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Report: Manning had a fourth surgery

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---A day after Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay made it clear that the decision whether to play for the team rests with Peyton Manning, pictured above, and his willingness to take a pay cut, Sports Illustrated reports new details about the quarterback’s physical condition. According to SI, Manning underwent four, not three, neck procedures over a 19-month span, has bone spurs just above the spot of fusion surgery in September, and may require further fusion.

---Here's John McClain's take on Mario Williams, who McClain says several teams may be in a position to offer the free agent defensive end $50 million as a signing bonus. Think Ralph Wilson would really like to hand over that kind of cash?

---Detroit is on the rise and Lions president Tom Lewand says his team will be smart with its money this off-season.

--- Sporting News ranks its top 50 draft prospects. Penn State DT Devon Still ranks No. 10.

---Retired NFL players are still hoping for improved benefits. Bills Hall of Fame guard Joe DeLamielleure told the AP that "I'm going to fight `em to the end."

---Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times reports preliminary contract talks between the Baltimore Ravens and quarterback Joe Flacco are expected to launch next week at the NFL scouting combine, according to Flacco's agent, Joe Linta.

---Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow has been in Los Angeles working on his throwing mechanics with new UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone according to Peter Yoon of ESPNLosAngeles.com.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Brees is no Flutie

 

---Drew Brees said in a sideline interview of Sunday's Pro Bowl that when he and Doug Flutie had been teammates in San Diego Flutie, a master of the drop kick, had taught him how to do it.

So with Flutie in the broadcast booth, Brees decided it was the perfect moment to emulate him, but the kick for an extra point was too low. Brees told Flutie that his drop was too far forward and that he couldn’t get the necessary lift.

Back in 2006 with New England Flutie, the former Bills QB, converted the NFL’s first successful drop kick since 1941, making an extra point in the fourth quarter.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Whitner: Gailey routinely assigned blame

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---Former Bills safety Donte Whitner voiced his displeasure once again with his former team and coach Chan Gailey.

Whitner, pictured above, said playing for San Francisco's Jim Harbaugh is a welcome change after playing for Gailey last year. Gailey, he said, routinely assigned blame to the Bills during their 4-12 season.

Jets coach Rex Ryan, Whitner said, "will never throw his players under the bus, and he puts all the pressure on himself. Coach Harbaugh does the same thing."

"A lot of coaches, when they don't want the pressure on them, don't want the hands pointed at them or the media to turn on them, they put things out to the media that really shouldn't be out there. 'Oh, this guy should have made this play or he should have done this.' That stuff never works, and players really understand that and locker rooms understand that."

Back in November, Whitner said in an interview with Pro Football Talk that the Bills didn't show they wanted to win. Whitner played from 2006-10 with the Bills, who made him a first-round pick in the '06 draft.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Broncos-Bills injury report

---Bills tight end Scott Chandler was limited once again in practice today, but said he hopes to play on Saturday when the Bills host Denver.

“I’m dying to get out there, so hopefully I’ll get out there this week and get some playing time,’’ Chandler said. “It’s feeling better everyday, I think I’ll be out there and be fine.’’

Chandler has missed the last two games with a sprained ankle and if he isn’t available the only options are Mike Caussin and two newly acquired players, Fendi Onobun and Kevin Brock.

Wide receiver Stevie Johnson (groin) was limited in practice but should be fine for Saturday’s game, but rookie running back Johnny White (concussion) did not participate in practice and wide receiver Ruvell Martin (hamstring) also sat out. Martin was limited in practice on Wednesday.

Safeties Brian Dawkins (neck) and David Bruton (Achilles) were limited for Denver on Thursday, while linebacker Von Miller (thumb), running back Willis McGahee (hamstring), defensive tackle Broderick Bunkley (knee), and tight end Daniel Fells (thumb) all practiced.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Whitner: Bills 'didn't show' they wanted to win.

---Former Bills safety Donte Whitner spoke with Pro Football Talk recently and said his former team 'didn't show' they wanted to win and the organization made some curious moves during his time in Buffalo.

Whitner was drafted by the Bills in 2006 and signed with San Francisco after the NFL lockout last summer.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

 

Nix quotes on Maybin

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On the release of Maybin:

It’s all about us as a team and trying to get better. I’ll say this every time, but it’s also about him.  We could have used him and gone on through the preseason and that kind of thing, and he would have had very little chance of being picked up.  This gives him a chance to maybe get on another team, fit in better and things work out good for him.

On if Maybin’s size and strength was an issue:

I saw where somebody said he didn’t fit the scheme. I don’t know what scheme he fits at that size, unless you’re a strong safety.  He says his metabolism and maybe that’s what it is.  He couldn’t hold weight.  He was 250 at the combine when we saw him and then he was 228 this fall.  He goes up and down some but not very high.

