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Letters / Our readers speak out

Incident becomes black eye for area

This incident is one of the most embarrassing to imagine. Where have we gone?

This is all about a football game, not an international crisis, not a family tragedy. I have been proud of my city, even when deluged with the jokes about the winters, etc. I always was able to counter by telling the jokesters about the great people who live in Buffalo, that those who come here seldom want to leave. The people, that's what makes Buffalo great. I'm not so sure anymore.

I share in the disappointment and understand the frustration of losing again to the Patriots. But that must be where it ends. Mr. McKelvin might be sorry he was ever drafted by the Bills after such a hateful incident. I extend an apology to him on behalf of all the citizens of our city.

Rick Azar

Williamsville

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Remember, kids, it's just a game

I find it absolutely deplorable that someone would vandalize another person's property over a game.

I would have liked to have seen those responsible for vandalizing Leodis McKelvin's home to be prosecuted for trespass and vandalism, even though reportedly they won't be treated in that way.

James Trzaska

West Seneca

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Vandals went way too far this time

I am writing to express my disgust and embarrassment over the recent vandalism at the McKelvin residence because of the Bills' loss.

Like many other Bills fans I'm sure, I was angry and upset over the loss and the way the game unfolded at the end. But we need to remember that it is a game, and that regardless of the outcome and any contributing factors, and there were more than a fumbled return, that trespassing on personal property and vandalizing a person's, not just a player's, home is criminal and wrong.

I hope that I speak for many fans in saying that it's OK to be upset over a loss, but we can't cross a line and we don't need to give the national media another reason to bash Buffalo.

Edward Kent

West Seneca

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Returning the kick wasn't the problem

Yes, as everyone else in Bills nation I wish Leodis McKelvin had folded up and protected the ball when he took the hit at the 31. However, I don't buy the notion that he should have taken a knee in the end zone.

I believe there was 2:06 left at the kickoff and New England had three timeouts left. If he takes a knee the Bills have to run a play before the two minute warning from the 20. Now, we'd all like to believe that Fred Jackson gains at least 10 yards on three carries and we all live happily ever after. However, I think it's just as likely that he fails to do so while New England burns two timeouts. Taking an optimistic view, the Bills net 45 yards on the ensuing punt. That gives New England the ball outside their 25 with at least 90 seconds left and a timeout.

Do the Bills keep them out of the end zone? Maybe. The point is McKelvin is an exciting return man with the potential to take it the whole way. I thought Bills fans were tired of safe, conservative? I don't know that "safe" wins this game. I believe bringing the ball out was the correct choice. I don't want him back there second guessing himself every time he touches the ball.

George Petrella

Brocton

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Bills suffered from bad coaching

The blame should not fall to McKelvin for the loss. With two minutes to play, Brady was getting hotter with each play.

Imagine Belichick saying to his special teams, "I don't care if you have to kill him, get the ball back." Jauron should have ordered the return man, "If the ball gets to the end zone, take a knee." Once again Buffalo has been outcoached.

McKelvin is an athlete with confidence and an ego; he must be told by the coach how to handle situations like he faced Monday night.

Frank A. Gugino Sr.

West Seneca

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McKelvin's return was wrong decision

I read with interest what Leodis McKelvin said after the New England game, that he would run the kickoff out of the end zone again. It sounds to me, from what he was quoted as saying in The News that he is more interested in his career than winning a football game.

Is he a team player or just another individual interested in his stats? The game was won already; all that was needed was to take a knee in the end zone and let the offense kill the clock.

By the way what was done to his lawn was unconscionable.

Richard Klisiewicz

Orchard Park

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Lack of coaching represented by play

Welcome to yet another chapter of why Dick Jauron can never be more than a mediocre coach of a mediocre team. We once had a Hall of Fame coach who reminded his players, "Don't be dumb". Putting the ball on the ground in a situation that allows us to potentially close out a win is very dumb.

Then to hear Jauron after the game basically state, "I have no problem with McKelvin, he is a good guy and was trying hard," -- it is totally unacceptable. This is the exact reason Jauron can't win. Yes McKelvin may be a guy who tries hard, the difference is Hall of Fame coaches do not accept mental errors or dumb plays.

Winning teams understand when to go for the big play or when being conservative is more prudent and can possibly seal a win. Moral victories are for guys like Jauron. Real coaches expect and demand the most from highly paid professionals.

Brian Galuszka

Depew

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How did Buffalo let LeBeau get away?

What were the Bills thinking when they let Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau get away?

He is the genius behind the best defense in the NFL in the Pittsburgh Steelers. That is why Pittsburgh has won two Super Bowls in the last four seasons and Buffalo is still struggling to make the playoffs.

John Jendrysek

Orchard Park

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Let the people purchase Bills

The News, quoting Forbes.com, recently reported the value of the Bills at $909 million. If the Bills' owner, Ralph Wilson, were to die, the franchise would need to be sold to pass some of that money on to his heirs. It's highly likely that the new owners would relocate the team to another city. We already have one "home" game being played in Toronto. So what do we do?

