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Letters / Our readers speak out

Former WNY resident big fan of Felser

I currently live in Charlotte, but I grew up in Western New York and have been reading Larry Felser's writing all my life (I am 50 years old). Literally. I have vivid memories of reading his Saturday NFL predictions and the little blurb you would write about the upcoming game. They were priceless. I grew up in Kenmore as the biggest Joe Namath fan in that part of the state. I wore a New York Jets jacket in the winter (not an easy thing in Buffalo), and a No. 12 12 shirt whenever my mother would let me.

His memories of the AFL are priceless to me. I grew up in an AFL house -- we watched the Bills, Jets and Patriots in the early afternoon, and the Chargers, Chiefs and Raiders later in the day. My father, rest his soul, was an AFL man his whole life, and my love of the game comes from him. Living in Charlotte, I seem to be around a bunch of Steeler fans. They have no idea what I am talking about when I say "AFL."

I think I was the first person to buy his book "The Birth of the New NFL." It sits in front of me as I write this. I think you have more memories to share -- please write another book about the AFL, before it is all forgotten.

Bless you in retirement. Thank you for the memories.

David M. Glowish

Waxhaw, N.C.

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Columns sparked reading interest

I have been reading Larry Felser's columns since I was a boy. I can still remember one day when I was talking to my Mom and I mentioned something that he had written about in the paper. I told her that I enjoyed reading the columns. Mom listened and then said that she was glad that I was beginning to enjoy reading. I don't recall that I was much interested in reading as a youngster and reading Larry's columns in the newspaper were probably the first regular, non-required reading I ever did. So, Mom was happy to have me reading anything, even if she didn't care too much about sports. In 1986 I graduated high school and headed out of town to college.

Of course, once I left town, Marv Levy and Jim Kelly came to town and the Bills finally got good and the columns kept coming. Except, I was going to college in Grove City, Pa., with a bunch of Steelers fans. This was before the days of the Internet, so I would wait expectantly each week for a little care package from Mom. Freshman year was tough, trudging my way through Dante's Inferno. So it was wonderful when that letter containing clippings from The Buffalo News came, especially if it was after a victory.

I still check out The Buffalo News almost every day online. These days, when I observe something in sports, especially Buffalo sports, I sometimes think to myself, "I wonder what Jerry Sullivan will say about this!"

I wouldn't be reading Jerry Sullivan if it weren't for Larry. Thanks for your diligent work and for helping a kid to learn to like reading.

Dan Segool

Youngstown, Ohio

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Plenty of Bills should be in Hall

Andre Reed is certainly deserving of enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and thanks to Jerry Sullivan for the story which argued for Reed's rightful place in Canton, while hinting at flaws in how the Hall names its inductees.

Coincidentally, Sullivan's column appeared the same day the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Digital Media Director posted a blog entry on the Hall's website saying that its "selection process is one of the best, if not the best, among sports halls of fame."

Yet Reed's absence from Canton, and that of many others, shows that the process needs to be revised. In fact, observers don't have to look much further than Buffalo Bills' history to realize the need for change. In addition to Reed's candidacy, I could make a good case for Jack Kemp, Cookie Gilchrist, George Saimes and Tom Sestak.

And my argument is not based on a sentimental attachment to the Bills. Those men whose careers were made in the American Football League represent perhaps the largest group of overlooked candidates. Only two of the 18 players named to positions on the defensive line, defensive backfield or as running backs on the AFL's all-time team are in Canton. Those omissions are not only unfair but a clear indication that the selection process should be modified.

Bert Gambini

Buffalo

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Sometimes it's good not to watch

Bills and Sabres fans this year were spared many a disappointment due to blackouts for non-sold out home games (Bills) and cable squabbles (Sabres) for most of the season and I just want to thank the powers-that-be for this fortunate act of kindness on their part.

Perhaps next year, when our heroes know how to field a real team, will we all be able to tune in and observe something extraordinary.

I made the decision to forfeit my longtime season tickets to Bills games this year, and at first I thought it was a mistake. but alas, the Bills came through and self-destructed, thereby saving me angst for not seeing them live. The Sabres are now fighting for a very early pick in the NHL Entry Draft in June. Go Sabres! (Are you going to blow this too?)

Jim Antes

Williamsville

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Time for Sabres to try new face

In the 2-1 loss to Tampa last week and with a healthy lineup, both the coach and the players admitted to playing hard for only 20 minutes.

Let's see. Fifty-five games into the season, eight points out of a playoff spot and they're still playing only 20 minutes a game? With everything that's on the line? Please.

This isn't about coaching how?

A month or two back, Mr. Black stated that they needed time to evaluate it all. Well, 55 games in and last in the division is enough..

This team is begging for a new coach.

Paul Harding

Amherst

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Rib injury had extra benefit

Not to be negative about Lindy Ruff's rib injury but he should stay in the press box. A new face behind the bench is exactly what the Sabres needed. A coaching change is what the Sabres needed to spark the team. Ruff's coaching style is getting old and stale and this move should be permanent. Nothing against Ruff, but the Sabres need a spark and this is a step in the right direction.

John Jendrysek

Orchard Park

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UB should add pair of sports

I've always wondered on these cold nights if, somewhere at UB, someone is feeding boxes of The Corrigan Report into a fireplace to keep warm. You remember The Corrigan Report -- the big study on Division I sports at UB which was buried the next week after it came out.

It suggested that UB should consider hockey and lacrosse.

Maybe it's time to revisit that recommendation. Hockey and lacrosse are a natural for this area and would be instant hits. The area is rich with talent and Division I opponents. Baseball is my favorite sport, but when is the last time any team from the Mid-American Conference went to the College World Series? You could ask the 20 people who attend UB baseball games if you need help with that answer. I remember when UB and UConn started their Division I football programs and many remarked that it would be an interesting contest to watch since they both started at the same time. Looks like Warde Manuel (Mr. Teflon) saw the writing on the wall and voted with his feet.

Phil Parshall

Amherst

Send comments to Sports Talk, The Buffalo News, One News Plaza, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y., 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. Include name, hometown and a phone number for verification.