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Ralph Wilson bids farewell to 'Foolish Club' partner Bud Adams

By Tim Graham

Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams died today. He was 90.

Adams and Buffalo Bills founder Ralph Wilson were in the "Foolish Club," the eight charter members of the American Football League in 1960.

Adams owned the Houston Oilers and moved them to Tennessee in 1997.

Wilson, who turned 95 last week, is the last remaining owner from the original AFL. William Barron Hilton, founder of the Los Angeles Chargers, is 85 years old. He sold the team in 1966.

Wilson released through the Bills a statement on Adams' passing:

"I am saddened to hear the news of the passing of Bud Adams. As original AFL team owners, we all shared a common bond and a deep sense of pride in where we started in 1960 to where the NFL is today and how much our fans enjoy the game of professional football.

"Bud certainly played an important role in the growth and development of our game, and today I am remembering with great fondness all the laughs we shared with the special memories over the years. Through it all, our teams played some of the most memorable games in AFL and NFL history.

"I want to extend my deepest sympathies and condolences to Bud’s daughters Susan and Amy and family and to all of his many friends."

Looking back: Buddy Nix's five biggest hits as Bills GM

Ralph Wilson, C.J. Spiller, Buddy Nix and Chan Gailey
You can argue whether the Bills should have drafted a running back with the ninth overall pick in 2010, but you can't dispute Nix selected a good one in C.J. Spiller. (James P. McCoy/News file photo)


By Tim Graham

How will we remember Buddy Nix's tenure as Buffalo Bills general manager? With the help of beat reporter Mark Gaughan, we look back on the past three seasons and four drafts under Nix.

Here are his five biggest hits:

Continue reading "Looking back: Buddy Nix's five biggest hits as Bills GM" »

Will new Bills QB be moribund organization's Manuel ignition?

By Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills know something nobody else does?

That idea alone is fascinating.

The chance of it being true is small based on the organization's track record. But maybe -- just maybe -- the Bills were smart to name EJ Manuel their franchise quarterback.

And if that decision is proven to be correct, while gathering two additional draft picks, then the possibilities are endless.

Continue reading "Will new Bills QB be moribund organization's Manuel ignition?" »

Bills best and worst draft picks, from Tom Cousineau to Jim Kelly

By Tim Graham

NFL.com has been running a series of articles examining every team's best and worst draft picks since 1966, the start of the Super Bowl era.

The Bills' breakdown was posted today, with five finalists in each category accompanied by a poll that allows fans to select the superlative picks.

Best

  • • Jim Kelly, 14th overall in 1983
  • • Bruce Smith, first overall in 1985
  • • Thurman Thomas, 40th overall in 1988
  • • Andre Reed, 86th overall in 1985
  • • O.J. Simpson, first overall in 1969

Worst

  • • Mike Williams, fourth overall in 2002
  • • Aaron Maybin, 11th overall in 2009
  • • Tom Cousineau, first overall in 1979
  • • J.P. Losman, 22nd overall in 2004
  • • James Hardy, 41st overall in 2008

While it's difficult to argue with any of the "best" candidates, what about those longshots who had fine careers? Hitting on the first overall pick shouldn't be difficult. Simpson was a no-brainer in 1969.

I'd like to have seen one of those late-round fliers get consideration. Right tackle Howard Ballard was an 11th-round stab in 1987 but was a two-time Pro Bowler who started 10 NFL seasons. Defensive lineman Kyle Williams was a 2006 fifth-round pick who's gone to a couple Pro Bowls.

As for the "worst" candidates, I have a problem with Cousineau making the list. What made him a bad pick wasn't his talent -- he started more NFL games than 1972 first overall pick Walt Patulski -- but the fact he refused to sign with the Bills.

Besides, the Bills turned Cousineau into the draft pick that became Kelly. Without the Cousineau selection and the subsequent contract squabble, the Bills wouldn't have gotten their Hall of Fame quarterback.

Defensive tackle Torell Troup, taken one pick ahead of superstar tight end Rob Gronkowski in 2010, warrants a spot in the poll.

And why should Hardy be considered worse than Perry Tuttle (19th overall in 1982) or Tony Hunter (12th overall in 1983) or Erik Flowers (26th overall in 2000) or John McCargo (26th overall in 2006)?

Stevie Johnson claims workout comments 'way overblown'

By Tim Graham

Buffalo Bills receiver Stevie Johnson was bewildered to learn remarks he made on Jim Rome's radio show before the Super Bowl created such waves in Western New York.

"I didn't hear from nobody about it except for C.J. Spiller, who told me, 'They're blowing up back in Buffalo about the workout comments,' " Johnson said. "I went, 'What workout comments?' "

Johnson said he was -- and still is -- taken aback to know folks were upset about his training methods.

Johnson told Rome that he disregarded the Bills' offseason program and that his offseason conditioning regimen has consisted of playing basketball and roadwork in his hometown.

Continue reading "Stevie Johnson claims workout comments 'way overblown'" »

Rex Ryan raves about Aaron Maybin's motor

MaybinJetsAP

By Tim Graham

The New York Jets' coaching staff has been showcasing Aaron Maybin to the rest of the team as an example of how they want their players to approach the game.

This is the same Aaron Maybin the Bills drafted 11th overall in 2009 but cut after two seasons. He's the same Aaron Maybin who, in his first training camp in 2010  (he held out as a rookie) touched off a brawl when he knocked running back Fred Jackson down from behind in a no-tackle practice, causing center Eric Wood to yell "Give back some of that money you ain't f------ earned!"

But with the Jets, Maybin has remained a favorite of head coach Rex Ryan and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.

"The guy has been tremendous," Ryan said in a transcript the Jets disseminated Sunday. "Mike Pettine did a great job [Saturday]. He showed [a film clip of] Aaron running to the football like he does. He said 'Guys, as teammates you have to be embarrassed because this guy embarrassed the other 10 guys that were out there at that time.'

"They might have been thinking they were going hard, but this guy reminds me a little of [two-time Pro Bowl defensive end] Michael McCrary in the fact that when I had this young man in Baltimore, he was relentless. That's the way Aaron plays.

"He goes 100 miles an hour. ... He doesn't play with any brakes. He doesn't slow down until he runs into something. That's who he is, and that's who he's been since he's been a New York Jet."

Bills head coach Chan Gailey told me at the 2011 NFL owners meetings that Maybin's failures with the Bills weren't for lack of effort. That seems to jibe with the player Ryan and Pettine are coaching now.

Maybin didn't have any sacks in his two seasons with Buffalo. He was a healthy scratch on occasion and started only one game because the Bills wanted him to be an all-around outside linebacker. With the Jets last season, he recorded six sacks and forced four fumbles as a situational pass-rusher.

Ryan was asked if Maybin might get more playing time as a three-down outside linebacker.

"I could definitely see that," Ryan said. "He's going to earn that, and you have to earn your way out there, and I think he's on his way to earning more reps and more responsibility from us."

Maybin is a weird story angle for Bills fans. The consensus when the Bills cut him was "Good riddance." He was tough to root for because of his cocky persona and invisible production. I get the sense Bills fans still are glad he's gone even though the team didn't get anything in return.

But as long as he's with the Jets and getting Ryan excited, then there's reason to dread facing Maybin twice a year. He's now one of those villains Bills fans can't stand to see doing well.

(Photo: Julio Cortez/Associated Press)

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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 | [email protected]


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 | [email protected]


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 | [email protected]

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