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CONSPIRACY THEORY

It's all a master plan.

Of course, the Bills will stay with and stand behind Rob "The Statue" Johnson. Flutie is a very good quarterback . . . but the Bills' brass doesn't want to admit their 1997 mistake of signing Johnson for $25 million, signing Flutie for chump change and then having Flutie show up Johnson. While Flutie did not look that impressive against Washington, he has one key intangible: leadership and respect of a team. He leads them to victory.

I really tend to think that by releasing all of the best veteran players the Bills' hierarchy wants to generate an excuse.

The team does poorly, the fans stop showing up at Rich Stadium and . . . voila! There's their excuse: "Well, based on poor attendance, we feel that there's no choice but to move the Bills to (insert city name here)." There is no huge profit to be made by the Bills in the Western New York market. Can they survive and make a tidy sum after expenses in Buffalo? Of course! But I think they're looking at the brand-spanking-new stadium in (insert city name here . . . probably Toronto) and the big bucks!

Give it two years, when the "ironclad" lease between the Bills and Erie County goes into the five-year escape clause.

ERNIE SARACKI
Vancouver, Wash.

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