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Gailey rips fans

PITTSFORD -- Moments after the Bills' final practice at training camp, head coach Chan Gailey walked over towards the stands and chewed out a group of teenaged fans that were heckling some of the players, most notably quarterback Trent Edwards.

After telling the fans the players wouldn't be signing their autographs, he offered this parting shot:

"You dog one of us, you dog all of us!"

Gailey also told the fans, who stood in stunned silence, the players would not be coming to sign autographs for them.

”They said some things during practice that were derogatory to a couple of our players,'' Gailey explained to the media a few minutes later. "And if you say something derogatory to one of us you say it to all of us, so I told [the players] not to sign for that group.''
 
Perhaps Gailey would have been wise to rise above the taunts, but he defended his position.

"In my opinion, if you do something you tell people why,'' he said. "When we make a decision with our football team, I tell them why. I told [the players] why we weren't going to [sign autographs] and I told [the group of fans] why we weren't coming over there.”

Gailey did show appreciation for the support of most fans who attended camp the past 2 1/2 weeks.

“That’s what this game is about, for the fans,” he said. “We’re trying to play the game so that we get people excited and enthusiastic about pulling for their team. And their team is the Buffalo Bills so that’s what it’s about. That’s a big part of what we’re trying to get done, being successful for the fans.”

Whether or not you agree with Gailey's actions, his players appreciated that he had their back.

“That’s nice when you have a coach that’ll fight for you,'' Edwards said.
 
Outside linebacker Aaron Maybin added: "When you have a coach like that, as a team you kind of have that support behind you, it really makes you want to go out and give your all for a guy like that.''

As for the heckling directed at him, Edwards took it in stride.

"Obviously I’m going to get some criticism. Hopefully there are more people praising me. We obviously have fans that want to win and I definitely want to win. And they’re more than willing to say what they want to say, when they need to say it.

“I’m a fan of the L.A. Dodgers and they’re not playing very good baseball right now. I could probably go off on a couple of their players. I probably wouldn’t to their face, and if I did I would expect [manager] Joe Torre to come after me and say something to me. So that’s nice that I have a head coach that’ll do that, but they’re more than welcome to say whatever they want.”

---Allen Wilson 

Tight end help arrives

PITTSFORD -- The happiest player at Bills camp is Jonathan Stupar because he is no longer the last man standing at tight end.

The Bills have given Stupar some much-needed help the past two days, signing J.P. Foschi on Monday and adding rookie free agent Andrew George today. Both bring some good receiving ability.

The 6-foot-4, 265-pound Foschi has played for three other teams. His last stop was Cincinnati, where he caught a career-high 27 passes for 260 yards and two touchdowns last season. He's also known as a sturdy run blocker.

George (6-4, 251 pounds) was a second-team All-Mountain West Conference selection as a senior at Brigham Young despite playing behind Dennis Pitta, a fourth-round draft pick of the Baltimore Ravens. George caught 70 passes for 827 yards and 11 touchdowns in 38 career games. He signed with the Carolina Panthers after the draft, but was released in June.

The Bills' tight end numbers reached a dangerous low with all the injuries. Shawn Nelson is out indefinitely with a pulled leg muscle and Derek Schouman is sidelined three to six weeks with a knee injury. Michael Matthews was placed on the waived/injured list Monday, one day after going down in practice with an ankle or foot injury. Head coach Chan Gailey said Matthews' injury was severe enough that the team couldn't keep him on the roster because he is looking at a long recovery period.

Foschi and George certainly picked the right team to land with because they both have a great chance to make the final roster. Nelson is facing a four-game suspension to start the season and Schouman might end up on injured reserve or released. So as long as Foschi and George can stay upright, they're both likely to stick around this fall.

---Allen Wilson

Another tight end goes down

PITTSFORD -- Jonathan Stupar is the last tight end standing after Michael Matthews turned his left ankle early in practice Sunday night. Matthews had the ankle retaped, but was unable to put much weight on him.