How about getting our act together and buying the team? The other NFL owners wouldn't be happy about it; but they have survived, even thrived with Green Bay as a publicly held team. The government could pressure this federally approved monopoly to bend its rules, which currently forbid any more publicly owned teams.

In return we could lower the asking price by forgiving the hefty inheritance taxes that the heirs would otherwise pay.

If the team were 51 percent held publicly the other 49 percent could be sold to the group of investors that has shown interest. Crunch the numbers, they are not that daunting.

Perhaps we could get our own "Cash for Clunkers" program from the federal government to help with the purchase. Rather than Erie County subsidizing the Bills to the tune of millions per year we could actually cash in on the NFL's profits. So let's get a referendum on the November ballot to see whether the majority of the county taxpayers would be in favor of a buyout.

If it passes, get the parties together and work out a deal.

Jim Rudnicki

Lakeview

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History foretells a losing campaign

Can the Bills break their streak of missing the postseason? That scenario seems highly unlikely if Dick Jauron remains the head coach.

Jauron's head coaching career record is bad enough (57 wins, 76 losses, .429 winning percentage). However, his record is even more dismal versus divisional opponents (23 wins, 33 losses, .410 percent). A measurement of success as a head coach is his record versus the opponents that they know the best, their divisional rivals. Yet Jauron in his nine years as head coach has had two winning seasons against divisional opponents. Also, Jauron has led his teams to the postseason just once. Despite going winless in the division last season and finishing 3-9 after the 4-0 start Jauron remains our coach.

If history is any indication of what Bills fans can expect this season, a poor record against divisional opponents, a losing record and missing the playoffs once again seem highly likely.

Larry Pawlik

Buffalo

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Marketers can't make football decisions

I am not a football genius, but neither is anyone in the Buffalo Bills organization.

It is apparent that the current incarnation of the Bills is driven by marketing, and by that measure, they are a phenomenal success. The signing of Terrell Owens was a brilliant marketing move. Unfortunately, Owens -- like any other receiver -- can not catch a pass from any quarterback who is on his back with a 300-pound behemoth on top of him.

All-Pro left tackles do not grow on trees. Therefore, if you are fortunate enough to have one, pay him his market value. The Philadelphia Eagles were certainly happy to pay Jason Peters $60 million for six years.

It's great to have a master marketer like Russ Brandon in your organization. Football is a business. But football is still a sport. The businessmen who run the team should feel an obligation to put the best players on the field. Once again, they have failed miserably.

Craig Gerard

Buffalo

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Yankees' Jeter truly a class act

As a sports fan since 1968, it has been a pleasure, especially as a Yankees fan, to witness perhaps the most classy, dignified and well-spoken athlete in history in shortstop Derek Jeter.

Since 1996, Jeter has just about seen and won every award imaginable . . . All-Star MVP, Rookie of the Year, World Series MVP. Many consider him the 2009 AL MVP, something that wrongly eluded him in 1999 and 2006. Toss in playoff appearances every year but 2008, and four World Series rings to possibly cap off a brilliant career. He recently passed Lou Gehrig as the all-time Yankees hit leader.

Teammates, foes, and ex-manager Joe Torre rave about the way he always carried himself on and off the field. He is always gracious in defeat and shows respect to all involved in this great game. Nothing should startle us anymore when big names are revealed about steroid and HGH usage, but one name that I am confident will never appear on the list is Jeter.

Jeter, not only a great clutch hitter, sure Hall of Famer and a player who even the most hard-core Yankees haters can honestly admit they had admired for his skill and personality, and could only dream of having a life of such success and humbleness to match.

Joseph V. Zanghi

Buffalo

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Peca could fill third-line center spot

I am looking forward to a successful 2009-10 Sabres season and applaud management's approach of not blowing things up or breaking the bank with foolish signings. Montador, Grier and DiPenta will provide grit and experience.

What remains an issue, however, is the third-line center spot. Presumably, Hecht is penciled in to play between Gerbe and Paille, but he is a natural left winger and is coming off an awful season.

Three centers, who have good NHL experience, could have been brought in at a reasonable price. Most appealing, because of his age (28), was Mike Comrie, but he recently signed with Edmonton. Robert Lang is a proven scorer, but he is coming off an Achilles injury, and at 38 might be a risk.

The most intriguing is ex-captain Mike Peca. It would be a lot for management to put the bad blood behind them, but he could help the team.

Adding a legitimate third-line center may just be the difference between a good year and a great one.

Marc L. Rummenie

East Aurora

Send comments to Sports Talk, The Buffalo News, One News Plaza, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, NY 14240. Letters may also be sent via fax to 849-4587 or e-mail to sports@buffnews.com. Letters should be limited to 250 words and are subject to editing. They should include the writer's name, hometown and a phone number for verification.

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