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Road to the Draft: Justin Pugh

By Mark Gaughan

Justin Pugh

Position: Guard
School: Syracuse
Measurements: 6-foot-4, 307 pounds.
40 time: 5.14 seconds. Vertical jump: 28.5 inches. 225-pound bench press: 22 repetitions.
2012 stats: 9 games, 9 starts.
Draft projection: Late first round

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Bills make a deal with QB Kevin Kolb

By Mark Gaughan

The Buffalo Bills added a viable starting option to their quarterback roster Saturday night by reaching a contract agreement with free-agent Kevin Kolb.

The full terms of a two-year deal with the 28-year-old, five-year NFL veteran were approved by both sides about 9 p.m., a league source told The Buffalo News. ESPN reported eariler this evening that a deal was going to happen.

The deal is expected to be worth a maximum value of about $13 million, which makes Kolb the clear favorite over incumbent seven-year veteran Tarvaris Jackson in the Bills’ QB competition. Jackson signed a one-year, $2.25 million deal last month.

The Bills still are expected to take a quarterback in the NFL Draft and give the rookie a chance to win the starting job. However, with Kolb on board, the urgency to rush a rookie onto the field decreases.

Kolb was released by the Cardinals earlier this month under circumstances similar to those that prompted Fitzpatrick’s departure from the Bills. Kolb was cut loose just before Arizona was due to pay him a $2 million bonus.

A 2007 second-round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles, Kolb signed a five-year, $65 million contract with the Cardinals in July 2011, of which $12 million was guaranteed.

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Road to the Draft: Zach Ertz

By Mark Gaughan

Zach Ertz

Position: Tight end
School: Stanford
Measurements: 6-foot-5, 249 pounds
40 time: 4.76 seconds. Vertical jump: 30.5 inches. 225-pound bench press: 24 repetitions.
2012 stats: 69 catches, 898 yards, 6 TDs.
Draft projection: Late first round

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Tashard Choice says he's back with Bills

By Mark Gaughan

Running back Tashard Choice has announced his re-signing with the Buffalo Bills via his Twitter account, and his representatives -- Creative Artists Agency -- have announced the news as well.

Choice is a five-year veteran who served as the Bills' No. 3 running back the past season and a half. He averaged 8 snaps a game last season. He rushed 47 times for 193 yards and caught four passes. His contract ran out after last season.

The Bills and Kevin Kolb: Mutual desperation?

By Mark Gaughan

The Buffalo Bills and Kevin Kolb look like they could be a match made out of necessity … or perhaps mutual desperation?

The Bills need more insurance behind whatever rookie quarterback they pick in the NFL draft. Right now they have only veteran Tarvaris Jackson and Aaron Corp on the roster. Kolb needs to land a job before the draft, because teams usually are much less enthusiastic about veterans once they stock their roster with rookies.

The Bills reportedly have interest in Kolb, sources tell The Bills currently have the least amount of competition at quarterback of any NFL team.

The Arizona Cardinals released Kolb earlier this month in a move that resembled the Bills' release of Ryan Fitzpatrick. Kolb was cut loose just before Arizona was due to pay him a $2 million bonus.

Kolb, who turns 29 in August, has had too many injuries to step in as the favorite for a team's starting QB job. He played in only five games last season, getting knocked out for the year in Arizona’s Week Six loss to the Buffalo Bills due to detached ribs and a sprained shoulder. Kolb suffered a serious concussion that caused him to miss the last three games of the 2011 season. He missed two games in the 2010 season due to a concussion, as well. He played nine total games in 2011 and five in 2010. His overall record as an NFL starter is 9-12.

Besides the Bills, the teams with the most unsettled quarterback situations are Oakland, Jacksonville, the New York Jets and Arizona. Oakland’s starter, Carson Palmer, might be released if he does not accept a pay cut. Terrelle Pryor is Oakland’s backup. Jacksonville's top two QBs are Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne. The Jets' list includes Mark Sanchez, David Garrard, Greg McElroy and Tim Tebow. Tampa Bay could use a backup quarterback. The Bucs have Dan Orlovsky behind entrenched starter Josh Freeman. Arizona is left with Drew Stanton, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Lindley and John Skelton.

A total of 48 different players started NFL games at quarterback last season, which actually represented more stability than normal in an NFL campaign. Many years see more than that number starting games. There were 63 different starters, for instance, in 2010.

Road to the Draft: Tyler Eifert

By Mark Gaughan

Tyler Eifert

Position: Tight end
School: Notre Dame
Measurements: 6-foot-5, 250 pounds
40 time: 4.68 seconds. Vertical jump: 35.5 inches. 225-pound bench press: 22 repetitions.
2012 stats: 50 catches, 683 yards, 4 TDs.
Draft projection: First round.

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Majkowski copes with nightmare pain from NFL career

By Mark Gaughan

Depew native Don Majkowski played quarterback for 10 years in the NFL and made the Pro Bowl in 1989.

He’s forever associated with Packers great Brett Favre because Favre started his NFL record consecutive games streak in 1992 after Majkowski left the Green Bay lineup due to a serious ankle injury.

Now Majkowski, 49, is living in Atlanta and coping with constant pain due to the many injuries he suffered in his football career. Majkowski’s physical problems are detailed in a story this week on

“I haven't worked, I haven't coached, I haven't done anything,” Majkowski told reporter Paul Imig. “It's very difficult to even sit for five minutes. It's been a nightmare.”

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TE Fred Davis stays with Redskins

By Mark Gaughan

(UPDATED) Free-agent tight end Fred Davis has decided to re-sign with the Washington Redskins, the team confirmed this morning.

Davis, a five-year veteran coming back from an Achilles tendon injury, agreed to a one-year deal.

Apparently, the prospect of putting up numbers with Robert Griffin III at quarterback was a bit more appealing than casting his lot with a rookie quarterback leading the Buffalo Bills' offense. The one-year agreement is not a surprise and looks like a wise move on Davis' part. Davis will hope to have a good year and parlay it into a better contract a year from now. Davis was suspended four games for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy in 2011. Another violation would bring him a year-long suspension.

Davis, a former second-round pick, has more downfield ability than average tight ends. He had 24 catches in just over seven games last season and 59 catches in 12 games in 2011.

Fred Davis: Achilles progressing; TE will be a key in Buffalo's O

By Mark Gaughan

Free-agent tight end Fred Davis said today while visiting One Bills Drive he is very confident his Achilles tendon injury will be healed in time for next season.

Davis, a five-year veteran of the Washington Redskins, tore his left Achilles tendon in a game on Oct. 21. He had surgery that same week, performed by foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, N.C.

Some players with Achilles tendon injuries can be out 10 to 12 months. Some return sooner. Baltimore Ravens pass-rusher Terrell Suggs, whose Achilles was repaired by Anderson last March, was out only five months before returning to help the Ravens win the Super Bowl.

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Rob Gronkowski enlightened about gay teammate issue

By Mark Gaughan

Williamsville native Rob Gronkowski, the New England Patriots' All-Pro tight end, has a reputation as a big, fun-loving jock.

Gronk, nevertheless, offered a relatively enlightened viewpoint today on the prospect of having a gay teammate during a radio interview on ESPN New York. 

"You have to accept the player," Gronkowski said. "Everyone has their own ways to live their life, and as long as he's respecting me, keeping distance, respecting myself, then I will respect him back. If he's being a great teammate and he's a guy on the field doing a great job, then you have nothing to complain about. He’s another teammate and another friend.

"If someone is on my team and they are a great teammate and a great player on the field, helping the team win, that's all you can ask for."

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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 |