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Buffalo Bills News - April 18, 2003

Marker Bills could have 'big' plans in first round [9:10 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"Anytime you look at your football team, you're always trying to add quality big people," Donahoe said during the Bills' predraft luncheon. "It's a game of big people. If we can add some big people on either side of the ball, we want to try to do that.'

Marker Bills excited about draft [5:56 AM]
D and C reports: 'It means that for the first time under Donahoe, the Bills can honestly use the first round to select the best player available regardless of need, and to address depth concerns later on.'

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April 17, 2003

Marker Bills RB Henry approves one-year extension [8:16 PM]
AP reports: 'The deal, which includes a signing bonus, was confirmed Thursday by Henry's agent, Greg Johnson. The restructured contract also includes several incentives, and will pay Henry a base salary of $1.25 million in the final year.'

Marker Bills FB Morris accepts one-year deal [8:15 PM]
AP reports: 'Fullback and special teams captain Sammy Morris accepted the Buffalo Bills' one-year contract offer on Thursday. Morris will make $605,000 in his fourth season with the Bills and is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next year.'

Marker Bills management talks draft [4:12 PM]
Shout! reports: 'The position where they fielded the most questions was the defensive line. Buffalo's first draft pick, 23rd overall, could be a D-lineman.'

Marker Live Press Conference - 12 Noon (ET) [11:35 AM] reports: Listen to President/General Manager Tom Donahoe and Assistant General Manager Tom Modrak talk about the 2003 NFL Draft. Live at 12 Noon (ET)

Marker Rookie Review: Justin Bannan [10:12 AM] reports: Justin Bannan - "I'm about as excited as it gets to see all the players that we have. Just today as we were working out you can see the chemistry building. It seems we're a lot further along than we were last year. At least that's the way it feels defensively. It's exciting. I think we are going to have one heck of a ball club next year, I can't wait to be a part of it. We can win! That's what we're here to do."

Marker Bills extend Henry pact through 2005 [9:01 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Johnson declined to give all the financial details, but it is believed Henry's new contract includes a signing bonus. It is believed he will make over $1 million in base salary in each of the next two seasons and more than $2 million in 2005. Henry also could earn between $700,000 and $1 million in incentives during the second year of the deal, which also includes a signing bonus.'

Marker Services for Chargers GM Butler [5:31 AM]
AP reports: 'Former Bills coach Marv Levy attended the services along with former Buffalo quarterback Jim Kelly, Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer and quarterback Drew Brees.'

April 16, 2003

Marker Rogers' troubles did not deter Dolphins [10:00 PM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: Rogers, who played last season for Buffalo, was unavailable for comment Tuesday through the Dolphins' media relations department Agent Everette Scott didn't return a call seeking comment. Coming on the heels of off-field problems with RBs Lawrence Phillips and Cecil Collins under ex-coach Jimmy Johnson, Dolphins President Eddie Jones and coach Dave Wannstedt said in April 2000 that the team would shy from drafting players with character issues. But Sr VP Rick Spielman said the team felt comfortable signing Rogers after researching his legal situation and believes he will eventually be exonerated.

Marker Henry says Bills showing faith in him [9:21 PM]
Shout! reports: 'Travis Henry signed a one-year contract extension that would keep him in Buffalo through 2005. Henry will make $1.3 million in salary during that final year.'

Marker How The Bills Were Built [3:20 PM] reports: The Bills roster consists of 21 of the team's original draft picks, 46 players signed as a free agent, three players acquired via trade, and two players claimed off of waivers. In addition, 14 of 22 (64%) starters last season were drafted by the Bills: 8 on offense, 6 on defense.

Marker Josh Liddell a special WR [2:48 PM]
Panther Insider reports: Liddell, who grew up near Rich Stadium, has always been a big fan of the Buffalo Bills and was a huge fan of Kelly, Reed and Lofton. While growing up, Liddell would go to the Bills training camp. "As a little kid I remember going to training camp and I always remember the guys that stayed and signed autographs for the kids. I want to be able to do that and take the time for kids, because that is special for them. I want to make sure that I can give something back," said Liddell.

Marker A dear Marvin letter [2:46 PM]
CNN/SI reports: I think the NFL will miss John Butler, the 56-year-old Chargers GM who died of cancer on Friday. I really liked Butler, even though we had a major falling-out late in his tenure in Buffalo. This is why I liked him so much: He was a big man in so many ways. We hadn't spoken for three years until the Friday before this year's Super Bowl in San Diego. I was at the Chargers facility, in their front offices, doing the media pool report while covering the Raiders, and I ran into Butler. He was angry with me because I had agreed to be a regular guest on the radio show of a former Bills coach, Chuck Dickerson, who often was brutally frank and critical of the Bills.

Marker Chiefs could be the best of Gary's options [2:45 PM]
Kansas City Star reports: Gary would be a backup with the Chiefs or at either of his other free-agent stops, Buffalo and Detroit. But neither the Lions nor the Bills have halfback issues like the Chiefs.

Marker Trading No. 1 picks always risky [2:45 PM]
ESPN reports: That's not to say, however, that all trades that fit into this category are busts. The deal that secured quarterback Drew Bledsoe a year ago legitimized the Buffalo Bills, made them immediately competitive, and dramatically moved forward for GM Tom Donahoe a refurbishing of the franchise. There is no player in this year's draft, none at the No. 14 spot he forfeited to New England, likely to have meant more to the Bills than Bledsoe means to the health of the team.

