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Inside The Bills

NFL wants best picks of all time

Posted by Chris Brown on April 2, 2010 – 9:00 am

In celebration of the 75th NFL Draft, which kicks off in primetime for the first time on Thurs. April 22, fans now can help choose the 75 Most Valuable Draft Picks of all time. You can vote for your choices at NFL.com now through April 18. 

The 10 Most Valuable Draft Picks will be announced during Round 1, when many of the Top 10 will be in attendance at Radio City Music Hall, the home of the 2010 NFL Draft. The order of the Top 10 will be revealed after the conclusion of the Second Round of the Draft on Friday night.  Many of these players will be on hand for the announcement.

NFL.com editors narrowed down the first 74 Drafts to a list of the top 320 players, consisting of 10 players from each team.  Fans begin the process of determining the Most Valuable Draft Pick by choosing between pairs of players randomly generated from the list of 320 greats.  After selecting winners of 30 random matchups, fans will begin to build their own Top 10 list.  Fans may continue to vote in order to make changes to their personal Top 10 list as well as the All-Time Top 10 announced at the Draft. Users then may share their lists and their head-to-head winners on Facebook.

NFL.com delivers comprehensive information on each of the 320 players, including the player’s draft information and career accomplishments to help the voters make educated selections in determining the Most Valuable Pick.

Below is the list of Bills nominees.
Gary Anderson – never played for the Bills, but was a late round draft pick that went on to be one of the league’s all-time scorers.
Ruben Brown – 8 Pro Bowls
Joe DeLamielleure – Hall of Famer
Jim Kelly – Hall of Famer
Reggie McKenzie – Well known member of the Electric Company
Andre Reed – Bills Wall of Famer, 4 time HOF finalist
O.J. Simpson – Hall of Famer
Fred Smerlas – Bills Wall of Famer
Bruce Smith – Hall of Famer
Thurman Thomas – Hall of Famer


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Mr. Wilson to get HOF ring Sunday

Posted by Chris Brown on October 28, 2009 – 10:30 pm

The Bills have announced that Mr. Wilson will be presented with his Hall of Fame ring at halftime of the game against the Houston Texans this Sunday.

In a separate development Hall of Fame DE Bruce Smith will be presented with his Hall of Fame ring at halftime of the home game against the Miami Dolphins on Nov. 29th.


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Bruce Smith to be honored tonight

Posted by Chris Brown on September 25, 2009 – 1:38 pm

Bills Hall of Fame DE Bruce Smith will be honored tonight in his native Virginia.

Operation Smile, a Virginia based medical effort that repairs the cleft lips and cleft palates of children abroad and across the United States is honoring Smith tonight for his HOF induction and for his commitment to helping children with deformities and other unfortunate circumstances.

The event takes place tonight at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. For more information on the cause you can log on to the organization’s website.


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Top 10 Hall of Fame speech excerpts

Posted by Chris Brown on August 9, 2009 – 6:17 pm

There may be some argument with my choices, but here is my top 10 list of speech excerpts from the Buffalo presenters and inductees at the Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony Saturday night.

10. Rich Eisen – “When did Buffalo move to Canton?”

9. Chris Berman – “Bruce, Mr. Wilson, I think we have a Buffalo home game.. It’s as if everyone in Buffalo is being inducted.”

8. Bruce Smith – On his first attempt at football in high school – “The first day was a nightmare. The second day I quit. Coach called my house that day and spoke with my father. After the conversation ended my father asked me, ‘Why weren’t you at practice? Are you sick? Is something wrong?’ I said, ‘No sir. Football is just too hard. It’s too hot and it’s too painful.’ My father gave me a look I will never forget. In his baritone voice he said, ‘Son, whatever you do in life don’t ever quit.’”

7. Ted Cottrell – On Bruce Smith – “He wasn’t a football player. He was a football performer. The field was his stage and he was the star.”

6. Bruce Smith – “In the annals of NFL history the sum total of my career will be defined by the 15 years I spent playing for the Buffalo Bills. And what a ride it was. Four consecutive AFC Championships, the potency of the no huddle offense, the greatest comeback in NFL history and the record breaking attendance set by the greatest fans in the NFL.”

5. Bruce Smith – “I can remember arriving for my first minicamp with Andre Reed in 1985. And the first practice in the middle of May we noticed dark clouds off in the distance. Within minutes it began to rain, hail and snow. After 30 minutes of downpour the sun began to shine and I thought, ‘What the hell have I gotten myself into?’”

