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The mail came in a torrent in the aftermath of the Sammy Watkins and Ronald Darby trades. The prevailing reaction from Buffalo fans was a conflicted unease over whether they should maintain hope for this season. When you think about it, that could have been the question in August for the last 18 years. Should people invest their emotions into another Bills season when m…

The Doug Flutie-Rob Johnson controversy is a distant memory for Buffalo fans. But Sports Illustrated revived the debate in last week's feature on camp quarterback battles, in which they interviewed 10 ex-NFL players who were engaged in memorable QB competitions. Flutie has the reputation as a selfish jerk, but it's Johnson who comes across as resentful and pathetic. He …

Column as I see 'em, Preseason: You don't have to be a psychologist to figure out what triggered Sean McDermott's tongue-lashing of his players during Monday's practice. Richie Incognito, speaking after the new head coach's rant and the practice scuffles that followed, had the money quote. Incognito said McDermott had the impression that there were "guys feeling a li…

Justin Thomas won the PGA Championship on Sunday, becoming the 10th different winner in the last 10 majors. In fact, no one finished in the top three in more than one major this season. The question used to be whether Tiger Woods could break Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 majors. Now it's if anyone can equal Tiger, who won 14 and won't likely win another. Only three men (N…

Tim Fries has lived a happy and fulfilling golf life. He's an accomplished player, a seven-time Western New York PGA champion. Two years ago, he played in the Senior PGA Championship. He's a respected head pro at Transit Valley, and one of 14 members of the national PGA board of directors. But this past weekend might have been the highlight, though Fries didn't strike a…

I was about to put the Mailbag to bed on Friday when the big news broke about the Sammy Watkins and Ronald Darby trades. So the column was put back a day and, not surprisingly, the roof nearly blew off the old mailbox. People are all over the place about the trades, though the overall sentiment is positive. Bills fans are understandably conflicted. Many agree it's in th…

Brandon Beane was asked a simple question when he took to the lectern shortly after 4 p.m. on his blockbuster Friday. Did trading Sammy Watkins and Ronald Darby make the Bills a better team? "For the 2017 season?" the Bills first-year general manager said. "You could make arguments either way." He has a point there, but I'll embrace the contrary argument. The trades,…

Brandon Beane couldn't say whether the Bills got better by trading Sammy Watkins and Ronald Darby on Friday. Sean McDermott wasn't sure, either. Allow me to help them out here. The Bills didn't get better. They got worse. It's understandable that Beane and McDermott wouldn't concede that it was a step back. They have to sell these deals to their team, which expects to c…

Early Thursday morning, while standing in line at the Noco station, I glanced at the front page of the sports section and saw it right there above the fold. The Bills were two-point underdogs in the preseason opener. A betting line. On a preseason game. Oh, I was vaguely aware that Las Vegas set lines on NFL exhibitions, but it was still jarring to be reminded that peop…

Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson had the three best odds to win the PGA Championship this week at Quail Hollow, no surprise considering they also had the best odds last year when 125-1 longshot Jimmy Walker captured the Wanamaker Trophy. McIlroy was at 7-1 based on his history at Quail Hollow, his success in the tournament and his recent play. He owns the …

Former pro boxer Paulie Malignaggi quit as sparring partner for Conor McGregor last week after photos were released of Malignaggi being knocked down in the ring. The ex-champ claims he was pushed and said preparations for McGregor's fight with Floyd Mayweather had become a "circus." He's right. The Aug. 26 bout between UFC superstar McGregor and Mayweather, one of the g…

On Monday, Bryce Harper became the 14th player in major league history to hit 150 home runs before his 25th birthday. He was 24 years old and 295 days when he reached the milestone, notable only because Mike Trout was the same age, to the day, when he hit No. 150 last season. A few hours later, Trout smacked a double for his 1,000th career hit and added a solo home r…

Anquan Boldin turns 37 in October. There's no telling how much the veteran wideout, who's ninth in NFL career receptions with 1,076, has left in the tank. But Boldin is a solid signing for the Bills, who have a crying need for experienced help at wide receiver. Rookie Zay Jones shows promise and Rod Streater is having a fine camp. But there's no proven commodity behind …

A quick look at the baseball standings Monday revealed 10 of the 15 teams in the American League either had the division lead or were within 3½ games of a wild-card spot about 50 games remaining. Four teams play in the AL East, and the last-place Blue Jays were only 5½ games back of the final playoff spot. It has been 23 years since Major League Baseball implemented w…

It would be unbecoming for any self-respecting person to take joy from another man's pain, but rest assured a select few (hundred thousand) Bills fans felt a jolt of optimism last Thursday when Ryan Tannehill reinjured his left knee and Tom Brady celebrated his 40th birthday. Buffalo people are known for their warm hearts (and love for food and beer), but Buffalo fans h…