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People ask for my early impressions of new Bills coach Doug Marrone. I tell them to check back with me in September. But from what I gathered in minicamp, the players are excited about the energy and optimism of the new staff. Here’s a quote from Fred Jackson, one I’ll store away for future reference: “When a new coach tells you we’re going to the …

Gusto

Don Rickles was at Melody Fair getting dressed to go on. I was on a couch in his trailer peppering him with bright-eyed, marginally relevant questions. The only other man in the room was Rickles' man Harry Goins -- valet, personal assistant, keeper of the surprisingly delicate Rickles psyche -- who handed him a scotch as we talked. Rickles turned to Harry and asked tes…

Our year of firsts turned into our year of lasts this week, as kindergarten drew to a close. The first bus ride, the first day of school, the first cafeteria lunch, the first show-and-tell, the first field trip . . . they all are memories now. Our 6-year-old -- now seasoned at these things -- today begins her first official summer vacation. "Mom, yesterday was our la…

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Syracuse, April 2003 - This is still one of the best quotes about fan loyalty that I've ever heard, and it comes -- as you might expect -- from Western New York. Not quite 13 years ago, days before the Bills played against the Giants in their first Super Bowl, my newspaper in Syracuse sent me to Buffalo. The mission: capturing the community mood. All of this was para…

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Brian Dimmer hasn't told his son, Jeff, about the Georgetown Cup. Not yet. Not the whole story. Maybe, here and there, the kid has heard some snippets. The 10-year-old can't miss the photo his dad keeps on the wall. It shows Dimmer and all these other guys hanging out the windows of their school bus, screaming like they're feeling something no one else can feel. Jeff…

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"Questions being raised now revolve around whether his work will be enough to qualify him for sainthood in the Catholic Church . . . In other words: Was Father Baker a miracle worker, or simply a wonderful man ahead of his time?" - from a Buffalo News article by Charity Vogel In the Catholic Church, becoming a saint is a little more complicated than making it, for insta…

Bills

The hurt was on Bruce DeHaven's face Sunday. "It's certainly the worst moment in my coaching career," the Bills' special teams coach said. "It's about as bad a moment as I've ever had in my life with the exception of deaths in the family. There's no way I can express it in words." DeHaven, of course, was speaking of the kickoff return for a touchdown that ended the Bills…

By Sunday afternoon, Thurman Thomas already had put it behind him. When you've been an NFL player for a dozen seasons, when you've won and lost big games in every way imaginable, you develop a tough shell, a heightened capacity for acceptance. Sure, he was crushed by the loss Saturday in Tennessee. Thomas was convinced the Bills would win. He thought they had a legitimate…

Bills

Al Del Greco, the Tennessee kicker, had been there seven years earlier, in the great comeback game in Buffalo. So when Steve Christie booted his 41-yard field goal with 16 seconds left Saturday, the first thing he thought was, "Man, he did it to us again." Seconds later, Greg Favors, a backup linebacker and special teams member, walked up to Del Greco and said, "Al, get r…

Bills

If you're a Buffalo Bills fan and you live to be 100, you will never forget the Immaculate Deception the Tennessee Titans pulled Saturday. The Titans' 22-16 victory over the Bills will go down as one of the greatest, most heartbreaking or most unfair endings -- depending on your perspective -- in NFL playoff history. In fact, Kevin Dyson's 75-yard kickoff return for a to…

The Buffalo Bills find themselves in an adversity-is-an-opportunity-for-heroism situation today.They either will lose because of the former or win by getting a heap of the latter when they meet the Tennessee Titans in an NFL wild-card playoff game. "We're playing probably the best team in the playoffs right now -- AFC or NFC," said Bills quarterback Rob Johnson. "They bea…

The onus of a fourth straight Super Bowl loss weighed heavy in the Buffalo Bills' locker room Sunday night.The Bills were a disappointed, hurting team after their 30-13 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl XXVIII. But they were not embarrassed.They made no apologies for themselves. And many of them seemed like they were prepared to carry the weight of their re…

There was one meaningless minute left on the clock, and the Cowboys were dumping the ceremonial bucket of ice water over the head of their smug, sensational head coach, Jimmy Johnson.You know the gig is up when the ice water begins streaming down Johnson's head. You pack up your belongings and head for home. But Jim Kelly didn't seem to be getting the message. He …

Buffalo Bills kick returner Russell Copeland made the team's lone turnover Sunday but also gave the team good field position with several good punt returns.Copeland fumbled a kickoff in the first quarter, which led to a Kansas City field goal.But Copeland also had punt returns of 13, 17, 26 and 14 yards."I started off on the wrong foot when I made that fumble, but…

WITH EVERY other sentence, he stopped to thank someone. He praised his offensive linemen, repeatedly and profusely. He gushed over the coaching, over Kent Hull's blocking calls, over Jim Kelly's impeccable decision-making at the line of scrimmage.Certainly, a lot of other people helped make it happen. But let's face it. This was Thurman Thomas' afternoon, his wond…