Uncle Rico doesn't believe this story.
Oh, he'll throw the ball over them mountains. But Uncle Rico cannot buy the notion that 5-foot-8, 225-pound part-time deli worker Joshua Barber called Buffalo Bills GM Buddy Nix because he wanted a tryout.
That's the story Barber and his attorney are going with as part of a defense against federal charges for surreptitiously recording a conversation between Nix and Tampa Bay Buccaneers GM Mark Dominik in March.
Barber and Nicholas Kaiser, two 20-year-olds from Plymouth, Mass., entered not guilty pleas Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder Jr.
Barber and Kaiser have been charged with intentionally intercepting a wire communication and making a telephone call without disclosing their identity with the intent to annoy or harass the person at the called number.
They then allegedly sold the recorded Nix-Dominik conversation and selling it to Deadspin.com.
"Mr. Barber is of the belief that he has the skills to play in the National Football League and was looking for a tryout with the Buffalo Bills," defense attorney Rodney O. Personius said. He called Buddy Nix and on one occasion left his phone number."
The criminal complain filed against Barber and Kaiser alleged they had phoned the Dallas Mavericks, Denver Broncos, Montreal Canadiens and New York Islanders to get tryouts.
Barber might need to sign an NFL or NBA contract to pay for his legal woes.
U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul said Barber and Kaiser face five years in prison and a $500,000 fine.