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Bills more about team-building than bail-bonding

By Tim Graham

PITTSFORD -- The NFL's dramatic offseason intensified yet again over the weekend with receiver Chad Johnson's domestic-violence arrest, and the Miami Dolphins' quick decision to release him.

Earlier this summer, former Buffalo Bills running back Marshawn Lynch was arrested for drunk driving. Other big names such as Adrian Peterson, Dez Bryant, Nick Fairley and Elvis Dumervil were handcuffed, too.

Johnson's highly publicized arrest -- the attention surrounding him almost certainly will escalate on the next episode of HBO's "Hard Knocks" -- was a reminder of how well the Bills have handled themselves off the field since general manager Buddy Nix and Chan Gailey took over in 2010.

"The character of our football team, in my opinion, is extremely high," Gailey said after Sunday's practice at St. John Fisher College. "They're human. They're going to make mistakes, and we've just been smart about it.

"I think our football players have been very smart about how they handle themselves and what they do -- or don't do, more importantly. They're the kind of guys that Buddy and I both want on this football team."

The last time a Bills regular was legitimately arrested was safety Donte Whitner in April 2009. Whitner was booked for aggravated disorderly conduct and resisting arrest at then-Dolphins receiver Ted Ginn's birthday party.

Gailey previously discussed character and not getting into police-blotter trouble during a minicamp interview about the changing culture at One Bills Drive.

"There's a certain mindset that you have to have to be on our football team," Gailey said then. "What we're trying to create here is a culture of character, a culture of success, a culture of doing things the right way.

"I don't think you do that unless you emphasize all areas of life, not just football. We have guys that believe in doing things the right way. It's proven out. We have very few incidents on our football team because I believe we've got the right kind of men."

And those quotes should answer any stray questions from Bills fans about whether or not the team will go after Ochocinco.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |