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Buffalo Bills News - March 23, 2004

Marker Johnson Calls Buffalo's Offense Player Friendly [10:16 PM] reports: '"At one point or another the whole country gets to where it's cold as cold. I know it's a cold place here but the other team has to come and play in the same atmosphere. If it's cold for us it's cold for them. I would have no problem coming here."'

Marker Kozlowski Visits Bills [10:16 PM] reports: 'Rochester native Brian Kozlowski was among three free-agents to visit One Bills Drive on Tuesday. Kozlowski, a Webster High School graduate has played ten seasons in the NFL.'

Marker The Bills Bring In Two Falcons Including A Quarterback [4:52 PM]
WGR-AM reports: 'Defensive back Terry Cousin was the third player to visit. He played with the NFC champion Panthers last year. He has five career interceptions, but none last season. His seven years in the NFL has seen stops in Carolina, Miami, Atlanta and Chicago.'

Marker QB Volek turns down Bills [11:00 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Doug Johnson, free-agent backup for the Atlanta Falcons, is scheduled to visit the Bills today. Johnson, 26, has started 11 games in the NFL, eight after Falcons starter Michael Vick broke his leg last season. He threw for a career-high 352 yards in a 39-26 loss to Minnesota.'

Marker Volek decides to stay put with Titans [8:51 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Meanwhile, the Bills are scheduled to entertain Atlanta free-agent quarterback Doug Johnson today at One Bills Drive. Johnson, 26, is a former undrafted free agent who has played in 23 games in four years with the Falcons.'

Marker Buffalo Bills Backers of Naples [8:28 AM] reports: 'The Bills Backers of Naples, Florida gather for all preseason, season, and postseason Buffalo Bills games at Beef O'Brady's Family Sports Pub located at the corner of Radio Road and Santa Barbara Boulevard in the Berkshire area of Naples, Florida.'

Marker Bills strengthen push for Volek [5:15 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Meanwhile, free-agent tight end Mark Bruener of Pittsburgh, who was a top candidate to rejoin coach Mike Mularkey in Buffalo, signed with Houston. That may open the door for Rochesterís Roland Williams, who visited with Bills coaches last week. But as of Monday, the former East High and Syracuse star who earned a Super Bowl ring with St. Louis still had not heard from the Bills regarding a contract offer.'

Marker QB Volek returning to Titans [5:14 AM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: 'It looked as if the Titans would lose Volek, who also received an offer from the Falcons and said he was ''pretty close'' to signing there after making a second trip earlier this month. But Volek said at the beginning of the process he wanted to return to the Titans. His four-year deal is worth roughly $7 million, though that number will increase significantly if the option is exercised to include the 2008 season.'

Marker Volek to stay a Titan [5:13 AM]
Nashville City Paper reports: 'Volek and the Titans agreed in principle to a four-year deal Monday night that will keep the backup quarterback in Tennessee after he had serious overtures from both the Atlanta Falcons and Buffalo Bills, as well as visits to the Green Bay Packers and Denver Broncos. The deal, worth a reported $6.8 million, contains an option bonus in the third year that could trigger a fifth contract year. That would push the contract value to around $12 million.'

Marker Falcons, Bills pursued Volek to no avail [5:12 AM] reports: Offered more money by the Atlanta Falcons and the chance for more playing time by the Buffalo Bills, much coveted unrestricted free agent quarterback Billy Volek has opted to return to the Tennessee Titans instead, has learned. Late Monday night, Steve McNair's backup signed a four-year, $6.8 million contract with an option for a fifth season.

Marker Pro Bowl guard to visit Bears [5:11 AM]
Chicago Tribune reports: 'Free-agent Ruben Brown, a veteran of nine NFL seasons with the Buffalo Bills and eight Pro Bowls, will visit Halas Hall because, a source said, he is "intrigued" with the idea of playing for coach Lovie Smith and likes the direction of the Bears. Brown has the same team of agents as newly signed right tackle John Tait, and the Bears will offer Brown the chance to line up next to Tait at right guard.'

Marker Brown to visit Bears today [5:10 AM]
Arlington Heights Daily Herald reports: 'Although the 6-foot-3, 304-pound Brown was voted to the Pro Bowl for the eighth straight time this past season, the 32-year-old former first-round draft pick is considered to be on the down side of a brilliant career.'

Marker Former Bills guard Brown visiting Bears [5:09 AM] reports: 'The Bears will continue looking at improving their offensive line through free agency today when former Buffalo Bills left guard Ruben Brown visits Halas Hall to talk with team officials.'

Marker Pro Bowl guard Brown to visit Bears [5:08 AM] reports: 'Brown's status with the Bills had been in question since last December when he did not travel to New England for the season finale. The team announced that he missed the game for personal reasons but did not reveal any details. Eric Metz, Brown's agent, told The Associated Press that his client was prohibited from playing because he had been late for a practice in the week leading up to the game. "I don't want people thinking this is something that it's not," Metz said at the time. "One isolated, very small mistake shouldn't damage what has been and will continue to be a very great career."'

Marker Giants News and Notes [5:07 AM]
The Giant Insider reports: * Multiple sources confirmed that Giants owner Wellington Mara called Bills owner Ralph Wilson before Jim Fassel interviewed with Buffalo. Mara and Wilson have been friends for years, and Mara wanted to warn Wilson of Fassel's 'occasional questionable' off-field behavior that had embarrassed New York management at times during Fassel's tenure.

