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Buffalo Bills News - May 18, 2001

Marker Bills Release Antowain Smith [2:57 PM] reports: The Bills today released running back Antowain Smith. Smith was the team's first-round draft choice in 1997 and put together his most productive season in 1998 when he rushed for 1,124 yards as the starting running back. He started 11 games in 1999 and saw limited action last season, rushing for 354 yards.

"We liked what we saw in mini-camp from our young running backs and want to give them every opportunity possible," said Bills President/General Manager Tom Donahoe. "We have also added Larry Centers to our backfield and feel confident about the attributes he brings to our club."

Marker Centers centers on Bills [7:33 AM] reports: 'Larry Centers talks to the media about his role in the Bills' West Coast Offence, and how he wants to be part of a Super Bowl contender in Buffalo.'

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May 17, 2001

Marker How did the Bills get their nickname? [11:29 PM]
TBD reports: '...given in an obituary from the Buffalo News (December 25, 1999):

SWEET - Donald E., gave Buffalo Bills their name 12/25/99
When the Buffalo Bisons of the All-America Football Conference sponsored an essay contest to re-name the team in 1947, Donald E. Sweet pulled an end run to win the $500 prize...'

Marker Bills/Chargers Game Hotel Information [11:16 PM]
TBD reports: 'The Bills Backers have arranged a group rate at The Holiday Inn located in the historic Old Town district of San Diego. The hotel is just steps away from dozens of shops, bars and restaurants. Most major attractions are just minutes away including beaches, Sea World, the San Diego Zoo and Qualcomm Stadium. Staying with the Backers is a great opportunity to meet and party with Bills fans from all over the country.'

Marker Bills claim Craig Heimburger off waiver wire [11:10 PM]
ESN reports: 'The Bills claimed a huge offensive lineman off the waiver wire from the Green Bay Packers. Craig Heimburger, a right guard during most of his college and pro career will be signed when he clears waivers. He's 6'2 312 pounds and was a 5th round draft choice of the Packers in 1999.'

Marker Shape up or ship out: Williams is what Bills need [8:31 PM]
CBS Sportsline reports: '"Many of the players who were here before Gregg said the one thing that was lacking was discipline," said Donahoe. "They wanted discipline, somebody to come in here and correct the way things were going. From the players I've talked to, there hasn't been any complaints about the changes."'

Marker Bills express interest in Modrak [7:58 PM]
AP reports: 'Modrak met with Bills president and general manager Tom Donahoe in Buffalo on Wednesday, Bills spokesman Scott Berchtold said. Berchtold described the meeting as an informal one...'

Marker Projected June 1 cuts [3:14 PM]
ESPN reports: 'Antowain Smith puts house up for sale--you do the math.'

Marker Former Bills scout Nix added to Chargers mix [10:03 AM]
San Diego Union Tribune reports: 'Nix was offered the position of director of college scouting with the Bills, but said he elected to join the Chargers because of his relationship with Butler.'

Marker Phillips case heard; Bills talk to Modrak [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'But given the outstanding job Modrak did in Philadelphia the past three years, he is a prime candidate for a general manager position in the NFL. He recently had an interview with the Chicago Bears.'

Marker Chargers hire Nix as director of player personnel [5:15 AM]
AP reports: 'Tapping his Buffalo connections again, San Diego Chargers general manager John Butler hired Buddy Nix as director of player personnel Wednesday. Nix spent the last eight seasons as a scout with the Bills.'

Marker Arbitrator to rule on Phillips [5:10 AM]
D and C reports: '"We're confident there will be a fair resolution of this matter ... and I expect it will not be a lengthy delay now," said Jerry Whalen, Phillips' attorney.'

May 16, 2001

Marker Phillips appeals contract dispute with Bills to NFL arbitrator [8:58 PM]
AP reports: 'With Bills owner Ralph Wilson also on hand, Phillips presented his case to NFL arbitrator Jay Moyer during a daylong hearing in Buffalo. The hearing was closed to the public.'

Marker Bills rank 10th in NFL profits [5:27 AM]
D and C reports: 'Confidential documents entered into evidence during the Oakland Raiders' lawsuit against the league reveal that the Bills -- who once claimed an inability to compete economically and threatened to move -- turned an $11.587 million operating profit in 1999.'

May 15, 2001

Marker Bills profits jump [8:58 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills' $11.58 million operating profit for 1999, the latest year covered in the documents, was nearly double their profit of $5.6 million the year before, according to documents released as part of Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis' billion-dollar lawsuit against the league's 31 teams.'