On how difficult it is giving up on a former first-round pick:

You make way more out of those picks than we do and than I do.  I know the money is a big deal.  I don’t think that will be as big now and as much pressure will be on the player.  I think what happens when you miss on a pick that high, a first or second or even third round, it sets you back because you keep trying to fill that void.  That’s the reason we took a little longer.  We needed him and wanted him to come through and wanted to make sure we gave him every opportunity.  He did everything he could do.  He practiced hard, he hustled and he did everything we asked of him.  It just didn’t work out.

On letting young guys get a chance at a roster spot:

And that’s what happens.  We said that and I’ve said that from day one.  A guy that has a chance to develop and be what you’re looking for that doesn’t get enough reps to do it, and that’s what happened.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Bills draft busts? Maybin near the top

Maybin ---In terms of Bills draft busts, Aaron Maybin may be the biggest.

Left tackle Mike Williams was the No. 4 pick overall in 2002 and was a major bust, but he started 47 games and played 51 for the Bills. Defensive end Erik Flowers, 26th overall in 2000, played 31 games over two seasons and made four sacks which were four more than Maybin.

Defensive end Walt Patulski, No. 1 overall in 1973, appeared in 56 games and tight end Tony Hunter, No. 12 overall in ’83, played two seasons and caught 69 passes. Wide receiver Perry Tuttle, the 19th pick in 1982, caught 24 passes in two years, and while 1980 No. 1 overall pick Tom Cousineau never played for the Bills – electing to play in the CFL – the linebacker wound up making 59 starts in the NFL.

Maybin has just one.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic

Fina entering boot camp

Former Bills offensive tackle John Fina, one of the team's more quotable players during his tenure, is going to give the other side of the microphone a try. He is joining 15 other former NFL players at the league's fifth annual Broadcast Boot Camp from June 20-23 at the NFL Films headquarters in Mt. Laurel, N.J.

The camp teaches ex-players all aspects of the television and radio broadcasting industry. They will get work in tape study, editing, show preparation, radio production, field reporting, game preparation as well as get experience as studio and game analysts. They also will serve as live radio host on SiriusXM NFL Radio.

The instructors come from the NFL’s broadcast partners – CBS, ESPN, FOX, NBC, NFL Network, SiriusXM Radio and Westwood One Radio. Among the TV talent working with the players include James Brown (CBS, Showtime), Ron Jaworski (ESPN) and Mike Mayock (NFL Network).

Other former Bills scheduled to attend the boot camp are safeties Nick Ferguson and Dustin Fox.

Of the 90 players that have participated in the boot camps, 36 have landed broadcasting jobs after their careers were over.

---Allen Wilson

Did Andre Reed reveal 2nd Rd pick?

There is so much information (and misinformation) leading up to the draft, it's hard to separate fact from fiction. That's why a lot of Bills fans wonder if there is any truth to what former Bills wide receiver Andre Reed wrote on his Twitter account on Thursday.

Reed, who will announce the team's second-round pick in New York City next week, suggested that the Bills would use that pick on Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder.

"@cponder7 Lookin forward to calling your name Draft Day!!!!!!!!!Bills brash like ur style" Reed said.

Interestingly, the tweet was removed quickly. But you know how Twitter works. Once something is put out there, however brief, someone is going to see it and run with it.

Don't dismiss Reed's tweet entirely. The Bills spent more time with Ponder this offseason than any other quarterback, beginning at the Senior Bowl when he played for the coaching staff. Ponder also met with the Bills at the NFL Scouting Combine and they brought him to Buffalo for another pre-draft visit. Also, Bills head coach Chan Gailey and Ponder go back to Ponder's high school days when Gailey tried to recruit him while coaching at Georgia Tech.
 
The most likely scenario still has the Bills taking a quarterback with the third overall pick, assuming Auburn's Cam Newton is available. If he's gone, the Bills might use their first pick on a defensive player. That means they could target quarterback in Round Two or use that 34th selection to trade into the back end of the first round, especially if there is a run on quarterbacks as some people suspect.

Since the Bills like Ponder, it's not that far-fetched they would pull the trigger if they have a shot at him late in the first round or early in the second.

---Allen Wilson

A taste for something else

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---Former Bills quarterback Drew Bledsoe is calling the shots for his Doubleback wine label in his hometown of Walla Walla, Wa. Now 39, Bledsoe purchased 80 acres of land just outside Walla Walla Valley in 2003 while he was in the middle of his three-year tenure with the Bills.

His interest in wine had been burgeoning since the beginning of his NFL career, but it wasn't until he recognized when he would likely retire that he began seriously considering opening a vineyard.

"When you look at facing retirement in your mid-30s, and all of a sudden the outlet for that passion and work ethic goes away, you can't just sit back in a rocking chair and be retired at 35," he said. "I'm not a good enough golfer to play golf every day."

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)