4. Ralph Wilson – “It has been a grand ride for me and tonight is the high point. Thank you to so many players, coaches, my family, the Bills family, passionate Bills fans, the Hall of Fame voters and the Hall of Fame staff… closing in on 91 I still feel that I have youth on my side. And I want to thank all of you very much for this honor.”

3. Bruce Smith – “Thurman Thomas, known to his teammates as Squatty. You are no doubt the most complete running back of our era. My life would be a little less bright if I didn’t have you to laugh and joke with. P.S. I hid your helmet.”

2. Ralph Wilson – when the Bills were down 21-7 at halftime in their preseason finale in 1960. – “Friends of mine in the stands said, ‘Why don’t you go down and talk to the team. You can’t do any worse.’ And I said, ‘What am I going to tell them?’ and they said, ‘Well tell them something.’ At their urging I went down and walked into our locker room and there was our head coach Buster Ramsey with that expression on his face that said, ‘What are you doing in here?’ I said I want to talk to the team. And I gave that team one of the most inspiring fight talks. It was reminiscent of one of those speeches by Knute Rockne or Vince Lombardi. And we lost the game 51-7. Shortly thereafter Buster said to me, ‘Hey Ralph, next time talk to the other team.’

1. Chris Berman – “50 years later the Bills still belong to Buffalo because your owner gave you his word.”


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My pics from Hall of Fame night

Posted by Chris Brown on August 9, 2009 – 2:07 pm

It was one heck of an evening in Canton for the Bills family. Here are just a few of the photos from the evening’s festivities including Mr. Wilson’s private party. I’ve got to say he pulled out all the stops. Wait until you see the photo of his cake at the bottom unbelievable!

Pardon the lack of top quality images as I took these with the camera on my blackberry. First I snapped a quick pic of Bruce with Thurman and Jim Kelly next to his bust shortly after Bruce’s speech.

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Then it was off to Mr. Wilson’s private party to first cover the event and then get some food myself (we barely had dinner). With a live band from Buffalo going all night, the 50th anniversary season was celebrated in ice, Mr. Wilson’s bust was on display and guarded by a HOF representative. Mr. Wilson’s party tent was about 100 yards long. And of course his cake courtesy of Dessert Deli back home in Buffalo was ridiculous.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Friendly wagers on when Bruce cries

Posted by Chris Brown on August 8, 2009 – 9:52 pm

Bruce Smith’s former teammates have a friendly wager going on when the HOF’er will break down at the podium.

Andre Reed has the 3 minute mark, Darryl Talley has 2 and a half minutes.

“Blubbering counts,” said Talley.
“It won’t take long,” said Reed. “Once he looks out at everyone he’ll start to lose it.”


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Mr. Wilson and Bruce Smith HOF speeches to air live on Buffalobills.com

Posted by Chris Brown on August 7, 2009 – 11:29 pm

For those of you that will not be near a television or sitting in Canton Saturday night you can watch the Hall of Fame induction speeches of Ralph Wilson and Bruce Smith live on Buffalobills.com.

Just be sure to click on the media lounge tab near the top of the home page. We’ll have full coverage of all of this weekend’s events on Buffalobills.com from the enshrinement ceremonies to the post game press conferences.


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Hall of Fame speech order for Saturday evening

Posted by Chris Brown on August 6, 2009 – 5:29 pm

For those fans heading down to Canton this weekend, you’re going to want to be seated early for the induction ceremonies.

The reason why is Mr. Wilson is going to be presented as the first enshrinee. Here’s the list of the order of the speeches for Saturday.

Ralph Wilson, Jr. (presented by Chris Berman)
Randall McDaniel (presented by O.K. Fulton)
Bob Hayes (Roger Staubach will speak on behalf of the family. Bob’s son Bob Hayes, Jr. will represent his late father during the weekend’s festivities)
Rod Woodson (presented by Tracy Foster)
Derrick Thomas (Carl Peterson will speak on behalf of the famiy. Derrick’s son Derrion Hayes will represent his late father during the weekend’s festivities)
Bruce Smith (presented by Ted Cottrell)

Nice that the Hall of Fame book ended the Bills representatives. Kind of fitting for a weekend that belongs to Buffalo and the AFL.


