Skip to primary navigation Skip to main content

Hall of Famer Joe DeLamielleure says he wouldn't play football again

By Jay Skurski

Given the choice, Joe DeLamielleure says he wouldn't play football again.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame member and former linchpin of the Buffalo Bills' famed "Electric Company" offensive line, DeLamielleure makes that telling statement in an interview with Matt Crossman of the Sporting News, as part of an exhaustive five-part series on concussions in the NFL.

"If I could see a picture of this when I was 28, and somebody said, 'Here's you sitting with a reporter at 61 with a card donating your brain to science because all the guys are messed up, would you still play?' " he asks Crossman in the article. "No."

DeLamielleure goes on to say he's convinced he has chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a type of brain damage that's been found in 18 of 19 former NFL players whose brains have been studied by Boston University‚Äôs Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy. CTE can't be diagnosed until after a person has died and an autopsy has been performed -- DeLamielleure has donated his brain to be studied after his death.

DeLamielleure -- who has long been outspoken against the league for its treament of former players -- also says he's battled depression, anger and short-term memory loss.

DeLamielleure isn't the only Hall of Famer to say he wouldn't play football again knowing what he knows now -- former Giants linebacker Harry Carson tells Crossman the same thing.

It's a significant admission when Hall of Fame members talk about giving up their careers if they had the choice, but one that many more former players would not be willing to make, as the survey shows.

Bills release Young, give Thigpen brief reprieve

Thigpen

By Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills have formally released quarterback Vince Young, and Tyler Thigpen almost certainly will follow him out the door in about four days.

The Bills worked out a trade for Seattle Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, rendering Young superfluous. And a week ago, Young had beaten out Thigpen for the No. 2 job.

So the developments on Buffalo's QB depth chart don't help Thigpen much at all.

John Wawrow of the Associated Press reported the trade wasn't finalized until the Bills could renegotiate Jackson's contract. He was scheduled to make $4 million this year, and the Bills found that figure too exorbitant.

Young's base salary would have been $1.25 million this year with bonuses of about $24,000 for every game he was on the active roster. Thigpen would make a $2.5 million base salary this year. You can bet that's too expensive for a third-string quarterback.

Besides, Bills head coach Chan Gailey reaffirmed last week Brad Smith would be the third quarterback. Smith will make a $2.25 million base salary, but he's a commodity who can play receiver, return kicks and handle other special-teams duties in addition to run the Wildcat package.

Then why keep Thigpen around?

Somebody needs to get the Bills through Thursday night's preseason finale against the Detroit Lions. Starters generally play a series or two -- if at all -- in the fourth preseason game. The Bills must have a quarterback for those final three and a half quarters.

The Bills have only two practices this week. They were off Sunday because it was the day after a game. They will be off Wednesday because it will be the day before a game.

Jackson had to fly cross-continent and won't arrive at One Bills Drive in time for any kind of meaningful workout today. Practice is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. (EDIT: Jackson was here in time for practice but didn't take any reps.) That leaves him with one practice and three days to learn the Bills' playbook in time for Thursday night.

The threat of an injury to Jackson is greater than quality reps against the Lions. Even if Jackson does play, it's not going to be all night. He won't know enough of his teammates or the playbook.

Smith can't play three and half quarters either -- not unless the Bills want to show the world their entire Wildcat package. Smith simply isn't a traditional quarterback who can drop back and give the Bills a worthwhile look at their base offense.

To go with Smith for an extended period of time essentially would be throwing away the Bills' final opportunity to examine their offense and all those bubble players before Friday's final roster cuts.

Thigpen, meanwhile, can use Thursday night as a public demonstration for the other 31 NFL teams. That's about the extent of it.

(Photo: James P. McCoy/Buffalo News)

Vince Young tweets farewell to Bills, fans

(UPDATE: The Bills announced at 12:21 p.m. they had released Vince Young.)

By Tim Graham

Vince Young has tweeted his farewell to the Buffalo Bills and their fans, signaling his departure from the club in the wake of the Tarvaris Jackson trade.

Tweets aren't official, but they might as well be in this case.

From Young's verified account this morning:

"I want to thank the Bills organization for the opportunity and wish the organization and my teammates good luck this season."

"Respect Bills fans."

The Bills have not made an official announcement yet, but usually when a player makes a public statement the team isn't far behind.

Young seemed to have locked up Buffalo's No. 2 quarterback job a week ago, but an awful performance in the second half Saturday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers obviously changed General Manager Buddy Nix's and coach Chan Gailey's minds.

In Young's three preseason games, he completed 48.1 percent of his passes for 276 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions. He was sacked three times. Young ran seven times for 39 yards and was charged with a fumble.

Mike Martz: Tarvaris Jackson deal 'good judgment'

By Tim Graham

Don't tell Vince Young a preseason game doesn't matter. And don't think backup quarterback is an insignificant gig.

The Buffalo Bills clearly believe the role is important and are bringing in their third former starting quarterback in search of a Ryan Fitzpatrick backup they're comfortable with.

Young's two-interception performance in the second half of Saturday night's exhibition loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers might've cost him a job. It certainly caused the Bills to lose confidence in him to be their top backup.

