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Buffalo Bills News - June 8, 2003

Marker Training Camp Preview: Buffalo Bills [10:48 PM]
Fanball reports: Position Battles: Reed wants to earn his starting assignment in training camp, but the job is already his—barring injury. The Bills brought in veteran Bobby Shaw and drafted Sam Aiken in the fourth round, but they will fall in line along with Charles Johnson at numbers three, four, and five. Shaw is the likely three, the role he played the last two seasons in Pittsburgh and Jacksonville.

Marker You never have enough running backs [10:47 PM] reports: The Buffalo Bills had the AFC's fifth best performer in Travis Henry last season, yet they still drafted Willis McGahee, who won't be ready for another year. The Bills may still need to add one more to the roster.

Marker Bills To Hold Public Practice On June 13 [10:04 AM] reports: Buffalo Bills fans will have a double treat on Friday, June 13th when the team will have an open practice on the final day of its Organized Team Activity, weather permitting. Fans will also get their first glimpse of the new AstroPlay surface inside Ralph Wilson Stadium at this time. There is no charge for admittance.

Marker Just sue, baby: Raiders lead league in litigation [10:02 AM]
Buffalo News reports: Bucky Brooks, the former Bills WR, has taken a job as a scout with Carolina. He has scouted for Seattle the last three years. He's a native of Raleigh, NC.

Akili Smith was cut by Cincinnati this week. In four years, he earned about $12 million, or $4 million per victory. Not bad, but not quite as good as Rob Johnson, who got $18.8 million in four years with the Bills.

Marker Bills need to find out if coach is the ticket [9:51 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Gregg Williams is the cloud hanging over all those high expectations. The Bills don't even pretend he isn't. They didn't offer him an extension to his first contract. It expires in January. When he's done, he's done unless he produces his end of the bargain. My guess is that Williams will have to steer the Bills to the playoffs, possibly even at least one playoff victory, to stick around Buffalo.'

Marker Mini camp open to public [9:41 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills will make the final practice of their "minicamp" sessions open to the public Friday. Gates 2 and 3 at Ralph Wilson Stadium will open at 10 a.m. Practice will start at 10:30 a.m. and end at 12:15 p.m. Admission to the workout, which the NFL calls an organized team activity, is free. It also will be the fans' first chance to see the new AstroPlay surface inside the stadium.'

Marker Veterans add to Bills depth [5:49 AM]
D and C reports: 'Donahoe said the Bills will look to add an offensive linemen and possibly a defensive lineman before camp starts July 23.'

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June 7, 2003

Marker Titans waiting to make cap room for free agents [7:59 PM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: 'How concerned are the Buffalo Bills that rookie running back Willis McGahee will try to overdo it in his zeal to return from reconstructive knee surgery? Enough that they will send some of the team's medical staff to Miami twice in the month between the end of the team's current minicamp and the opening of training camp next month.'

Marker Travis Brown out to prove he's arrived [9:07 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"He's a big guy and has a great arm," Van Pelt said. "The only thing he's lacking is the experience. The more you get to play the more you feel comfortable. He'll get the chance to step in there and do it with live bullets. He definitely has all the skills."'

June 6, 2003

Marker Player Q&A: DT Justin Bannan [9:19 PM] reports: '"Defensive wise we did bring in some guys that can make a huge impact. Change? I don't think we're going to change too much. I think we have great players. I think it was evident toward the end of last season when we started playing a lot better. What we are really doing is just trying to build on what we have. I think you're going to see a very noticeable difference this next year on defense. We are going to have a really good defense."'

Marker A Closer Look at… Mark Campbell [9:17 PM] reports: 'What restaurant has the best wings in Buffalo in your opinion?

"Oh boy, I don't know. I have only been to the Anchor Bar."'

Marker NFL Europe Update: Race to World Bowl [4:50 PM] reports: After nine exciting and competitive weeks, the World Bowl race will go down to the wire as three teams scrap it out in Week 10 to determine who will meet the Frankfurt Galaxy in the NFL Europe League championship game in Glasgow on Saturday June 14.

Marker Wolves rookie Akeiff Staples invited to tryout with Buffalo Bills [3:56 PM]
Arena Football league reports: Mohegan Wolves FB/LB AKEIFF STAPLES won’t be traveling with the team to Rochester (NY) this Saturday. Instead, the 6-2, 245-pound rookie from Temple will be heading a little farther west to Buffalo to work out for the Buffalo Bills.

Marker Empire: Interview with Keith McKenzie [3:55 PM]
Empire Sports reports: McKenzie's ankle is well. Says he is AMAZED at how hard everyone ESPECIALLY the veterans are working in minicamp. You can't help but feel the excitement and anticipation.

Marker Fans Across American winner from Utah [12:11 PM] reports: start game day off the same every Sunday. I make a huge breakfast for my family. All the time wearing one of my eight --Bills hats. Then a half hour before kickoff my 6 year old son and I put on our jerseys. (He wears Moulds and I now wear Bledsoe.)