The Bills were already down two tight ends with Derek Schouman sidelined three to six weeks with a knee injury. Shawn Nelson is expected back soon from a leg injury, but he'll be gone for the first four weeks of the season due to his NFL suspension.

The Bills are expected to sign at least one tight end this week before they play Cincinnati on Saturday.

---Allen Wilson

Easley, Batten on IR

PITTSFORD -- Wide receiver Marcus Easley and linebacker Danny Batten won't be helping the Bills this season. Both rookies were placed on the injured reserve list on Sunday.

Easley just had surgery on his damaged knee. Batten has been out with a shoulder injury. Both were hurt very early in training camp, so neither were able to show what they could do. Easley's injury opened the door for fellow rookie wideout David Nelson to impress enough to probably make the team.

Head coach Chan Gailey said putting the players on I.R. was necessary since both would miss a significant portion of the season recovering.

---Allen Wilson

Twitter trash talk

PITTSFORD -- Bills cornerback Drayton Florence and safety Donte Whitner are already gearing up for Saturday's anticipated preseason matchup with Cincinnati by sending tweets to Bengals receivers Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco.

Florence tweeted Saturday: Batman and Robin are comin 2 the Ralph. So call me "Mr. Freeze" this week. I wanna hear ya on 3rd down @ the ralph.

In case you didn't know, Owens and Ochocinco have dubbed themselves as Batman and Robin, respectively. And for those of you who aren't comic book or Batman movie buffs, Mr. Freeze was one of the super heros' biggest villains.

Whitner got into the act on Sunday with a direct message to Owens and Ochcinco: Hey @terrellowens and @OGOchoCinco did u guys watch our Indy Film yet? Hope so, have a great day guys.

Obviously what Florence and Whitner wrote was all in fun. They both have great respect for Owens, their teammate last year, and Ochocinco. But add some flavor to the game, especially since both teams' starters are likely to see their most action of the preseason on Saturday.

Can't wait to see if Cincy's Dynamic Duo will have a response.

---Allen Wilson

Indoor practice

PITTSFORD -- A steady rain forced the Bills to practice in the basketball gym inside the training facility at St. John Fisher this morning.

With practice going about half speed, the Bills focused on the running game, red-zone work and special teams. Brian Brohm took second-team snaps at quarterback, followed by Ryan Fitzpatrick.

The Bills have not signed another tight end to replace the injured Derek Schouman and Shawn Nelson. For now, Jonathan Stupar and Michael Matthews are the only healthy tight ends on the roster. The coaches had fullbacks Corey McIntyre and Rodney Ferguson working with the tight ends on some blocking drills.

It will be interesting to see if the fullbacks assume roles as extra tight ends in blocking situations, especially if no tight end is signed by the next preseason game on Saturday.

Not participating in the morning practice were Fred Jackson, Marshawn Lynch, Kawika Mitchell, Eric Wood, Demetrius Bell, James Hardy, Shawn Nelson, Kyle Williams and Marcus Stoud. Absent from the session were Jairus Byrd, Reggie Torbor, Derek Schouman and Marcus Easley.

Weather permitting, the Bills are expected to be back outside for ttonight's practice.

---Allen Wilson

David Nelson returns

PITTSFORD -- After missing several days with a lower right leg injury, rookie receiver David Nelson returned to practice Sunday. He didn't appear to be limited in any way, so it looks like he'll play against Cincinnati on Saturday if there aren't any setbacks.

---Allen Wilson

Saturday practice update

The Bills worked in shell-pads before a crowd of about 500 Saturday at St. John Fisher College.

Ryan Fitzpatrick took the snaps as the No. 2 QB and Brian Brohm was No. 3. Coach Chan Gailey said they would continue to alternate as No. 2 and it would be evaluated on a day-by-day basis. Both Trent Edwards and Fitzpatrick started out pretty sharp in 7 on 7 work. Edwards hit Lee Evans in stride on a nice long bomb. Receiver Chad Johnson continues to make lots of catches. He had a fine grab on a deep post from Fitzpatrick for a would-be touchdown. Cornerback Reggie Corner had two pass breakups and should have picked off at least one of them. Donte Whitner had an interception on a deep ball from Edwards that was kind of a throwaway. The practice was at about 85 percent speed at various points.

Gailey on Brohm's showing Thursday after watching the video: "He did a good job. He did nothing that would make you think that he couldn’t do the job down the line. I was impressed with how he handled himself in the ballgame. He made some good decisions and good throws."

---Mark Gaughan

Torbor out, Ellis in

Bills starting outside linebacker Reggie Torbor is out for about three weeks due to an injury suffered in Thursday's game in Toronto. Coach Chan Gailey did not disclose what part of the body is hurt.

Said Gailey: "Torbor’s out for awhile. I don’t know what the prognosis is exactly. They’re doing more tests. But I know he’s out for three weeks probably. He got hurt in the game."

That probably puts Torbor out for the season opener against Miami, which is 21 days away. Chris Ellis took Torbor's spot with the starters in Saturday's practice. Torbor has been playing on all first downs and "normal" down and distance situations. When the Bills go to an extra defensive back, then Aaron Maybin comes on the field.

Meanwhile, Gailey indicated the Bills probably would add another tight end to the roster. Derek Schouman is out three to six weeks with a knee injury suffered in Thursday's game. Schouman missed most of spring practice due to injury.

Said Gailey: "Schouman is gonna be out for awhile. I don’t know how long, but he’s going to be out awhile. That guy can’t get a break. He just can’t stay on the field. He’s not getting enough reps. He’s got a lot of making up to do when he gets back but it’s going to be anywhere from three to six (weeks)."

Elsewhere on the injury front, rookie receiver Marcus Easley had surgery, believed to be on his knee, and he's out "awhile," according to Gailey.

On the positive side, running back Marshawn Lynch (ankle) and receiver David Nelson (ankle) both were running pretty well on the side during practice. Gailey said both of them, as well as receiver James Hardy, who has been out 10 days, should be back soon, maybe in time for the next game, Saturday against Cincinnati.

---Mark Gaughan

Nelson on his suspension

Here's a statement Bills tight end Shawn Nelson made to a group of media after practice today at St. John Fisher College. Nelson is out the first four games of the regular season due to a suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.

Said Nelson: "On behalf of my team, my family, my church family, the great city of Buffalo and my fans I want to say I apologize. It’s not nothing bad, nothing illegal that happened. There’s rumors that it was dealing with some different type of things that myself was not involved in. I’m not that guy. I’m a guy of character, a guy who works hard. I’ll be suspended the first four games of the season. I’ll be back on Oct. 4. I’m excited about getting back with my team and working out with my team. I spoke with some of my teammates earlier today and told them what was really going on. I spoke to my coaches and my GM. We’re all on the same page. We have the same plan down. I’ll be working out with Tom Shaw in Orlando getting ready for the rest of the season. If you want to know about my playing time when I get back, you’ll have to talk to Chan Gailey about that."

Shaw is a former strength coach of the New England Patriots who runs a speed and performance training center for top athletes in Orlando. That's where Nelson will go on Sept. 4. He's not allowed to train with the Bills from then until Oct. 4.

Here's what Chan Gailey said: "I always hate it when that kind of situation happens. You hate it for your football team and you hate it for the individual involved. As part of our process today you have to go by the rules and you pay for it when you don’t."

Nelson did not play in Thursday's game in Toronto and did not practice Saturday. But Gailey said the reason was Nelson had a minor muscle pull in practice last week. Gailey said Nelson would be back on the field when he's healthy, which should be soon.

It's uncertain what Nelson meant by saying nothing illegal happened, which could be the case. He did not take any questions. The NFL substance abuse policy prohibits the illegal use of drugs and the abuse of prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, and alcohol. Players are tested only for cocaine, marijuana, amphetamine and its analogs, opiates (such as morphine and codeine), phencyclidine (PCP); and methylenedioxymethamphetamine (“MDMA”) and its analogues until they test positive. Then they are subject to wider screening.

---Mark Gaughan

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