The Bills on Sunday worked out a trade to acquire quarterback Tarvaris Jackson from the Seattle Seahawks.

A source with knowledge of Sunday's developments informed me the Bills demoted Young from his No. 2 job before the trade was finalized.

As the Jackson trade was being hammered out Sunday night, I had the chance to ask former NFL head coach and offensive coordinator Mike Martz about it.

"It's common sense and good judgment," Martz said from the Denver airport after working a game in his new role as a Fox Sports analyst. "In this passing league, when you lose that No. 1 guy, you're basically taking the air out of your team completely.

"So you want to make sure you're happy with your backup as a starter. You have to find that guy, wherever he is. Seventy percent of them will get injured. The odds are your guy's going to miss some amount of time. When that happens, you don't want to take a step backwards."

Jackson is 17-17 as a starting quarterback for the Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings. He started 14 games for the Seahawks last year. He has completed 59.4 percent of his passes and has thrown 38 touchdowns with 35 interceptions.

"He's been a little hot and cold, but he's been very good at times," said Martz, who for the past two years was Chicago Bears offensive coordinator. "His game-time experience and the fact he's played well at times is a big addition for them."

Last week, Bills head coach Chan Gailey said he was sticking with his plan to keep Brad Smith as the third quarterback and Wildcat pilot. That means Jackson probably knocked Young and Thigpen out of the box before his flight left Seattle.

Martz, the St. Louis Rams head coach when they drafted Fitzpatrick in 2005, has decades of experience in working with quarterbacks. Martz saw the writing on the wall with less than two weeks to go before the season opener.

"They feel like Tarvaris can come in and fill that role as a potential starter," Martz said. "They must be sure of that or they wouldn't make this trade. It's going to be hard for these other guys to fit on this roster.

"The Bills have made decisions with this move. Obviously, Tarvaris is going to make it."

Bills dealing with Seattle for Tarvaris Jackson

By Mark Gaughan

Vince Young may have played himself out of a job with his underwhelming performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers Saturday night.

Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll confirmed to reporters tonight that he expects his team to deal quarterback Tarvaris Jackson to the Buffalo Bills. The deal has not yet been finalized, while the Bills work on restructuring Jackson's contract. NFL.com first reported the trade talks.

Said Carroll: "It's been agreed upon. But there still is a little bit of paperwork to do. It's scheduled to be done."

Young threw two interceptions in the 38-7 loss to Pittsburgh and has struggled to look efficient in Chan Gailey's spread passing offense. Meanwhile, Bills backup Tyler Thigpen has had an unimpressive summer and did not see any action in Saturday's game. The situation raised major concerns about whether the Bills have any security whatsoever behind starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Jackson, a former second-round draft pick in Minnesota, has become expendable in Seattle, which acquired former Packer Matt Flynn in free agency and drafted Wisconsin's Russell Wilson. Flynn has been battling a sore elbow. Wilson has had a great preseason. Carroll named Wilson the starter for the regular season.

Jackson is 17-17 as a starting quarterback. He was signed by Seattle in free agency last year and went 7-7 as a starter.

"Tarvaris, all that we've ever seen from him is that he's a great competitor and a perfect guy to have on your team," Carroll said. "Because of our situation and the opportunity with the guys that we have, he deserves a chance to be playing. Buffalo came after him, and I hope it's a good thing for him."

"He did a great job for us and proved everything you'd ever want to see out of a competitor on your team. We think the world of him," Carroll said.

Jackson's career started off well in Minnesota, as he went 8-4 as a starter in 2007, his second season. However, he relied heavily on a running game led by Adrian Peterson and had a passer rating of 70.8, 28th in the league. Jackson lost his starting job to Gus Frerotte the next year and he rode the bench behind Brett Favre the next two seasons.

Seattle signed him to a two-year contract in free agency last year, and he took over as the starter. Jackson has received favorable reviews thorughout his career for his leadership ability. He started last season 2-3 and was completing 63 percent of his passes.

But in the second half of the fifth game of the season (a win over the New York Giants), he partially tore the pectoral muscle in his chest. The injury forced him to miss parts of three games. Over the final seven games of the season, Seattle relied more heavily on the run game, and Jackson averaged 188 gross passing yards over that stretch.

David Clowney among 9 released by Bills

By Mark Gaughan

Veteran wide receiver David Clowney was among nine players released by the Buffalo Bills today, the team announced.

Also released were: linebacker Danny Batten, defensive end Sean Ferguson, cornerback Prince Miller, tight end Fendi Onobun, defensive tackle Jay Ross, receiver Derek Session, safety Nick Sukay and guard Jake Vermiglio. Sukay, Vermiglio, Ross, Onobun and Ferguson all dressed but did not play in Saturday's exhibition game.

The Bills also announced tight end Mike Caussin was moved to the reserve physically unable to perform list, while safety Josh Nesbitt was released from the injured reserve list. Caussin will not count toward the Bills' roster total and is out for at least the first six games. He is eligible to begin practicing between the end of Week Six and the end of Week Nine of the regular season. At that point the Bills would have to decide whether to activate him or put him on the injured reserve list.