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Bruce Smith to consider coaching

Posted by Chris Brown on July 21, 2009 – 6:17 pm

Bills Hall of Famer Bruce Smith was asked a number of questions while appearing on a live chat on NFL.com Monday, including whether or not he would be interested in starting a career in coaching. The NFL’s all-time sack leader had an interesting answer.

“I have given it some thought, but my first priority right now is to raise my son and once he gets off in college, I’ll revisit the possibility of coaching.”

While young players like Chris Ellis and Aaron Maybin could certainly learn a thing or two from Smith, I don’t know how Bruce could teach other players to contort their body the way he did, lowering his center of gravity, turning his upper torso at a 90-degree angle toward the offensive tackle, while his legs ran straight upfield.

Many of his former teammates tried to emulate that technique with no success. Phil Hansen told me he couldn’t do it. Marcellus Wiley said he tried several times, but kept falling down. I believe Bruce would have something to offer as a defensive line coach, but I think a lot of the things he could do on the field simply can’t be performed by the majority of NFL defensive ends.

Here’s the entire chat, where Smith also said he would not trade his career for a Super Bowl ring and a shorter career.


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Marv welcomes Wilson to Hall of Fame

Posted by Chris Brown on July 21, 2009 – 3:43 pm

Bills Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy penned an open letter to his former boss Ralph Wilson welcoming him as a new inductee to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The letter appears on NFL.com. Titled ‘Congratulations to the Pride of Buffalo,’ Levy calls Mr. Wilson’s induction an honor not only for the Bills owner, but the entire city of Buffalo.

Bills HOF QB Jim Kelly did that same thing for Bruce Smith, welcoming him to the Hall as well with a letter appearing on NFL.com.

That August weekend is certainly going to be a big one for the Queen City.


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Chat with Ralph Wilson

Posted by Chris Brown on July 21, 2009 – 10:45 am

The Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremonies for Mr. Wilson and Bruce Smith are just a few weeks away. But you can send a question to Mr. Wilson as he’ll be appearing on an NFL chat today at 2pm on nfl.com.

Here’s the page where you can submit your question. Not sure how long Mr. Wilson will be online answering questions. We’ll try to get a recap together later today.


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HOFers that have RSVP’d for induction day

Posted by Chris Brown on July 10, 2009 – 4:09 pm

More than 70 Hall of Famers have RSVP’d and will be attending enshrinement ceremonies on Aug. 8 at the Pro Football HOF in Canton. And there are several former Bills on that list as expected.

Among the Bills HOF’ers who have already RSVP’d are Joe D., Jim Kelly, Marv Levy, James Lofton and Billy Shaw. I think it’s safe to assume that Thurman Thomas will be attending knowing he’s one of Bruce Smith’s closest friends. He just probably hasn’t sent the RSVP back yet.

Here’s the whole list of the HOF’ers that have RSVP’d that you can expect to see if you’re attending HOF weekend.


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Fan Friday 6-19

Posted by Chris Brown on June 19, 2009 – 7:25 pm

We’re in the doldrums before training camp, but there are still some issues to discuss concerning the team. You can always submit questions to AskChris@bills.nfl.net.
1. Hi Chris-
Any truth to the reports that the K-Gun is returning to the Buffalo offense?
If so…what are your thoughts.
-Jeremy Reiner
CB: I think it’s safe to assume that some elements of the K-Gun offense are being incorporated into Buffalo’s offensive scheme with their no huddle package. But the K-Gun in its entirety I think is unrealistic.

I like that the Bills are turning to the no huddle more to make it more difficult for defenses to substitute and get set pre-snap. Of course the Bills offense has to prove it can sustain drives with consistency as well because if they can’t it puts a lot more pressure on the defense to stop people.

Knowing coach Jauron comes from a defensive background, I’m not sure you should expect to see an overwhelming amount of no huddle. I believe it will be used more, but if you’re looking for more than half a game of no huddle week in and week out I think you’re getting your hopes up.

 

2. Would it be a bad idea if Mr. Nelson got reps as fullback, not only to improve his blocking skills, but to add a fullback weapon ala ‘that guy from Lewiston.’
Sean

CB: I’m assuming you’re talking about Shawn Nelson. At 6’5” putting Nelson at fullback even on the move is a bad idea as I see it. First, blocking as a fullback is different than as a tight end. Linebackers are often coming at you with a head of steam as opposed to a defensive end butting heads with you at the line.

Second, the coaching staff has already made a point of keeping the information flow to Nelson at a manageable level as they have him focused primarily on route running within the offensive scheme, knowing that’s where he can help them the most as a rookie. The blocking will come later since they have two other tight ends to handle it.

