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Buffalo Bills News - March 5, 2001

Marker Wily GM locks up Wiley for Chargers [11:10 AM]
San Diego Union Tribune reports: 'Wiley said he would miss Buffalo and its fans. He said the city opened its arms to him, and he felt as if he belonged. But the lure of returning to Southern California, where he grew up, was too attractive.'

Marker Cap Lessons [10:43 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: Citing the NFL Management Council, at the start of free agency, Buffalo was $2.0 million under the cap - with a mere 43 players under contract.

Marker Len Pasquarelli's Tip Sheet [10:39 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: The article begins with speculation that if Flutie were to sign with San Diego, he would be unwilling to step aside in two years for Michael Vick. Also: "In his exit physical with the Bills at the end of the 2000 season, Washington weighed 365 pounds. More significant, has learned doctors found some arthritis in his right ankle." Also: "If you're wondering why little-used tailback Antowain Smith has not been a part of the Buffalo Bills salary cap purge, it's because general manager Tom Donahoe actually has a few teams interested in trading for the four-year veteran. Not a major deal, mind you...."

Marker Chargers lure Wiley away from Bills [8:52 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'It was going to take a free-agent market miracle for the Buffalo Bills to be able to retain defensive end Marcellus Wiley. The miracle did not happen.'

Marker Butler's Chargers bound to improve with Wiley [5:53 AM]
D and C reports: 'That's easy to do when a hard-luck team is coming off a 1-15 season, will benefit from a fifth-place schedule, and has the rights to the No. 1 pick in April's NFL college draft.'

Marker Bills uniform options won't make fans blue [5:52 AM]
Business First of Buffalo reports: 'The red, blue and white of the Bills we know are synonymous with Buffalo. Look around. We'd all be hard-pressed to find someone we don't know who doesn't own some piece of Bills' apparel. Men, women, teens, children. Winter jackets, baseball caps, sweatshirts, golf shirts.'

Marker Free-agent catch Wiley lands with Chargers [5:51 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: '"Of the teams interested in Marcellus, and those in which he was interested, too, the Chargers seemed to be only one with sufficient cap room. The market is bad right now, and it's going to get worse. We didn't want to still be out there when all the money dried up."'

Marker Chargers reel in coveted free-agent DE Wiley [5:50 AM]
CNN/SI reports: '"Marcellus had certain expectations in terms of money and when he got what he wanted on that front San Diego was his first choice," Blank said. "Marcellus grew up and lives in Los Angeles and the Chargers were the team he wanted to play for."'

Marker Butler turning Chargers around [5:49 AM]
Fox Sports reports: '...the Bills couldn't compete with the Chargers' offer. And, so, on Sunday they looked on helplessly as Wiley signed a six-year deal, the second starter on the team's defensive line to depart in two weeks.'

Marker Wiley agrees to $40 million deal with Chargers [5:47 AM]
AP reports: '"I want to give John Butler all the credit in the world, but the proximity to Los Angeles was huge," Blank said. "Personally, I'd like to keep him on the East Coast, but he's been away from home for a long time."'

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March 4, 2001

Marker The ties that bind us to Buffalo [10:17 PM]
TBD reports: 'The ties that bind us to Buffalo... What happens when you are forced to leave Buffalo? When the economy is in a slump and taxes are too high and you can't make ends meet without a decent job? You miss those things that make Buffalo great! You miss those things that allow you to call Buffalo HOME no matter where you live.'

Marker Marcellus Wiley signs with Chargers [6:23 PM] reports: 'Both defensive end Marcellus Wiley and his agent Brad Blank have told NFLtalk that the top free agent defensive end, possibly the top free agent at any position, is now a San Diego Charger... Wiley's contract is for $40 million over 6 years with a $9 million signing bonus... Just 25 years old, Wiley had a breakout season in 2000 finishing the season with 10.5 sacks despite missing most of the preseason after back surgery... Originally a 2nd round draft pick of the Buffalo Bills in 1997, taken by then general manager John Butler, Wiley had an apprenticeship behind one of the best in the game, Bruce Smith.'

Marker Bills' execs had the smarts to tune out fans on QB call [9:00 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'In essence, this is what Tom Donahoe, the Bills' new impresario, told Flutie and his fans Ash Wednesday night...the loose translation of his statement was "sit on it."'

Marker Team courting pass rushers [8:46 AM]
San Jose Mercury News reports: 'Wiley's agent, Brad Banks, said 14 teams have called since free agency began Friday.'

