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Ray Lewis laughs off Sports Illustrated's deer-antler report

By Jerry Sullivan

NEW ORLEANS -- Ray Lewis again denied a published report that claims he took deer antler spray, which contains a substance banned by the NFL, during his recovery from a torn triceps injury this season.

Lewis, speaking before a packed conference room during a Super Bowl media session this morning, laughed when the first questioner asked him to respond to a report in the digital version of Sports Illustrated.

"I think honestly, I'm going to say it very clearly again," Lewis said. "It's probably one of the most embarrassing things we can do on this type of stage. I think it takes away from ... You give somebody the ability to come into our world. Our world is a very secret society. We try to protect our world as much as we can. But when you let cowards come in and do things like that, to try to disturb something ...

Continue reading "Ray Lewis laughs off Sports Illustrated's deer-antler report" »

Bills hold line on season tickets; single seats up $8 on average

By Jay Skurski

Season-ticket prices will either stay the same or -- for 2,500 seats in the 300 level -- be reduced by the Buffalo Bills for the 2013 season. That makes four straight seasons the Bills have held the line on season-ticket prices.

The Bills are dropping the season-ticket price on 2,500 seats in the 300 level to $25 a game, down from $37. That $25 price is the same as the Coors Light Rockpile and Tops Family Corner sections, both of which sold out last year. 

That's the good news.

Continue reading "Bills hold line on season tickets; single seats up $8 on average" »

Dennis Dixon is the Baltimore Ravens' Rich Little

By Tim Graham

NEW ORLEANS -- Dennis Dixon is on the Baltimore Ravens' practice squad.

Though if the Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII, Dixon will have earned his championship ring.

Dixon has been the Ravens' secret weapon, imitating the 49ers' hard-to-replicate quarterback, Colin Kaepernick.

Kaepernick is difficult to prepare for. He has a big arm and is a threat to run in the 49ers' read-option offense. Dixon is familiar with the read option from his days at the University of Oregon.

"That guy has been doing a major job," Ravens cornerback and Turner-Carroll alum Corey Graham said of Dixon. "You'd think he might want to go somewhere that runs that offense so he can have an even bigger role in this NFL.

"But he's done an outstanding job. He's run this offense at Oregon. He knows it, and he's done an amazing job of preparing us for this stage."

Continue reading "Dennis Dixon is the Baltimore Ravens' Rich Little" »

Bills special teams were 8th overall

By Mark Gaughan

For the record, the Buffalo Bills' special teams ranked eighth overall in 2012, according to the Dallas Morning News annual ranking.

Former Bills special teams coach Bruce DeHaven was part of the team's housecleaning after the season, but he ended his second Bills tenure on a good note.

The Bills ranked first in punt return average, fourth in kickoff return average, ninth in opponents' kickoff return average and 32nd in opponents' punt return average. They blocked a league-best five kicks. The ranking factors 22 special-teams categories.

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Mike Pettine left Rex Ryan and joined Bills to be his own man

By Tim Graham

NEW ORLEANS -- Where did Rex Ryan stop and Mike Pettine begin with the New York Jets' defense?

"I've been asked that before," former Jets General Manager Mike Tannenbaum told me in the Super Bowl XLVII media center. "I think Mike's his own guy, and he'll do a good job.

"Where one started and one ended, it could've been by the game, by the quarter. It depended on the game and the situation. But Mike's really good."

Continue reading "Mike Pettine left Rex Ryan and joined Bills to be his own man" »

Niners punter Andy Lee is at the head of the class

By Mark Gaughan

NEW ORLEANS - San Francisco has a great weapon in Super Bowl XLVII in punter Andy Lee.

He set the NFL single-season record for net punting average in 2011 by posting a 44.0-yard mark. He also has topped the 40-yard net average mark four of the past six seasons.

No NFL punter ever had broken the 40-yard net barrier until 2007. That year, Oakland Raiders punter Shane Lechler (41.1) and Lee (41.0) both did it. The next year four punters did it. In 2009 six did it. In 2010 it was three, in 2011 nine and this season 15 punters did it.

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Ed Reed on Junior Seau's trauma: 'He signed up to play football'

By Tim Graham

NEW ORLEANS -- Buffalo News senior columnist Jerry Sullivan asked a pointed question that created a major storyline at Super Bowl XLVII media day.

Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed, an 11-year veteran, mentioned how a violent game has impacted his health.

"I feel effects from it," Reed said. "Some days, I wake up and I'm like, ‘Where did my memory go?’ But at the same time, I signed up for it.

"Football has been like that for a long time, for ages. Football has always been a contact sport, and it's always going to be a violent sport, and there are going to be repercussions from that. But every player that ever played this game and will play this game, they're signing up for it."

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C.J. Spillman claims he does not get winded

By Tim Graham

NEW ORLEANS -- C.J. Spillman does not get winded.

That's what the San Francisco 49ers backup safety and special-teamer told me Tuesday in the Superdome.

I thought Spillman might have more in common with Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller that all but a few letters when I saw Spillman stationed next to a Gatorade dispenser on media day.

Was Spillman out of gas?

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Sound from Super Bowl XLVII: Media day in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS -- Buffalo News writers Tim Graham, Mark Gaughan and Jerry Sullivan discuss the coaches and teams' defenses from the site of Super Bowl XLVII.

Corey Graham: from Buffalo to the big stage

By Jerry Sullivan

NEW ORLEANS -- Corey Graham has definitely arrived.

Graham, a Buffalo native and Turner-Carroll graduate, had one of the 12 raised stages reserved for the key members of the Baltimore Ravens at Tuesday afternoon's media day. Not bad for a former special teams Pro Bowler who left the Chicago Bears as a free agent last summer because he wanted a chance at cornerback.

Graham, who took over as a starting corner because of injuries and had a breakthrough during this postseason, said he's heard from a lot of people back home lately.

Continue reading "Corey Graham: from Buffalo to the big stage" »

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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 |