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Mario Williams gun photos not the wisest way to project public image

By Tim Graham

Two days ago, I stood in a ballroom at the NFL Rookie Symposium and listened to former defensive tackle Tank Johnson beg the league's newest class of players not to own guns.

Johnson was arrested multiple times because of guns and was reinstated from a suspension on the condition he forsake ownership. One time, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell pleaded with him over the phone not to purchase a Glock after Johnson caught two men trying to burglarize his car.

A day after Johnson's rookie presentation, authorities arrested New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez. He's facing murder and five gun-related charges.

Let's just say the NFL is hyper-sensitive about guns these days.

That's why somebody close to Buffalo Bills defensive end Mario Williams should advise him to remove from his Instagram page a photo that makes fun of Hernandez and shows Williams firing what he claims to be fully automatic assault weapons.

Continue reading "Mario Williams gun photos not the wisest way to project public image" »

Jim Kelly calls Pats 'vulnerable,' Aaron Hernandez a dummy

Jim Kelly
Jim Kelly says "sooner or late the Bills got to rise to the top."

By Tim Graham

Jim Kelly isn't all that busted up about the New England Patriots' offseason troubles.

"I don't really feel too sorry for them," Kelly said this morning on the NFL Network, "because sooner or late the Bills got to rise to the top, and if we have to take it that way? Oh, well."

Kelly was a guest on "NFL AM" to talk about his recovery from cancer surgery and heard some football questions, too.

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Decades-old Aeneas Williams story still impacts Jairus Byrd today

By Tim Graham

AURORA, Ohio -- Aeneas Williams didn't have an NFL orientation when he entered the league in 1991. He had to figure it out himself.

Whatever he did, it worked. And his methods were so effective they also helped mold a rare 21st-century Buffalo Bills star.

Williams went to eight Pro Bowls for the Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams. He's in the Cardinals' Ring of Honor.

The turning point for Williams, he told a roomful of AFC rookies Tuesday night, was reaching out to former San Diego Chargers cornerback Gill Byrd for advice. The deep bond their families developed led to Williams mentoring Byrd's son, the Bills' two-time Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd.

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Chad Pennington to rookies: You think you have Mercedes money, but it's actually Corolla cash

By Tim Graham

AURORA, Ohio -- The NFL Rookie Symposium has been loaded with anecdotes about how easily big money will slip through most players' fingers.

With the AFC's rookie class hooting for him not to do it, eight-time Pro Bowl defensive back Aeneas Williams made a point Tuesday night by feeding a $20 bill into a paper shredder.

"I want to give you guys a picture," said Williams, the mentor to unsigned Buffalo Bills safety Jairus Byrd. "Once it's gone, can you get it back? Whatever amount of money you get, I don't care if it's millions or hundreds of thousands, once you give it away, you ain't getting it back.

"I want you guys to remember this picture because there will be a lot of people trying to get your money, and you'll feel like, 'Dog, I got it. It won't hurt me at all.' "

Continue reading "Chad Pennington to rookies: You think you have Mercedes money, but it's actually Corolla cash" »

Manti Te'o 'could do something special' if asked to teach players

By Tim Graham

BEREA, Ohio -- Manti Te'o has spent the past few days sitting through seminars and listening to roundtables at the NFL Rookie Symposium.

With everything the San Diego Chargers linebacker has endured, he probably could stroll on stage and easily conduct a presentation of his own.

"I think everybody at this point could give a good seminar on media," Te'o said this morning at a Play 60 event on the Cleveland Browns' practice fields. "For me, I definitely could do something special."

Continue reading "Manti Te'o 'could do something special' if asked to teach players" »

EJ Manuel on heavy NFL responsibility: Bring it on

By Tim Graham

BEREA, Ohio -- Occasionally, a thick cloud would obscure the sweltering sun and provide a fleeting respite.

On the fields behind the Cleveland Browns' training facility this morning, an NFL Play 60 event would seem like a blithe community interlude, where AFC rookies interacted with local kids and taught some fundamentals.

Sweat streamed down Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel's face.

"I feel like this is a practice for me," Manuel said.

Continue reading "EJ Manuel on heavy NFL responsibility: Bring it on" »

Bills individual game tickets go on sale July 9, 10

By Mark Gaughan

Individual-game tickets for the Buffalo Bills' home games will go on sale July 9 and 10, the team announced.

Sales for the general public open at 9 a.m. July 10. There is a "presale" that starts at 9 a.m. July 9 for fans who are connected to the team online through its website and social media sites. That includes fans who have signed up to the team's site via email or who have followed the team on Facebook, Twitter or the team's mobile application. To sign up, visit

Season tickets still are on sale, but individual tickets for the regular-season home opener against New England on Sept. 8 are sold out.

Season-ticket holders already had the chance to buy extra individual tickets. Group tickets (blocks of 15 or more) also previously went on sale to the general public.

Fans can buy tickets at the stadium ticket office, via the team's website or at 1-877-BBTICKS.

Hoops bust Chris Herren gives NFL rookies a wake-up call about drug addiction

By Tim Graham

AURORA, Ohio -- The AFC's newest players were struggling to pay attention this afternoon at the NFL Rookie Symposium.

Doctors talked about steroids being a banned substance and how many beers it takes for a 200-pound man to get drunk and that a government-issued ID is required every time a player takes a urine test and ... Zzzzzzzzzzz.

The rookies squirmed in their chairs, rubbed their scalps and rolled their necks around simply to stay awake. One player, mouth agape and face pointed toward the ceiling, openly slept.

Rest assured, they were awake when Chris Herren walked onto the stage and told his life story.

Continue reading "Hoops bust Chris Herren gives NFL rookies a wake-up call about drug addiction" »

Video: Jim Kelly talks about cancer surgery, support and prayers

Buffalo Bills legend Jim Kelly talks about his cancer surgery and the support and prayers he received locally and from around the country.

Tank Johnson tells NFL rookies not to bring their guns to town

By Tim Graham

AURORA, Ohio -- Right around the corner from where I worked at the Las Vegas Sun's old offices, there was a sign on West Charleston Boulevard that read: "Drugs, Guns, Booze."

That gun-selling pharmacy and liquor store at the Westgate Shopping Center doesn't exist anymore.

But for at least a day it moved to the Bertram Inn and Conference Center in rural Northeast Ohio, where the 2013 NFL Rookie Symposium is being held.

Today's sessions warned the incoming class not to be dummies when it comes to performance-enhancing drugs, substance abuse, drunk driving and firearms.

Continue reading "Tank Johnson tells NFL rookies not to bring their guns to town" »

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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 |