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Kelsay backs UB's Gill for job at Nebraska

University at Buffalo football coach Turner Gill has plenty of support for the vacant Nebraska job. Count Buffalo Bills defensive end Chris Kelsay as one of Gill's biggest endorsers.

Kelsay believes no one is better equipped to lead the Cornhuskers than Gill, who interviewed for the job Monday.

"Obviously I know him very well," said Kelsay, who like Gill played for Nebraska. "I think he's a great coach and he would do very well at Nebraska. He's got a huge backing and I'm one of them."

Nebraska's once-proud program has fallen on hard times since Tom Osborne retired as coach in 1997 after 25 years and three national championships. Osborne, the school's acting athletics director, fired coach Bill Callahan last Saturday and has interviewed potential replacements.

Kelsay is not surprised Gill is among the candidates, especially the way he quickly turned around a UB program that has been woeful for most of its Division I-A existence.

"Ever since he started doing well out here, and with the notion that Callahan was gone, Turner is the first guy that popped in my head given his relationship with coach Osborne, the university and the state of Nebraska," Kelsay said. "Anybody that follows UB at all has heard about his success and how the kids have responded to his coaching. I think that goes to show not just the type of coach he is, but the type of person he is. He's a man of great integrity. He knows how to get the ball rolling, especially with the budget he has to deal with, or the lack of. I think it's just more credit to him."

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Bills running back Anthony Thomas will miss Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins and may be out a lot longer. Thomas has a torn calf muscle, coach Dick Jauron said Thursday.

Jauron doesn't think Thomas will require surgery, but is not sure if the injury is season-ending.

"I'm not optimistic about Anthony," Jauron said. "It's a torn muscle and it's an unusual tear from what I understand. Very seldom do our medical people see this by itself. When it tears it usually tears in conjunction with other things. So it's good news from that regard. But because they never see it they're not certain how long it's going to take."

Thomas has started the last two games in place of Marshawn Lynch, who is still recovering from a high ankle sprain.

With Thomas and Lynch out, the Bills will go into the game with only two running backs -- Fred Jackson and Dwayne Wright.

Kelsay continues to wear a protective boot on his sprained left ankle, which will likely keep him out of action for at least this week. Cornerback Jerametrius Butler (calf) and linebacker Coy Wire (neck) also have been sidelined this week. Both are questionable for Sunday.

Returning to practice Thursday were receiver Roscoe Parrish, linebacker Mario Haggan, safety Bryan Scott and tight end Robert Royal. They were sick Wednesday. Safety Donte Whitner (personal matter) and defensive end Ryan Denney (foot) also were back.

Defensive tackle Larry Tripplett (abdominal strain) practiced on a limited basis. Linebacker Angelo Crowell practiced, but had a noticeable limp afterward. Jauron said Crowell has been dealing with a sore foot for the past couple of weeks.

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Perhaps no one in the Bills' locker room has taken the death of Redskins safety Sean Taylor harder than Parrish, who struggled with his emotions when asked about his former University of Miami teammate Thursday.

"Me and Sean Taylor came in together, the same [recruiting] class," Parrish said. "Actually I kind of knew Sean in high school because we went to the Florida State camp together going into our senior year, so I got to know Sean real good. When something like this happens, it kind of hits you. You don't know really what to do because it's unexpected. There's shock and sadness."

All NFL teams are expected to honor Taylor by wearing a decal with his No. 21 on their helmets. Parrish was planning to do that even if the league didn't mandate it.

e-mail: awilson@buffnews.com

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