Marker Cota finds a home with Buffalo [11:01 AM]
Medford Mail Tribune reports: '"By joining them this early I’ll get to know their system," says Cota, a former Ashland High and University of Oregon standout. "I’m hoping that will give me an edge."'

Marker Most underrated? Depends on who you ask (and we did) [9:09 AM]
CBS reports: Wannstedt: Bills DT Pat Williams. "He's dominating. He's my vote because this guy plays like a perennial Pro Bowler. He's a big-time difference-maker."

Marker Comments from Head Coach Gregg Williams [5:50 AM] reports: "The big thing is, it is fun to see how much enthusiasm the team has to practice and to get better each and every day. This week we are getting into some more of the situational things that we want to do in our systems and even adding to the scheme part of things that we covered last week. The last week (next week) of the OTAs will be a tremendous amount of 'special' situations work: short yardage, goal line, two-minute, four-minute, all those type of things."

Marker Bills sign Cota to help at safety [5:47 AM]
D and C reports: 'Defensive coordinator Jerry Gray plans on experimenting with different combinations. Last season, the Bills received no interceptions from their safeties. For his career, Cota has 15, including a career-high five for Carolina in 1996.'

June 5, 2003

Marker Bills Shout Song - Share Your Thoughts [11:56 PM] reports: The 2002 season was the 15th Anniversary of the Buffalo Bills playing the Shout song after every touchdown. What are your thoughts?

Marker Bills agree to terms with Chad Cota [2:10 PM]
The Sports Network reports: 'An eight-year veteran, Cota spent the 2002 season with the Rams and appeared in 14 games.'

Marker Safety Chad Cota agrees to join Bills [2:09 PM]
AP reports: 'He becomes the 15th veteran newcomer to join the Bills this offseason, and ninth addition to a defense that finished 27th in points allowed, 29th in yards rushing per game, and 32nd in takeaways last year.'

Marker Chad Cota Bio/Stats [1:20 PM] reports: Signed by Rams 9/3/02 as unrestricted free agent…spent part of 2002 training camp with San Francisco 49ers. Saw action in 14 games, including one start vs. Oakland on 10/13…collected 15 tackles (5 solo) on the season, primarily playing on special teams.

Marker Bills Agree To Terms With Chad Cota [1:20 PM] reports: The Bills have agreed to terms on a contract with safety Chad Cota. An eight-year veteran, Cota spent the 2002 season with the Rams after playing three seasons for Indianapolis Colts (1999-2001), one season with New Orleans (1998), and three with Carolina (1995-97).

Marker Positives abound as Bills launch seat drive [9:38 AM]
Business First of Buffalo reports: 'One significant change for premium seat clients is the option to renew for either a three-year or five-year lease. In '98, only five-year commitments were accepted.'

Marker Bills start '04 sales drive far in advance [9:36 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"We look at it as a 15-year lease," Bills President Tom Donahoe said. "Are there options within the 15 years? There are. But based on our team, based on our business (success) and based on Mr. Wilson's commitment to the area, right now it doesn't look like an option we'd explore."'

Marker Buffalo Hall gives Silver a reason to holler [9:35 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The others are: pro wrestler Dick "the Destroyer" Beyer, Basketball Hall of Famer Al Cervi, sportscaster Don Criqui, prep sports benefactor Dick Gallagher, Bennett High School three-sport standout Don Gilbert, Buffalo Sabres goalie Dominik Hasek, former featherweight champion Tommy Paul, high school coach Art Serotte, Buffalo Bills running back Thurman Thomas and NCAA gymnastics champion Lisa Zeis.'

Marker Bills sign veteran Cota as insurance at safety [9:31 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Cota, an eight-year veteran, gives the Bills a little more insurance and competition on their depth chart, something team President and General Manager Tom Donahoe has been trying to create at virtually every position this offseason.'

Marker Bills Announce Renewal Program Underway [9:26 AM] reports: Bills President/General Manager Tom Donahoe said, "We are announcing today that we have started our renewal program for the 2004 season for all of our suites and club seat holders. We are excited about the opportunity to continue our valued relationships with the many companies and individuals that support our franchise."

Marker Wednesday Roundup: Lack of evidence leads to Smith's acquittal [9:18 AM]
ESPN reports: The Bills continued to add more to their rebuilt defense by reaching a one-year, $680,000 agreement with Rams strong safety Chad Cota, including a $25,000 signing bonus.

Cota, 31, is entering his ninth season and will be joining his fifth team. He's played with the Panthers, Saints, Colts and Rams. Cota becomes the 12th veteran addition to the Bills. Earlier, the Bills signed Izell Reese, a safety, to a four-year, $3.2 million contract.

Cota's contract will count only $475,000 against the Bills salary cap.

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