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March 22, 2004

Marker Preseason Opponents Announced [4:00 PM]
WGR-AM reports: 'This season the Bills will have their home preseason games first instead of the final two weeks.'

Marker Bills Host Denver in Preseason Opener [3:12 PM] reports: 'Week 1 - August 12-16: Denver at Buffalo Week 2 - August 19-23: Tennessee at Buffalo Week 3 - August 26-30: Buffalo at Indianapolis Week 4 - September 2-5: Buffalo at Detroit.'

Marker Bills Already Prepping Their Bodies For Football [8:13 AM] reports: 'With the team's first veteran camp coming up Wednesday, Director of Physical Development Rusty Jones along with new strength and conditioning coach Brad Roll have Monday and Tuesday to limber up the players. "The main focus on Monday and Tuesday is to get them used to the new procedures under the new coaching staff," said Jones. "We'll try to get them ready for the camp with stretching, and avoid situations in the minicamp by getting them hydrated, getting their carbohydrates and glycogen levels up, so they're ready."'

Marker Inside slant [5:44 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'After almost three months on the job, new Bills coach Mike Mularkey will get the first on-field look at his team when he conducts a three-day veteran's mini-camp starting Wednesday, March 24.'

Marker Strategy and personnel [5:43 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'The hard-working Teague figures to excel under the tutelage of McNally. He was the only Buffalo lineman to start all 16 games last season. His agent, Kyle Rote, said the team has not informed him of plans to shift Teague from center, but he's prepared for any type of change McNally may scheme up.'

Marker Notes, quotes, anecdotes [5:42 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'Bills TE Ryan Neufeld, who played in NFL Europe for the Rhein Fire, is serving as tight ends coach for the team during that league's training camp. "I wanted to see if coaching was something I eventually wanted to go into and so far I've really enjoying it," Neufeld said. "I don't think there's a better situation to learn than to be thrown into a training camp at this level."'

Marker Titans, Volek inch closer [5:16 AM]
Nashville City Paper reports: 'Still, by most indications, Tennessee appears to be in the driverís seat to keep Volek.'

March 21, 2004

Marker Pats likely to have Law on their side [9:01 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills have broached the subject of a contract extension with defensive end Aaron Schobel. Schobel has had 6.5, 8.5 and 11.5 sacks in his three seasons, and his contract runs out after 2004. Presuming he doesn't have a bad year, there's no question it will be cheaper to sign Schobel now than February or next March.'

Marker Buffalo fit the bill for CB Vincent [9:00 AM]
Cincinnati Enquirer reports: '"When I made this decision, I looked at London Fletcher, Takeo Spikes, Nate Clements, Drew Bledsoe, Eric Moulds, Sam Adams. I looked at the roster. I know there's talent here. I know we can win. I believe I can be one of the components bringing things together. I have experience. I've made plays in the past. I expect to make plays in the future to help this organization get back to where they once were."'

Marker White hammers home function of fullback [8:59 AM]
St. Petersburg Times reports: 'An undrafted free agent out of Nebraska, White spent three seasons with the Buffalo Bills before his NFL career was cut short by a groin injury. But he collected his share of memories, intercepting a Dan Marino pass to clinch an AFC East title and returning a fumble for a touchdown in a victory over the Bengals that ESPN Classic occasionally replays. A linebacker by trade, White had to learn to play fullback when he signed with the Arena league's Buffalo Destroyers in 1999. He credits former Destroyers and Storm fullback/linebacker Tony Jones with teaching him the nuances of the position.'

Marker Jury is still out for Bills [5:16 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Here are the off-season playoff moves and a comparison of the 2004 nondivision opponents for the always competitive AFC East...'.

Marker Hard life inspires cornerback to make a difference [5:15 AM]
Glasgow Sunday Herald reports: 'Carterís prospects of carving out a career at the Bills from the second division of the Arena League remain remote, but at least he has someone to emulate. His high school buddy Reg inald Swinton, and team-mate at the Arkansas Twisters, is now a Detroit Lion.'

March 20, 2004

Marker Falcons tire of waiting, withdraw offer to Volek [5:10 AM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: 'Also slowing Volek's decision in recent days was the fact the Buffalo Bills formally entered the bidding Wednesday. Bills quarterbacks coach Sam Wyche and general manager Tom Donahoe outlined the potential for far more playing time than Volek would likely see as the backup to either Steve McNair with the Titans or Michael Vick in Atlanta. But the Bills' offer was the lowest of the three teams.'

Marker Bannister drawing other teams' interest [5:09 AM]
Seattle Times reports: 'Bannister left Buffalo on Thursday night after spending two days meeting with Bills coaches and executives, and visits with other teams next week are in the works. McGee did not identify those teams, though the Baltimore Ravens, a team in search of help at wide receiver, are believed to be interested.'

March 19, 2004

Marker Special teams Pro Bowler visits Bills [8:53 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Great coverage on punts and kickoffs earned Bannister a Pro Bowl berth this season. The Seahawks ranked No. 1 in the NFL in punt coverage and seventh in kickoff coverage. Bannister saw little time at receiver, catching only three passes for 61 yards all year. He was No. 4 on the Seattle depth chart, behind Darrell Jackson, Koren Robinson and Bobby Engram.'

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