The moves get the Bills down to the NFL's 75-man roster limit for this week. All NFL teams must trim down from 75 to 53 players on the active roster by 9 p.m. Friday, a day after Buffalo's exhibition finale in Detroit.

Clowney was the most veteran of the players released. He's a three-year veteran who has played in 28 NFL games. Batten was the lone Bills draft pick among the cuts. He was a sixth-round pick in 2010.

Mostly meaningless, but ...

By Mark Gaughan

NFL preseason results are virtually meaningless. NFL preseason football is a ripoff of the ticket-buying public. Those are facts.

The Bills never had a winning preseason record during the peak of their glory days under Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy, from 1988 through 1993. They went 0-4 with their best team, the 1990 squad. Even the mighty New England Patriots have posted a winning record in preseason in only five of Bill Belichick's 12 previous seasons.

Nevertheless, winning is a habit for the Pittsburgh Steelers, one of the NFL's model franchises (maybe THE model franchise). Over the past six preseasons, counting this year, the Steelers are 18-6 in preseason. That stretch has been presided over by current coach Mike Tomlin. He seems to like to win in preseason more than predecessor Bill Cowher. In Cowher's 15 seasons with Pittsburgh, he posted a winning exhibition record five times, had a losing record seven times and was .500 three times.

The Bills have had just three winning preseasons in their last 18 years, counting this season. This will be their eighth losing preseason in that 18-year span.

Terrence McGee rediscovering speed of NFL

By Tim Graham

The Pittsburgh Steelers didn't greet Buffalo Bills cornerback Terrence McGee too warmly in his return to the field Saturday night.

"Yeah, they welcomed me back," McGee said. "It was a good route and a good throw."

On the first play of the second half -- and McGee's first play since tearing his patellar tendon in November -- backup quarterback Byron Leftwich fired a pass over McGee's head to Antonio Brown in the end zone for a 39-yard touchdown.

After I had a chance to review the game on television, it appeared the Bills were in a Cover 4 defense on Brown's long touchdown and safety Da'Norris Searcy got caught out of position, putting McGee in a tough spot.

But McGee didn't make any excuses.

"I wish I could take that play back," McGee said. "Anything else after that, I feel fine. The first play definitely woke me up."

McGee will need to remain healthy to make the roster. The Bills want him around. He's a veteran presence among a young group of cornerbacks and would be an asset in the slot.

McGee estimated he was on the field for about 20 plays. He also ventured he was about 90 percent back in his recovery.

"As far as my knee, my first couple series I had, my knee felt fine," McGee said. "Toward the end it started to ache up a bit, so they iced me down. But I feel all right besides that first play."

McGee had some positive moments Saturday night. He had four tackles. One of them was on a 22-yard Brown gain.

But then McGee stopped receiver David Gilbreath for a 1-yard gain on an end-around and then tackled running back Chris Rainey for a 2-yard loss and was credited for a tackle when Leftwich recovered a fumble for a 4-yard loss.

"I have to get out there and play and see where I'm at," McGee said. "You can only judge so far at practice. You've got to go out there and tackle guys, go up against the speed receivers like the Steelers have. It's the league. You have to get back to that level."

Video: News wraps up Bills' loss

Points after: Steelers 38, Bills 7

By Tim Graham

Some quick thoughts on the Buffalo Bills' 38-7 exhibition loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Ralph Wilson Stadium ...

Bills star of the game: Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams was phenomenal even though he might not have the stats to show it. He routinely got penetration into the Steelers' backfield, bringing down running back Isaac Redman for a 3-yard loss and stuffing Jonathan Dwyer for no gain. Defensive end Mario Williams (two sacks) and Fred Jackson (seven carries for 34 yards and a touchdown) are honorable mentions.

Play of the night: On a crossing pattern, Bills receiver David Nelson stretched to flag down a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass, kept his stride and sprinted up the left sideline, stretching for the goal line. Nelson was ruled down at the 1-yard line, setting up Jackson's touchdown run two plays later.

Fitzpatrick struggles to find the mark: Fitzpatrick got jostled around all night and completed seven of his 18 throws for 89 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. But don't start thinking about a quarterback controversy. Vince Young completed just 12 of his 26 passes for 103 yards and had two interceptions.

Two-minute trouble: Buffalo's starters turned in a strong defensive effort until Pittsburgh's final series of the first half. Ben Roethlisberger orchestrated an 11-play, 98-yard touchdown drive. The key gain was a 33-yard sideline strike to Dwyer on a third-and-9 play. It was the only time Pittsburgh reached third down on the possession.

Stormin' Moorman: Brian Moorman had another great night. Moorman forced the Steelers to start possessions on their 4-, 12-, 8- and 2-yard lines. His other punt was a 50-yard drive to the 21.

Stat line of the night: Backup running back Tashard Choice went a long way to solidifying a spot on the roster. He ran seven times for 50 yards and had one reception for 18 yards.

Coming up: The Bills play the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on Thursday night. It will be their final preseason game.

« Older Entries Newer Entries »
Advertisement

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 | tgraham@buffnews.com


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 | mgaughan@buffnews.com


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 | jskurski@buffnews.com

Subscribe

Advertisement