Marker Player Profile: Tight End Ryan Neufeld [12:41 PM] reports: Signed with the Bills on 1/22/03 as an unrestricted free agent…released by the Seahawks on 8/27/02 before the start of the 2002 season…originally signed by Seattle on 1/23/02 and attended Seattle's 2002 training camp.

Marker The Week In Bills History (April 13-19) [11:53 AM] reports: April 17, 1999 - CB ANTOINE WINFIELD IS BILLS' 1999 NO. 1 PICK CB Antoine Winfield from Ohio State was the Bills' No. 1 pick (23rd overall) in the 1999 NFL Draft.

Marker Bills Alumni Spotlight: Lucius Sanford [10:49 AM] reports: Lucius Sanford, an outside linebacker with Buffalo for nine seasons, had a tendency to hit running backs head-on, lift them off their feet and plant their backs on the field. Offensive linemen have ‘pancake blocks.’ Sanford had ‘pancake tackles.’

April 15, 2003

Marker Updated Buffalo Bills Roster [10:44 PM] reports: Numbers Assigned: Antonio Brown (19), Sam Gash (33), Rian Lindell (9), Sammy Morris (31), Izell Reese (43), Dainon Sidney (37).

Marker Win a Mike Williams Autographed Football [4:21 PM] reports: Win an Authentic NFL Game Ball autographed by Mike Williams. Selected by the Bills with the fourth overall pick in the 2002 Draft, Williams was Buffalo's highest draft pick since taking Bruce Smith #1 overall in 1985.

Marker Watch the Draft Live [10:20 AM] reports: Enter to win a trip for two (2) from Buffalo to New York City to watch the NFL Draft at Madison Square Garden on April 26th, courtesy of the Buffalo Bills and JetBlue. Winner will be notified on or about April 21, 2003. Register now before you miss your exclusive chance to attend the 2003 NFL Draft.

Marker Player Profile: Offensive Lineman Ron Boldin [9:53 AM] reports: Signed by the Bills on 1/24/03…allocated to the NFL Europe where he played for the Frankfurt Galaxy…originally signed with the Washington Redskins as an undrafted rookie free agent on 4/26/02…released by the Redskins during their 2002 training camp.

April 14, 2003

Marker Forever A Bill [5:08 PM] reports: When the former GM of the Bills died on Friday, he left behind legacy that will live through the NFL forever. His talent for plucking anonymous players from out-of-the-way schools is legendary. His competitiveness was unmatched - the man was Chris Spielman in a sport coat.

Marker Athletes in Action Breakfast [2:18 PM]
TBD reports: TBD Special Photographer Cindy Fox was at Athletes in Action Breakfast to honor Frank and others on the 10th anniversity of the greatest comeback and has provided pictures of some of those in attendence including Frank Reich, Jim Kelly, Travis Brown, Marlon Kerner, and ex-Bills TE Jay Riemersma.

Marker Noll might have rebuilt Bills [1:16 PM]
Shout! reports: 'Did you know Chuck Noll considered coaching the Bills in 1969? Noll served as defensive coordinator for Don Shula's Baltimore Colts team, which had just lost to the Jets, 16-7, in Super Bowl III. After the game, Buffalo and New England offered Noll head coaching positions, but he instead chose to coach Pittsburgh...'.

Marker Bills Hosting Clinic For High School & College Coaches [1:13 PM] reports: 'For the third straight year, the Bills coaching staff will be hosting the Buffalo Bills Coaches Clinic for local high school and college coaches. It will be held on Friday, May 9th and Saturday May 10th in the Bills Fieldhouse and training facility in Orchard Park.'

Marker Former Bills exec Butler earned chance to live his lifelong dream [1:02 PM]
Niagara Falls Reporter reports: 'His ability to find talent in the football hinterlands made names like Don Beebe of Chadron State, Phil Hansen of North Dakota and Marcellus Wiley of Columbia a big reason the Bills averaged 10 wins per year during Butler's 14 seasons in their front office.'

Marker Butler made friends, players feel special [1:01 PM] reports: Marv Levy once described John as a guy who builds morale. I witnessed that morale-building outside the cafeteria every afternoon. He would shake the player's hand, ask how practice was going, inquire about a nagging injury, tell me a little funny story about the player to make him laugh, and ask how everyone at home was. He was old fashioned and he made them all feel special. The veterans who had been at other places before Buffalo knew it was special, and they knew the difference was John Butler. Rarely do NFL players have daily conversations with the top club executive.

Marker Butler's passion for football was unmatched [1:00 PM] reports: I will say that the pressures of being a GM hardened John a bit through the years. His job and everything associated with it became increasingly personal. He looked at players and coaches as family, and would staunchly defend them against criticism. He found parting ways with a player, a standard part of a GM's duties, emotionally painful and, at times, downright unbearable.

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09/11 @ Baltimore Ravens 1:00 pm
09/15 New York Jets 8:25 pm
09/25 Arizona Cardinals 1:00 pm
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10/09 @ Los Angeles Rams 4:25 pm
10/16 San Francisco 49ers 1:00 pm
10/23 @ Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm
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11/07 @ Seattle Seahawks 8:30 pm
11/20 @ Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 pm
11/27 Jacksonville Jaguars 1:00 pm
12/4 @ Oakland Raiders 4:05 pm
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01/01 @ New York Jets 1:00 pm

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