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Buffalo Bills News - April 7, 2001

Marker Empire fills two holes; Simon's show extended an hour [9:05 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '[Empire Sports Network] will pass off to WNSA live coverage of the NFL Draft in two weeks...The cable TV station will just cover the draft on its 6 p.m. sports report. When Empire decided to focus more on the Sabres, the elimination of its live draft coverage was first being considered. Now it is a reality.'

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April 6, 2001

Marker Bills owner gets hearing with NFL over Phillips' contract [8:37 PM]
ESPN reports: 'Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr. has successfully petitioned the league to have a hearing on April 23 to rule on his refusal to honor the remainder of coach Wade Phillips' contract.'

Marker Buffalo Bills pick ad firm in Rochester to oversee marketing [1:30 PM]
Buffalo News reports: '"We really want to promote the experience of being at a Buffalo Bills football game," Honan explained. "We want the ads to convey the excitement of being there and being part of what the Bills are all about."'

Marker Buffalo Bills owner out for blood vs. Butler's Bolts [1:27 PM]
San Diego Union Tribune reports: 'The back-and-forth between himself and Butler in competing upper-New York newspapers -- as well as that between quarterbacks Rob Johnson and Doug Flutie -- is the stuff that has helped propel the World Wrestling Federation up the TV ratings. There have been accusations of betrayal, deceit and back-stabbing.'

Marker NFL will finish realignment at the end of May [11:28 AM]
AP reports: 'NFL owners will vote on realignment at the end of May, setting up the format of eight four-team divisions when Houston re-enters the league in 2002 as the 32nd team... The league has extended the meetings scheduled for May 22-23 in Chicago for an extra day to take care of realignment, which must be done by June 1.'

Marker Web site features all-time Bills tourney [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Which is the greatest Buffalo Bills team of all time? The argument may not ever be settled, but is going to give it a try with a cyber-tournament between the top 20 editions of the Bills.'

Marker Draft preview [8:53 AM]
The Sporting News reports: 'The Bills' attitude towards the draft is not only to find talented players, but people who will fit into their system. With a new coaching staff, the draft will likely reflect the change in philosophy.'

Marker Depth lacking at most positions other than WR, DT [8:51 AM]
CNN/SI reports: 'This month's draft is loaded with wide receiver and defensive tackle talent. Half the first round picks could come at those two positions. But other positions are so glaringly shallow, teams will be forced to reach earlier than the player grades warrant.'

Marker Top teams having trouble trying to trade down [8:50 AM]
CNN/SI reports: 'The NFL Draft, now just over two weeks away, has risk written all over it. That's nothing new. But there's a different feel to this draft than with any other in recent history. Almost every team near the top would love to trade down in the first round, but no one can find a dance partner.'

Marker Scope of free-agent market appears to be changing [8:48 AM]
CNN/SI reports: 'There will be no more Washingtons of 2000. This year's modest level of activity will be the norm. For the foreseeable future, the clubs will continue to hold the hammer, salary-cap money will be tight, and player signings will be limited outside of retaining one's own free agents.'

Marker Updated first-round draft projection [8:46 AM]
ESPN reports: '14. Buffalo | Steve Hutchinson, OL, Michigan: A dedicated, versatile warrior like Hutchinson who could figure at guard or RT brings a great deal of value at this point in the draft.'

Marker Top O-linemen available in draft [8:45 AM]
ESPN reports: 'Mel Kiper's analysis of the offensive linemen available in the 2001 NFL draft.'

Marker Jay Riemersma answers e-mails [8:41 AM] reports: 'Bills TE Jay Riemersma sat down with Tuesday to answer your questions sent via e-mail over the last couple of days.'

Marker Cramming for draft day [8:40 AM] reports: 'Dwight Adams holds twice-daily meetings with his staff of 10 scouts. During the summer they attend practices to watch players at each position practice. They’ll also watch video of practices to talk about the skills they’ll look for in each position. They debrief on what they saw and talk about what they’ll seek.'

April 5, 2001

Marker Recent AFC East draft history [9:42 AM] reports: 'An overview (courtesy of of the AFC East teams' draft history since 1985.'

Marker Home office [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The strongest deciding factor was just Rob's overall athletic ability. He has great physical skills to play the quarterback position. Now the other things, that's why they hired us. Coaches have to teach players how to play. But coaches don't affect what mom and dad gave in the gene pool.'