Marker Teams interested in Flutie better do their homework [8:20 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'And while Flutie should be held in esteem for overcoming the odds and accomplishing everything he has, there isn't a stop he has made in the past 16 years where he hasn't at least contributed to some degree of friction in the locker room.'

March 3, 2001

Marker Chargers try to woo Wiley [4:44 PM]
North County Times reports: '"It went well,'' Wiley said of the visit, before heading home to Los Angeles. "They don't have much selling to do; I have already researched the situation and it's a team that I have tremendous respect for, despite their record.'

Marker Ex-Bill Wiley exits without Bolts offer [4:42 PM]
San Diego Union Tribune reports: 'The Chargers may yet sign Wiley, but their decision not to make him an offer might have been an attempt to keep from bidding against themselves. By allowing Wiley to visit with other teams, the Chargers can see what the market will bear.'

Marker New Titans kicker may be veteran [9:23 AM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: 'Tennessee contacted two veteran kickers yesterday, engaging in preliminary conversations that could lead to visits by John Carney and Steve Christie.'

Marker Clearing the air [9:07 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'How important are the Bills to this community? When Donahoe officially made the announcement that Johnson was the man at 7 p.m. Wednesday, the news conference was carried live by Channel 2, Channel 23 (Channel 4's sister station) and Empire. And all three 11 p.m. newscasts led with the Bills' selection.'

Marker Credibility gap [9:00 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Speaking of mistakes, local radio outlets certainly were having a field day with another blunder by WGR-AM on a big Bills story.'

Marker Koshinski admits to muffing Thomas coverage [8:58 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Stop the presses. A broadcasting executive has admitted a mistake. Bob Koshinski, the general manager of the Empire Sports Network, deserves some applause for admitting that he blew it when he decided against carrying Thurman Thomas' retirement as a Buffalo Bill live on Wednesday afternoon.'

Marker Bills, Johnson rework contract [8:56 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills saved some more salary cap room by spreading out money in Johnson's contract. The terms were finalized late Thursday night, an NFL source told The News. The Bills now stand about $2.8 million under the NFL salary cap of $67.4 million, according to a source with the NFL Players Association.'

Marker Lighthearted Flutie confident new door will open for him [8:54 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Doug Flutie entered the rotunda of the historic Faneuil Hall Marketplace on Friday with a bounce in his step and a smile on his face. This hardly looked like a man who had lost the battle to be the Buffalo Bills undisputed starting quarterback to Rob Johnson.'

Marker Flutie glad to be free [8:39 AM]
AP reports: '"I'm not bitter," the 37-year-old quarterback said. "I'm looking at it as a great opportunity for me. For the first time as a free agent in the NFL, I'm not knocking down doors. They're looking for me."'

Marker Wiley, Armstrong top Raiders' shopping list [8:22 AM]
Contra Costa Times reports: 'His 2000 sack total was two more than he recorded in his first three seasons combined. The consensus among NFL observers is that Wiley is capable of being a dominant player for many years.'

Marker Flutie enjoys freedom [6:49 AM]
Boston Herald reports: '"The only thing that makes me shake my head is wondering what more could I have done? But they're basically saying they think Rob is better than I am, but that (sense of hurt) basically lasted for two hours. I'm in the driver's seat now."'

Marker Flutie's convinced he will fill the bill as No. 1 somewhere [6:45 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'After hearing from four teams in the past two days, the popular quarterback thinks he'll find a starting job for next season.'

March 2, 2001

Marker Wiley visits Chargers [9:13 PM]
AP reports: 'Wiley also plans to meet next week with Oakland and Seattle, said his agent Brad Blank. The defensive end has also said he'll give the Bills a chance to re-sign him.'

Marker Chargers move on; is Flutie in plans? [1:28 PM]
North County Times reports: 'Butler and Smith have chased Flutie before, when bringing him to the Bills from the CFL three years ago. And while the 5-foot-10 Flutie hasn't grown since, his NFL stature has, after winning 21 of his 30 starts.'

Marker Butler tight-lipped on Bolts' shopping plans [1:24 PM]
San Diego Union Tribune reports: '...the moves could help them make a run at quarterback Doug Flutie and defensive end Marcellus Wiley, both of whom were brought to Buffalo by Butler. In fact, Butler spoke with Wiley's agent, Brad Blank, after the opening of free-agency at 9 PST last night. The two agreed to talk again today to arrange a visit.'

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