
El Paso Times reports: 'Thomas -- the Buffalo Bills' star who played for Oklahoma State in the Cowboys' 35-33 victory over West Virginia 15 years ago -- was honored as 2002's Legend of the Sun Bowl Monday.'

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December 30, 2002

Marker Riemersma all but says goodbye [8:57 PM]
Shout! reports: '"You heard a lot about me not being willing to help out on the salary cap. I was willing to give back two million (dollars). That wasn't enough in their eyes. Everyone put out that Jay's agent (Jack Wirth) wouldn't talk with the Bills, but they were not willing to negotiate long term."'

Marker Bruce a Buffalo Bill in 2003? [8:56 PM]
Shout! reports: 'Q -- Would you only play for Washington next year or consider another team? A -- I'm not going to get into that.'

Marker Five questions with Trey Teague [8:55 PM]
Shout! reports: 'Q: Was there a point during this season when you felt the offensive line got it? Teague: If you're thinking, "We've got it," you probably don't. We've still got room for improvement."'

Marker Bills assistant coach Levra retires [8:37 PM]
AP reports: 'Buffalo Bills defensive line coach John Levra retired Monday, ending a 44-year career.'

Marker Bills' Riemersma, Newman face uncertain futures [8:36 PM]
AP reports: 'Newman said he doesn't expect to re-sign with the Bills once he's eligible to become a free agent in March. Riemersma faces the prospect of being released as he's scheduled to make $3.5 million in the final year of his contract next season a figure that might be too expensive for the Bills. ''I wear my emotions on my coat sleeve and it's been tough,'' Riemersma said, his eyes welling with tears. ''You really never know in this business what's going to happen. But, certainly, you can see the writing on the wall.'' Riemersma, a seven-year veteran, said he's prepared to restructure his deal but isn't sure the Bills are willing to listen after the two sides failed in a bid to renegotiate the contract last spring.'

Marker Playoffs or bust for Bledsoe and Bills next season [8:35 PM]
AP reports: 'After spending last spring revamping the offense, including wholesale changes along the line and bringing in Kevin Gilbride as his coordinator, team president Tom Donahoe's challenge this offseason is improving his defensive unit. Buffalo finished 27th in points allowed, 24th average yards rushing (132), and last in generating 19 takeaways.'

Marker Bills finish quietly as rest of league sizzles [8:34 PM]
Niagara Falls Reporter reports: After five losses in the previous seven outings, pummeling the ever-putrid Cincinnati Bengals in the regular season finale proved just as easy as expected, but not nearly as rewarding as anticipated a couple months ago.

Marker Bills go out a winner [8:34 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'Williams, added, “We like the fact that we made improvement, but unless you’re in the tournament, unless you’re in the playoffs, you’re not satisfied.”'

Marker Fixing the Bengals is no easy task [8:32 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: '“(The problems) aren’t too overwhelming, but they’re not minor adjustments that need to be made. We need a spark. I’m not sitting here what spark that may be, but we need a spark, in some form or fashion.”'

Marker NFL Calendar: Important Dates [2:49 PM] reports: Feb. 28 Veteran free agency signing period begins.

Marker Playoff Flashback: Dec. 30, 1995 [1:22 PM] reports: The Bills improved to 9-0 at Rich Stadium in the postseason with their impressive 37-22 victory over their AFC East foe the Miami Dolphins in the first round of the AFC playoffs.

Marker Bengals close season in familiar fashion [1:20 PM]
Columbus Dispatch reports: 'Yesterday resembled so many other Bengals losses this season: fall behind early thanks to a porous defense, then suffer turnovers and failed fourth-down conversions while trying to catch up.'

Marker Neal laughs off talk of returning [1:19 PM]
Columbus Dispatch reports: 'Spikes has a potential obstacle to leaving the Bengals, though. He is the team's leading tackler and one of the defensive cornerstones, which means there is a good chance Cincinnati will place either its transition or franchise tag on him, which would limit his options.'

Marker Blitz: Awards of the Year [12:30 PM]
The Sporting News reports: REBOUND OF THE YEAR
Drew Bledsoe, Bills. Bledsoe found a friendly new home with, of all teams, New England's division rival. He stayed healthy and prolific, developing a great go-to rapport with Eric Moulds.

Marker Bills 27, Bengals 9 (Video Highlights) [10:24 AM] reports: Bills close 2002 season with a win. Watch the game highlights.

Marker Going out in style with win [9:49 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I'm satisfied with 8-8 from where we were," owner Ralph C. Wilson Jr. said. "Coming from where we were, we were worse off than an expansion team. I think the improvement's been terrific."'

Marker Bills finish a big step forward [9:48 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"This gives us hope for next year," said safety Coy Wire. "We don't want the season to end. I can't wait for next year."'

Marker Winning finale leaves Bills upbeat [9:48 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'With the exception of losses to Oakland, the first New England game and the second New York Jets game, the Bills had a chance to win heading into the final period of the other five losses.'

Marker Peerless leaves door slightly ajar for his return [9:47 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I'm sure Peerless is going to do the right thing and I'll support him no matter what his decision is," Moulds said. "But I'm hoping he stays. We have a chance to do something special here and it would be a lot better if we were able to do it here together."'

Marker After a worthy final act, the curtain falls too soon [9:47 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Williams still has a lot to prove as a game-day coach. But he's obviously earned the right to coach another year. Donahoe, the general manager, gushed about him after the win. If he has that much faith in Williams, he should give him a one-year extension and spare him the indignity of coaching as a lame duck next season.'

Marker Crowd tells Spikes he's wanted [9:46 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Perhaps no other Bills defender has shown more improvement over the last two games than rookie cornerback Kevin Thomas.'

Marker Bills catch breaks in 2003 schedule [9:45 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Either the Bills or Dolphins will play on Thanksgiving at Dallas because the game will be on CBS, meaning the visiting team must be from the AFC. The Bills and Dolphins are the only AFC teams visiting Dallas next season.'

Marker Monday Billboard [9:44 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The paid attendance was announced at 47,850. The actual attendance was about 10,000 shy of that.'

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