When defensive tackle Sam Adams issued a personal manifesto at midweek, after throwing a 400-pound tantrum in the middle of the Bills' first victory last Sunday, it amounted to a promise that he would play when directed, keep his mouth shut and adhere to his contract, which has plenty of time to run.
It reminded me of my beginning education in the game as taught by Buster Ramsey, the Bills' first head coach, in his version of Pro Football 101.
Three of the first rules from Professor Ramsey were:
1. Never lock a rented car.
2. The coach always carries a jar of Tennessee moonshine on the road.
3. Few players are indispensable. As Buster put it, "If we lost with him, we can lose without him."
That last should not be lost on Adams as it was on wide receiver Bobby Shaw, who migrated from Buffalo to San Diego in the last two weeks.
The question that came to mind when big Sam refused to leave the field when ordered to last week was: "Who is the Bills' defensive coordinator -- Jerry Gray or Sam Adams?"
The answer, unless you're an unreconstructed anarchist, is: coaches coach, players play. That was underlined by Gray's contract extension, announced by the team Thursday.
In Adams' case, the Bills won without him in the second half of the Dolphins' game. While he was carrying on like Rumpelstiltskin on the bench, Ron Edwards was in the game, playing out of his skull. Edwards had two sacks and was a general disrupter.
Apparently all's well that ends well in Adams' case. The Bills' veteran leadership talked some collective sense to him, he thought about it and issued his manifesto. He's still a Bill.
Meanwhile, Shaw is a San Diego Charger.
Why did the Bills drop him in the first place? Well, they have kids on this team they want to play at wide receiver. Josh Reed and Sam Aiken are 24. Shaw is 29. This was his fourth stop in the NFL. He's a journeyman, nothing more, nothing less.
In Shaw's three years in Pittsburgh, the offensive coordinator for the Steelers was Mike Mularkey, the Bills' present head coach. Shaw had some decent years in Pittsburgh, but Mularkey couldn't have been enamored with him since he, in effect, let him go.
It's said Shaw was very popular with the Bills players. Good. Maybe he can be elected president of the student body in San Diego.
In Buffalo it got down to "We lost with you, we can lose without you."
That's how it goes when a new head coach comes aboard. Mularkey didn't get out the broom as Gregg Williams did, but his unwritten rule is that you play football his way. Apparently Shaw didn't but Adams agreed to it.
This week Phil Jackson's book about his reasons for quitting as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers was excerpted in Sports Illustrated. It turns out Jackson couldn't accept the way the team's young star, Kobe Bryant, would agree to one thing to Jackson's face and then did exactly as he himself desired.
The inmates run the asylum in the NBA. In pro football, anarchy hasn't taken over yet.
(Larry Felser, former News columnist, appears in Sunday's editions.)