And that guy from Lewiston, Moose Johnston and Nelson are two completely different players.

 
3. Has there been any thought given to asking Bruce Smith in to some of the camps to work with Maybin???  Given his skill set, Bruce has a lot to tech a guy with Maybin’s raw physical talents

Steve Ward
Miamisburg, OH

CB: That’s not a bad idea, but I just don’t see Bruce interested in coaching. I know Steve Tasker has volunteered his time to help Bobby April on occasion with special teams skills, but Bruce was such a great player. As Phil Hansen once explained to me, Bruce could contort his body in a way that no one else could in terms of bending the corner. He’d run upfield straight, while his upper torso was turned 90 degrees and hand fighting the offensive tackle.

Marcellus Wiley once told me he tried to do what Bruce did and just kept falling down. So what Bruce knows how to do I’m not sure can be effectively applied to most players on Buffalo’s roster today.

 
4. Chris,
 
Why isn’t Tom Modrak given more credit for the outstanding job he does on day two of the draft (ex. McGee, Ellison, Williams and Butler)?  By the way, this year’s 4th (TE-Nelson) is a home-run.
 
Guy Devitt

CB: I think the reason is pretty simple. The team hasn’t been successful in terms of winning records and playoff appearances. So as a result those associated with the team aren’t recognized outside of the walls of One Bills Drive for the good work that they do.

I think Modrak’s record as a talent evaluator speaks for itself, well beyond just what he’s done with the Bills. Everyone forgets how much heat he took as GM in Philadelphia when he took Donovan McNabb instead of Ricky Williams with the fifth overall pick. I think that has to be one of his best calls and for it to come with a top five pick was big.

 
5. Chris,

Who from last year’s draft class will have an impact this season?  I know everyone is counting on McKelvin and Hardy but I’m very interested in how Alvin Bowen and Chris Ellis will do coming off of injuries.
 
Thanks,
John

CB: I think that Derek Fine has a chance to make an impact with the starting tight end job up for grabs after the release of Robert Royal. I anticipate he and Derek Schouman to battle it out for the top job. But Fine has looked good in the passing game and has a good chemistry with Trent Edwards. Not that Schouman doesn’t, but I think Fine’s got a shot.

Ellis is flying under the radar with all the hype surrounding top pick Aaron Maybin. I’m really interested to see what Ellis can bring to the table in camp when the pads go on. I think Bowen is also capable of pushing veteran Keith Ellison for the starting outside linebacker job. So you’re on the mark with some guys to keep an eye on.

Reggie Corner could land the nickel job as well and Demetrius Bell could be the swing tackle behind Butler and Walker. Not a bad draft class huh? (See Modrak question 4).


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Bruce chooses Cottrell to be his presenter

Posted by Chris Brown on June 1, 2009 – 6:55 pm

Bills HOF enshrinee Bruce Smith was down to two men to be his presenter for the Pro Football HOF on Aug. 8, Marv Levy and Ted Cottrell. Smith revealed at the Jim Kelly golf tournament on Monday that Cottrell will be his presenter.

He’ll be the first of the Bills players under Marv Levy’s tutelage to go with his position coach as Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas both had Levy as their presenter. Smith strongly feels that Levy’s hiring of Cottrell as his defensive line coach represented a turning point in his career.

“He taught me how to study film,” said Smith of Cottrell. “There are three phases to the game that need to take place, conditioning, studying film and having a coach that you can relate to. If you put all three of those things together you have the makings of something special.”

Bruce felt the first turning point in his career came after his rookie season.

“I think when I ballooned up to 310 pounds after my first year I quickly realized I wasn’t going to become the player that I wanted to be unless I changed some of my eating habits and conditioning,” said Smith. “I quickly made some adjustments as far as that was concerned.”


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Jim Kelly golf tourney underway

Posted by Chris Brown on June 1, 2009 – 3:10 pm

I’m out at the 23rd annual Jim Kelly golf tournament this morning. A lot of familiar faces out here.

Talked to Jim, Bruce, Andre, Tasker and Phil Hansen among others.

Among the current Bills taking part that I spotted were John Wendling, John McCargo, Derek Fine, Gibran Hamdan, Paul Posluszny, Jonathan Stupar, Trent Edwards and Matt Baker.

