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How Chan Gailey and the Bills deal with the heat

By Jay Skurski

PITTSFORD -- Saturday was one of those days some of us will look back on wistfully in December and long for.

It was hot, hot, hot as the Buffalo Bills practiced on the grass field at St. John Fisher College. The high temperature of 93 degrees was recorded about 30 minutes before the Bills started practice at 3 p.m.

"It is not hot by a lot of people‚Äôs standards, but by these standards it is hot," coach Chan Gailey said. "So I thought our guys sucked it up, went out and practiced hard. I thought they gave good effort. And hopefully it will pay dividends for us in the long run."

Gailey altered his practice routine slightly as a result of the heat.

"Well we took two breaks in practice, which I never take a break in practice. First ones we have taken," Gailey said. "So we took two breaks in practice and made sure we kept them hydrated. And we try to do a lot of preliminary stuff with getting them hydrated during the course of the day before they even come out here to practice."

Defensive tackle Kyle Williams said conditions like Saturday's can serve a purpose.

"We have hot games and you got to get out here and push through it," he said. "I think the end of practice [when the team ran eight goal-line plays with live tackling] was a good thing for us. To get out there and have a live period and get some real competition when it is in the mid-90s and get some legs under us."

Williams joked with the media that being from Louisiana, he was used to that type of weather by 8 a.m., which is what Gailey was referring to when he said it's not warm by a lot of people's standards. That got me wondering what the breakdown of the team's roster is by home state. Here it is:

Texas 12
Florida 9
Georgia 9
California 8
North Carolina 5
Pennsylvania 4
Michigan 4
Ohio 3
Missouri 3
South Carolina 3
Virginia 3
Mississippi 2
Alabama 2
Arizona 2
Maryland 2
Tennessee 2
New Jersey 2
Louisiana 2
Iowa 1
Kentucky 1
Utah 1
Connecticut 1
Nebraska 1
Kansas 1
Washington 1
Oklahoma 1
Montana 1
Washington D.C. 1
Wisconsin 1
New York 1
Idaho 1

That's 38 players alone at the top of the list who come from warm weather climates, and several more who grew up in conditions like Saturday's.

I'm of the belief, though, that the body quickly adapts to the climate it's in, so if you're practicing in 70- or 80-degree weather for a couple weeks, when that thermometer is cranked up past 90, that's hot.

So it's worth noting that the Bills are taking the proper precautions.

"I think guys here take care of their bodies pretty well, drinking, getting their fluids in and eating the right way. So I do not think, with the amount of reps that we are going, we should not see anything," Williams said. 

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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 |