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.”