May 14, 2001

Marker NFL Legers Reveal Profits Depend on New Stadiums [8:07 PM]
Los Angeles Times reports: LA Times feature on the value of NFL franchises. Some very interesting information included. According to the Times, the average per-team operating profit jumped to $11.6 million in 1999--which just happened to be the same amount as the Bills operating profit in 1999. Buffalo reaped the benefits of a renovated stadium. There's also a look at which team might be the most likely to move to LA, as well as actual team financial statements for every NFL team, including the Bills. (Thanks to Boston's Sports Guy for the link.)

May 13, 2001

Marker Bills' foes show few signs of giving any ground [9:15 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills, in fact, have far more question marks than any of the three teams that finished ahead of them last season.'

Marker Questions on Williams to be answered Sept. 9 [9:14 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'All of that is fine, but now judgments are being withheld until he coaches his first regular-season game, the same as it would for any new head coach in the NFL. Organizing a minicamp is one thing, managing the clock is another.'

Marker Here's one draft Bills hope to feel for years to come [9:13 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'But the '01 rookie class is going to be especially important in 2002. Marv Levy liked to say that the best rookies are last year's rookies. In other words, the players going into their second seasons represent a team's best chance for new impact players.'

Marker Pats gain ground on East rivals [8:06 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'The lads at Ralph Wilson Stadium finally seemed to reach the level people expected of them a year ago. The quarterback controversy has ended, but there are questions about Williams' ability to run an entire program. He's a very good defensive coordinator, but so was Rod Rust.'

May 12, 2001

Marker Donahoe offers Modrak 'any job' with Buffalo [7:50 PM]
Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports: '"He's excellent at what he does," said Donahoe. "I know him, I trust him. We had a great situation in Pittsburgh and we could build a better situation here in Buffalo."'

Marker Bills offer job to ex-Eagles executive [9:00 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Buffalo Bills President and General Manager Tom Donahoe has offered a job to his friend and highly respected former colleague, Tom Modrak.'

Marker Butler got job as a result of Jimmy Johnson indirectly [8:19 AM]
The Sporting News reports: 'Regarded as an unbiased source by Chargers president Dean Spanos, Johnson told Spanos over the course of a half-dozen phone conversations and two meetings in the Florida Keys that the team needed to get the best possible general manager while retaining coach Mike Riley. [Unbiased? With his star pupil coaching the team he used to coach and Butler GM of their chief rival? Sounds like JJ & Butler talked to each other.]

Marker NFL not beating a path to unemployed XFL players' doors [8:17 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: "It wasn't a league that developed players or tried to make its own stars," Donahoe said. "It was a league comprised of players who, for whatever reason, just weren't good enough to make it in the NFL. We didn't scout (the XFL) and I doubt you'll see even one of their players in our camp."

Marker Bears to interview Modrak [7:38 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'In a twist, Modrak could have some options, with Buffalo Bills general manager Tom Donahoe telling on Friday he has offered his old colleague a job. The two men worked together in Pittsburgh...'.

May 11, 2001

Marker How to be a Buffalo Bill [7:00 AM] reports: 'Aspiring to play for the Buffalo Bills? Here's some stuff you'll need to know...'

Marker Q & A with Head Coach Williams [6:59 AM] reports: 'Very interesting comments from coach!'

Marker Bills kick off new marketing game [5:12 AM]
D and C reports: 'Any fallout from the release of Flutie has been negligible, he said...Donahoe said several fans he spoke with threatened to cancel their season tickets because of the Flutie decision but to date, "nobody's presented a number to me (of actual cancellations)."'

Marker Healthy Farris would be big wheel [5:09 AM]
D and C reports: 'This season, the Bills are rolling the dice with offensive tackle Kris Farris, a 6-foot-8, 322-pound man mountain of unfulfilled potential. An intriguing player whose future rests tenuously on a surgically repaired bone in his foot.'

May 10, 2001

Marker Bills vs. San Diego - Sign up today! [10:17 AM]
TBD reports: Join readers of TBD and fans from around the country as the Bills meet the Chragers on October 28. TBD readers have the choice of two options - sitting with the large group of San Diego Bills Backers or sitting with a smaller group closer to the field. Visit the link above for more information.

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09/13 Indianapolis Colts 1:00 pm
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11/29 @ Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 pm
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