Marker Bills owner Ralph Wilson initiated benching of Doug Flutie [5:33 AM]
D and C reports: '"I was involved in that and I agreed that Johnson should start," Wilson said...I saw every game and Flutie made some big plays but mostly, he struggled. The defense bailed him out a lot. That was the reason."'

Marker Wilson targets showdown with Chargers [5:32 AM]
D and C reports: '"I'd rather beat the Chargers this year than win the Super Bowl," Wilson said during a wide-ranging interview. "Yes, I am looking forward to that game."'

Marker Martino Flynn gets Bills ad account [5:31 AM]
D and C reports: 'It's a touchdown for Perinton advertising agency Martino Flynn LLC.
The Buffalo Bills yesterday selected Martino Flynn to handle the team's advertising. The agency will create and produce the Bills' television, radio and print advertising as well as promotional brochures.'

April 4, 2001

Marker Feuding Wins Championships [1:32 PM] reports: The bickering Bills are cited as one example of how internecine feuding in team sports can lead to success anyways.

Marker Offseason moves put a charge in San Diego [9:28 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'The cbs.sportsline power ranking has the Bills ranked 17th. Nice piece on Buffalo West, having the Chargers ranked 23rd. Potential sixth seed combatants? Perhaps the Bills/Chargers game will settle more than the QB controversy...'

April 3, 2001

Marker Breaking down the five best, worst offseasons [11:00 PM]
CNN/SI reports: 'Well it looks like another sportswriter has a dour feeling about the Bills. The author rates the Bills as having suffered the 4th worst performance of any team this offseason. He highlights the losses of Sam Rogers, Ted Washington, Joe Panos, and Chris Mohr as being crucial and damaging.'

Marker NFL considering delaying announcing who plays in MNF games [2:03 PM]
Green Bay Press-Gazette reports: The National Football League is considering leaving the last two Monday night dates open this season in an attempt to televise meaningful games leading up to the playoffs.

"They asked us about it at the league meetings last week and everybody was very much in favor of it," Harlan said. "It's just whether they'll be able to start it in (2001) or '02."

Harlan said the league is considering waiting until possibly three weeks before the last two Monday night games before deciding which games would have the most appeal on those last two dates.

Marker NFL Talk preseason rankings [2:02 PM] reports: 'For those who believe football is a 12 month sport, here is some pre-draft fuel. Bills are on their poll choice list for team which has declined the most this offseason?'

Marker Kelso a finalist for Academic Hall of Fame [8:29 AM]
CoSIDA Online reports: 'Cris Collinsworth, Mark Kelso, Megan Donnelly and Dr. James Martin are among a group of 25 finalists for induction into the 2001 Verizon Academic All-America Hall of Fame®. Five of the finalists will be inducted at ceremonies in New York in June.'

April 1, 2001

Marker Players need to adjust [7:37 PM]
Shout! reports: '[This Steve Tasker column appears in Shout!'s 2001 NFL draft issue, on newstands this week. Call 1-800-932-4557 for a subscription.] The new off-season training program that Gregg Williams has instituted is really the players' best opportunity to adjust to the new coaches without the pressure of having to play a game the next Sunday.'

Marker Butler hits San Diego ready to charge [9:28 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'But his position seems obvious: He was waiting to get an offer that he considered good enough to make him want to stay. He didn't get it. Wilson fired him. Wilson says he is convinced there was no offer that could have kept him.'

Marker Draft picks are coin of the realm in a free agent bear market [9:27 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Remember when the Bills signed Bryce Paup and Ted Washington in 1995, then added Chris Spielman the next year for the free-agency triple crown? We may never see that again.'

Marker Flutie charged with winning [9:26 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'They both had their reasons for Doug Flutie's coming and his going, but in the end it came down to this: The club for which he won a lot of games believed he had less to do with those victories than the club that just hired him did.'

Marker James Ailinger, Ex-N.F.L. Player, Dies at 99 [9:25 AM]
New York Times reports: 'In the autumn of 1924, while in his final year of dental school at the University of Buffalo, where he had been captain of the football and basketball teams, Ailinger joined the Buffalo Bisons of the N.F.L., which had been founded only four years earlier. Listed at 5 feet 11 and 185 pounds, he played guard on both offense and defense.'

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