The Buffalo Bills seem on their way to what could be their first -- and only -- early sellout of the season.
The Bills reported this week that about 5,000 tickets remain for the Nov. 2 game against Miami, traditionally the best draw on their schedule.
Roughly 14,000 seats are left for the Bills' first home game after this week's bye, Oct. 5 against the Detroit Lions.
The team also says that about 18,000 tickets remain for the Oct. 26 clash with the Denver Broncos.
After drawing the NFL's largest opening-day crowd for the Aug. 31 loss to Minnesota (79,139), the Bills ranked 10th in attendance among the 13 games played last weekend for their victory over Indianapolis (55,340). Denver led with 73,871, followed by Tampa Bay (73,314), Jacksonville (73,016), the New York Jets (72,586), and Kansas City (67,402).
The Bills have promoted Bill Munson from assistant general manager/business operations to vice president of operations.
Munson, a native of Niagara Falls, has served in nearly every front-office capacity during his 25 years with the club. He had been the Bills' assistant GM/business operations since 1989.
Among his new responsibilities is leasing the team's 164 luxury suites and 8,800 club seats for the 1999 season.
Three Bills -- cornerback Jeff Burris, defensive end Phil Hansen and nose tackle Ted Washington -- have been nominated for the 1997 True Value Hardware NFL Man of the Year award.
Burris has sponsored an essay-writing contest for inner-city children and is the celebrity chairman of the "Sprint Bills Good Sports Essay Contest," which promoted the principles of good sportsmanship among eighth-grade students. He is also a spokesman for Western New York Red Ribbon Anti-Drug Campaign, and has been involved with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Buffalo.
Hansen has served as spokesman for the "Help Sack MS" program, encouraging fans to pledge a donation to the Multiple Sclerosis Society for each quarterback sack recorded by the Bills. He and teammate Lonnie Johnson appear in a poster, entitled "Tough Guys Don't," for the Kids Escaping Drugs campaign. Hansen also is part of the "Athletes Against Violence" campaign that targets domestic violence. In his native North Dakota, he serves as a spokesman for the Great Plains Assistance Dogs Foundation, and makes regular visits to schools to promote physical fitness.
Washington is a spokesman for the "Help Sack MS" program. He has also created "Washington's Generals," which, in conjunction with Junior Achievement, purchases 30 tickets to each Bills home game and distributes them to honor-roll students throughout Buffalo. Last February, Washington served as a celebrity host for the New York State Special Olympics Winter Games in Western New York. In addition, he is an advocate for children's health issues, and participated in campaigns to urge children to drink milk and eat a healthy breakfast.
The NFL fined Colts linebacker Quentin Coryatt $7,500 for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Bills quarterback Todd Collins that resulted in a roughing-the-passer penalty in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game.
The hit came after Collins' 14-yard screen pass to running back Antowain Smith and drew a 5-yard penalty that was tacked onto the gain. Two plays later, Collins fired a 4-yard scoring pass to Quinn Early.
A league spokesman said Thursday that the NFL had no plans to fine Bills linebacker Bryce Paup for his fourth-quarter hit on QB Jim Harbaugh that drew a 15-yard roughing-the-passer penalty.
The Bills had the last of their two bye-week practices Thursday. They are now off until Monday.