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Jerry Sullivan

Jerry Sullivan spent 16 years as The Buffalo News' lead columnist on the Bills. He loves the NBA, Strat-o-Matic baseball, Tom Waits and reading novels, along with the usual periodicals.


High Schools

Two weeks ago, at the 51st Loucks Invitational meet in White Plains, Ian Russ of East Aurora High School finished seventh in a spirited 3,200-kilometer race. When the grueling competition was finished, several of Russ' weary young rivals came up and thanked him for setting a swift pace. All six of the boys who crossed ahead of him broke the coveted nine-minute mark and …

Bisons and Baseball

There's bad news and good for area baseball fans who plan to head up the QEW next week to see Angels rookie sensation Shohei Ohtani play in Toronto for the first time. The bummer is that Ohtani isn't scheduled to pitch against the Blue Jays in the three-game series that starts on Tuesday at Rogers Centre. The happy consolation is knowing that Ohtani will likely be LA's …

Sports

Vegas is one win from the Stanley Cup final after Friday night's 3-2 win over Winnipeg. The closer they get to the Cup, the more whining I hear from Sabres fans who can't bear the idea of an expansion team winning a title that's eluded Buffalo for half a century. So what. Would it be so awful for a new franchise to win it all? Does it hurt to find out that intelligence,…

Bills

Last month, I spent a week in Las Vegas to visit my daughter. On Saturday, I found my way to the sports book in the Luxor and bet on two baseball games. I won both. On Sunday, I bet another and won that, too. Each bet was $20, a modest sum to pay for the thrill of waiting for the games to come in. This is easy, I thought. I could do this for a living. Then I came to my …

Bills

During my 30 years in Buffalo, I've been lucky to cover a lot of memorable people and events. But I often regret not being here sooner. I never got to watch O.J. Simpson run in the Rockpile, or Bob McAdoo and Gil Perreault dazzle fans in the old Aud. I never met former Bills coach Chuck Knox, or saw his Bills teams play in person. The late Larry Felser always had good t…

Bills

The Bills held their first rookie minicamp practice Friday. It was not exactly newsworthy stuff. The two images that will stick with me came at the very end. The first was seeing all these young undrafted guys, most of whom will never play a down in an NFL game, happily posing for the group photo. They'll treasure that moment the rest of their lives, as lasting evidence…

Bills

I must say, I'm touched. The Mailbag took a three-week hiatus and people actually missed it. There was a pile of mail waiting, on all manner of subjects. And no one told me to retire or move back to New England (where I spent last week). It's hard to get to everyone's questions. I still have some good ones sitting in the file from last fall. So in an attempt to be more …

Colleges

Five years ago, when Nate Oats arrived as the top assistant at UB, he hardly knew what to tell recruits. He had barely gotten to know the town himself. "Listen, when I got here I couldn't sell Buffalo," Oats said Wednesday. "I had to sell Bobby Hurley. Buffalo had literally no brand name, no national identity. I'd go back to Detroit, which is only four hours away. Kids …

Sports

LeBron James is four wins away from reaching the NBA Finals for the eighth year in a row. He also might be four losses from the end of his time in Cleveland. James has the right to opt out of his contract and be a free agent this summer. So Knicks center Enes Kanter made an early plug for James on Monday. He revisited a comment that LeBron posted after a win at Madison …

Bisons and Baseball

Devon Travis says he's never been one for statistics. Oh, he understands that stats are an essential and inescapable part of the baseball ethos. But he also knows that obsessing about the numbers can drive a player to distraction. "Let's not be foolish about it," Travis said Sunday morning before the Bisons' 6-1 win over Syracuse at Coca-Cola Field. "If you look up at t…

Latest Sabres

You have to hand it to the Sabres. No sports franchise has such an infinite gift for failing miserably and having it come off as a grand strategy. Three years after the tank, which was going to turn Buffalo back into Hockey Heaven, they finished dead last in the NHL, a staggering 34 points out of a playoff spot. But last week, the Sabres finally won the draft lottery, w…

Bills

Four years ago, after his foolhardy reach for Sammy Watkins in the draft, Doug Whaley admitted it was an attempt to "win now." Tom Donahoe used to call the NFL a "win-now league" during his failed five-year run as Bills general manager. But it doesn't always apply. "Win now" can be a cover for desperation, for a GM's need to impress ownership and appease the masses. Des…

Bills

Josh Allen was seven months old when Jim Kelly played his final game for the Bills on Dec. 28, 1996. Kelly was carted off the field with a concussion late in a loss to the Jacksonville, which was also the last time the Bills hosted an NFL playoff game. That tells you how long it has been since they had a true franchise quarterback, and how much was at stake Thursday whe…

Bills

Well, I would have preferred Josh Rosen. He was the best pure passer in the draft, and a bright, outspoken guy who would have been a joy to cover on a regular basis. So for personal and football reasons, he seemed like the best choice. But the Bills' brass had other ideas on Thursday night. For the first time in franchise history, they drafted a quarterback in the top 1…

Bills

After months of speculation and mountains of pre-draft analysis, there was one simple fact that hadn't occurred to me I looked it up minutes before the NFL draft on Thursday night: The Bills were the only team that hadn't taken a quarterback as high as 13th overall since the merger in 1970. So even if they stayed pat and took a QB with the 12th overall pick, it would ha…