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Buffalo Bills hit six-week break: Have fun, but not too much fun

By Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills wrapped up mandatory minicamp Thursday morning and don't have to report to training camp at St. John Fisher College until the last week of July.

So now what?

"This is not vacation time," Bills pass-rusher Mario Williams said. "You can take a trip or whatever. That's fine. But this six weeks that everybody has is not just go home and eat Doritos."

Continue reading "Buffalo Bills hit six-week break: Have fun, but not too much fun" »

Video: Bills wrap up minicamp

Bills announce new NFL policies on bringing bags to The Ralph

By Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills have passed along new NFL guidelines for items, particularly bags, that can be brought into Ralph Wilson Stadium this season.

In a news release, the Bills stated they "strongly encourage fans to not bring any type of bags," but the NFL will allow:

  • Clear-plastic, vinyl or PVC bags that don't exceed 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches, or a one-gallon clear plastic freezer bag.
  • Small clutch bags, "approximately the size of a hand," in addition to one of the clear-bag options.
  • An exception will be made for medical necessities after inspection at the gate.

Prohibited items include:

  • Purses larger than a clutch bag.
  • Coolers.
  • Briefcases.
  • Backpacks.
  • Fanny packs.
  • Cinch bags.
  • Luggage of any kind.
  • Seat cushions.
  • Computer bags.
  • Camera bags.
  • Any bag larger than the permissible size.

Already, I'm hearing from fans who are upset over the inability to bring seat cushions to an open-air stadium with metal bleachers in a cold-weather town.

"Our No. 1 goal on game days at Ralph Wilson Stadium continues to be providing our fans with the best game day experience possible," Bills vice president of event operations and guest experience Andy Major said in the release, "and this policy addresses both public safety and stadium entry efficiency for all Bills fans."

Mario Williams relays Mike Pettine's credo: 'Kill 'em, hurt 'em'

By Tim Graham

While they're unlikely to be the words the NFL would use, Buffalo Bills pass-rusher Mario Williams summed up defensive coordinator Mike Pettine's philosophy thusly:

"He usually says 'Kill 'em or hurt 'em.' That's what I always hear."

On the final day of spring workouts and before taking a six-week break before training camp, Williams exalted the Bills' new defensive scheme for their aggression and entertainment value.

Continue reading "Mario Williams relays Mike Pettine's credo: 'Kill 'em, hurt 'em'" »

Buffalo Bills wrap spring practices with red-zone work

By Mark Gaughan

The Buffalo Bills closed their spring practices today with a lot of red-zone work.

Once again, quarterbacks Kevin Kolb and EJ Manuel split most of the work, with Kolb getting the first snaps for the starting unit. Once again, the defense probably was a little ahead of the offense, which is to be expected at this point in the offseason.

Coach Doug Marrone on the end of the team's three-day minicamp and five-week spring workout schedule:

Continue reading "Buffalo Bills wrap spring practices with red-zone work" »

Stevie Johnson reveals back injury was a slight fracture

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson catches a pass at Wednesday's minicamp session. (Photo: James P. McCoy/Buffalo News)

By Tim Graham

Stevie Johnson offered up a Roy Munson handshake today after the Buffalo Bills' final mandatory minicamp session.

Johnson's rigid fingers were taped at the knuckles. He declined to clasp hands.

It has been a delicate offseason for the Bills' top wide receiver. He's recovering from a twisted left ankle and revealed for the first time his previous back injury wasn't merely a strain. He broke it.

Continue reading "Stevie Johnson reveals back injury was a slight fracture" »

Video: Day Two of Bills minicamp

Buffalo News sports reporter Tim Graham and senior sports columnist Jerry Sullivan talk about the battle of the running backs.

Mike Williams, Doug Worthington move in opposite directions

By Tim Graham

A couple of hometown kids made NFL news today.

Riverside High grad Mike Williams told reporters he's close to signing a contract extension with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, while St. Francis High alum Doug Worthington was waived/injured by Washington.

Williams had 63 catches for 996 yards and a team-high nine receiving touchdowns last year. His reception and yardage totals were second to Vincent Jackson.

Continue reading "Mike Williams, Doug Worthington move in opposite directions" »

Defense shows no mercy in second minicamp practice

By Mark Gaughan

The Buffalo Bills' defense ended the second minicamp practice of the week in all-out piranha mode Wednesday.

It was a feeding frenzy of sacks as the Bills' first-string offense under quarterback Kevin Kolb tried to move downfield in a two-minute drill in need of a touchdown.

Kolb managed to elude a rush and improvise a quick-thinking throw over the middle to Fred Jackson for a gain of about 25 yards on a third-down play.

After that, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine dialed up four straight blitzes and ended the series with four straight sacks.

"I'm glad Coach Pettine's on our team, that's for sure, and all those guys they have out there," said offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. "Any time you have a defense like we're facing, every single day it's going to be a roller-coaster of emotions. I mean, they're bringing everybody from every place and you have to do your best to try to get a foundation and make things happen.

"There's some things that do good and other things that you're just putting your hand on top of your head and just trying to get to the next play."

Continue reading "Defense shows no mercy in second minicamp practice" »

Mike Pettine still thinks Tim Tebow can be starting NFL QB

By Tim Graham

Mike Pettine, the former New York Jets defensive coordinator, claimed Tim Tebow was beneficial to their locker room and is good enough to be an NFL starting quarterback.

As the Buffalo Bills' defensive boss, Pettine might need to game plan for Tebow on opening day. The Bills will play the New England Patriots in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

The Patriots signed Tebow this week. In case you hadn't heard.

Continue reading "Mike Pettine still thinks Tim Tebow can be starting NFL QB" »

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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 |