Among the coaches I saw were Tyke Tolbert, Turk Schonert and Alex Van Pelt.
We’ll have full coverage of the event later this afternoon in the media lounge on Buffalobills.com.


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If you’re going to the Hall of Fame game…

Posted by Chris Brown on May 27, 2009 – 7:40 pm

There will be an opportunity to get the autographs of all the Hall of Fame enshrinees, except Mr. Wilson. The Pro Football HOF announced that on Sunday, Aug. 9, from 3-4:30 p.m., Bruce Smith, Rod Woodson and Randall McDaniel will be on hand for a special autograph signing. 

Tickets for the autograph signing go on sale, Tuesday June 2, by telephone only 1-800-913-9788 beginning at 11:00 a.m. ET.  The cost per ticket is $200. Each ticket entitles the ticket holder to one autograph per participating enshrinee.

All tickets will be mailed and there will be an additional charge for postage and handling of $20. In order to accommodate as many individuals as possible, customers will be restricted to purchasing just two tickets.

Also, several other Hall of Fame members are scheduled to participate in an additional Autograph Session presented by Mounted Memories.  That session will be held on Saturday, August 8 from 12-2:00 p.m. ET. Information about the session can be seen at www.mountedmemoriesshows.com. Good luck everybody.


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Bills HOF guard Billy Shaw on NFL Radio Friday

Posted by Chris Brown on March 11, 2009 – 4:41 pm

As part of their HOF legends series, Bills HOF guard Billy Shaw will appear on Sirius NFL Radio this Friday at 10 am eastern time to share stories from his career, recollections of his induction day and comment on the upcoming HOF class that includes Bills owner Ralph Wilson and Bills DE Bruce Smith.

Shaw is the most decorated Bills player in team history. He was an 8-time AFL All-Star, a member of the Bills 25th Anniversary Team, in the AFL Hall of Fame, on the Bills Wall of Fame and the only Pro Football HOF member to have played his entire career in the AFL.


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San Fran writer needs to be straightened out

Posted by Chris Brown on March 11, 2009 – 2:43 pm

Ladies and gentlemen of Bills Nation, I have a humble request if you hold your native hometown and its football franchise sacred. Many times Buffalo, and the Bills for that matter, have been denigrated by an assortment of sports writers over the years. It’s often an easy and convenient way for lazy journalists to fill space in their columns. And S.F. Chronicle writer Bruce Jenkins may be the most misinformed of them all.

In a T.O. signing spin-off column he proceeds to insult not only the city of Buffalo, but the history of the Bills franchise, claiming O.J. and T.O. are the only flamboyant stars in the team’s history. Sure he lists some names from Bills history in passing, but he dismisses Thurman Thomas and completely forgets Bruce Smith. Yup, Smith was not even mentioned.

You know, Bruce Smith, the league’s all-time sack leader, the guy that’s going into the Hall of Fame this summer?

Jenkins also dismisses Buffalo’s history. While the Bills can’t claim the Super Bowl titles of the 49ers in the 80′s, the Bills certainly have a prouder history from the early days.

From 1950-1980 the 49ers have only 3 division titles and four playoff appearances. Over that same span minus 10 years (Bills first AFL season was 1960) Buffalo had 3 division titles, 6 playoff appearances and a pair of AFL championships.

So please, please send this Jenkins character an email (bjenkins@sfchronicle.com) and set him straight. Tell him the 49ers history wasn’t worth much prior to Bill Walsh, isn’t any better than the Bills history in this decade right now and that he may want to look at the list for Canton this summer and realize O.J. and T.O. aren’t the only flamboyant stars in Bills franchise history.


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Bruce down to two candidates to present him

Posted by Chris Brown on January 31, 2009 – 8:37 pm

Bruce Smith is down to just two candidates for presentation into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. One is obviously Marv Levy and he said the other is former defensive line and defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell.

Mr. Wilson said he had honestly not given it any thought to this point.


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Odds on Super Bowl enshrinement

Posted by Chris Brown on January 27, 2009 – 4:00 pm

If you want to get an idea on the chances for enshrinement for Andre Reed, Bruce Smith and Ralph Wilson for this weekend, SI.com’s Peter King has handicapped the voting by the HOF committee.

Bruce obviously has some of the best odds at 3:5 with Rod Woodson.

Mr. Wilson is next among the Bills finalists at 4:1.

Andre Reed was given the longest odds at 8:1, and it doesn’t sound like Andre has King’s vote.


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