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No talks with Jairus Byrd, Andy Levitre while staff evaluates roster

By Tim Graham

NEW ORLEANS -- In the past month, the Buffalo Bills have fired their head coach, hired a new one, filled out an entire coaching staff, made progress in finalizing the stadium lease agreement and extended their agreement to play games in Toronto.

So now what?

Bills president Russ Brandon told The Buffalo News today at the Super Bowl XLVII media center that new head coach Doug Marrone and his assistants will "spend a majority of this month evaluating our roster, now that they're on the ground and going full speed ahead."

Brandon indicated the Bills have not held substantial talks with their free agents yet. The group includes Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd and left guard Andy Levitre.

"The timeline is we need to sit down as a group personnel-wise and put our game plan together on how we're going to approach things," Brandon said.

"As far as talks are concerned, there’s nothing at this point that’s concrete. We would love to have both guys back."

Brandon said General Manager Buddy Nix will make the calls on roster moves in free agency and in the upcoming draft.

"I will provide leadership to the organization within every element of our operation," Brandon said. "But no different than you hire a director of ticket operations to run the ticket department, you hire football people to run the football department.

"When it comes to those decisions, Buddy will make the final decision on how we move forward in the draft in free agency. We'll obviously work together in all that with Coach Marrone."

Steve Tasker: Super Bowl XLVII destined for sudden death

By Tim Graham

NEW ORLEANS -- Steve Tasker will be a sideline reporter for Sunday's telecast of Super Bowl XLVII and is protecting his objectivity. He refuses to pick a winner.

But the popular Buffalo Bills alum did make one prediction about what will transpire between the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens.

"I predict overtime," Tasker told me today in the Super Bowl XLVII media center. "The head coaches may as well be twins. The teams are built with the same philosophy. They look alike when you watch them practice.

Continue reading "Steve Tasker: Super Bowl XLVII destined for sudden death" »

QB revolution: Trent Dilfer pegs Jameis Winston future No. 1 pick

By Tim Graham

NEW ORLEANS -- Trent Dilfer already has his No. 1 overall draft choice slotted for 2015 or so.

"I know what's coming," Dilfer said Thursday in the Super Bowl XLVII media center. "I know the kid at Florida State, Jameis Winston, will be an absolute rock star.

"He'll be the first pick of the draft if the first pick goes to a team that wants to run the pistol, zone-read, have a passer. He's that kind of kid."

Dilfer, the Super Bowl-winning quarterback 12 years ago and ESPN analyst, also instructs high school and college players. He has seen a glimpse into the future, and he's convinced the pistol formation and read-option are here to stay and will change the game.

Continue reading "QB revolution: Trent Dilfer pegs Jameis Winston future No. 1 pick" »

Mike Haynes wants Andre Reed to join him in the Hall of Fame

By Tim Graham

NEW ORLEANS -- Mike Haynes wants Andre Reed to go into the Pro Football Hall Fame and get a prostate exam.

I'll explain the second part below.

But here's what Haynes, the Hall of Fame cornerback from the New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders, told me about Reed's candidacy for a gold jacket when the 2013 class is announced this weekend.

Continue reading "Mike Haynes wants Andre Reed to join him in the Hall of Fame" »

Ex-Bill Mickey Washington a lawyer on NFL players board

By Mark Gaughan

Mickey Washington started at cornerback for the Buffalo Bills in their fourth Super Bowl in the 1993 season.

Now he's a lawyer in Houston, Texas, and he has a prominent position with the NFL Players Association. Washington is one of nine players on the NFLPA's Former Players board of directors. That board's chairman is ex-Bills linebacker Cornelius Bennett, and he has filled that role since 2010. Washington also is on the NFLPA's Player Business executive committee, which works to bring business executives and former players together.

Washington played two seasons with the Bills, 1993 and 1994, and still wears his AFC Championship ring, which features four jewels signifying the team's four straight conference crowns.

"When I left Buffalo I became a union rep and got involved in Jacksonville," Washington said. "After my career was over, I went immediately to law school."

Washington graduated from Texas Southern law school.

"I've been practicing law for 10 years now," he said. "Labor, employment and business law. I represent a couple players on the side, as well. Going to law school was always my plan as a player."

Sunday's game will be the first Super Bowl that Washington has attended since the Bills' 30-13 loss to Dallas on Jan. 30, 1994, in Atlanta. The Bills were leading, 13-6, at halftime.

What does Washington remember of the game?

"I remember thinking at halftime, '30 minutes and I'm a champion,' " Washington said. "That's kind of my recollection. The hoopla all around the game is so much more magnified now."

Super Bowl XLVII audio: Ravens offense versus 49ers defense

NEW ORLEANS -- The News’ Tim Graham and Jerry Sullivan provide daily audio analysis from the site of the Super Bowl:

Jim Kelly never has watched any of the Bills' four Super Bowl losses

By Mark Gaughan

Buffalo Bills Hall-of-Fame quarterback Jim Kelly will appear on the television show "CBS Sunday Morning" on Super Bowl Sunday for a report on the psychology of winning in sports.

"Never have seen a game film in any of the Super Bowls, never watched one," Kelly tells CBS reporter Susan Spencer. "If I went back, I would have to repeat that all over in my mind. ... I'm at ease now. I'm at a peace of mind, peace in my heart now knowing what we accomplished, even though we didn't win them. I feel all right with that."

Spencer also interviews experts on the subject of winning -– and losing.

Kelly on the subject: "There’s always going to be a major emphasis on winning, because that's just the way society is. That's just the way our culture is. That you want to be No. 1 at the end. ... If you're No. 2, at times, there's no doubt No. 2 is looked upon as mediocre, as a person that didn't achieve it, sometimes as losers."

Audio: Buffalo Bills and Ray Lewis chatter with Shredd and Ragan

By Tim Graham

NEW ORLEANS -- Ray Lewis' strange journey into the sunset continues to dominate conversations about Super Bowl XLVII.

Shredd and Ragan from 103.3 The Edge checked in with me again this morning to chat about that and what's being said about the Buffalo Bills as the NFL world congregates in New Orleans for Sunday's big game between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers.

Brad Smith's foundation gives him important position in hometown

About a thousand kids around Youngstown, Ohio, have gone through Buffalo Bills receiver Brad Smith's camps and workshops staged by his True Foundation. (Photo: Courtesy True Foundation)

By Tim Graham

NEW ORLEANS -- What is Brad Smith?

He left college as a record-breaking quarterback, was converted into a wide receiver, was switched back to quarterback and then to receiver again. He's more like a running back when used in Wildcat formations and has excelled as a kick returner.

Whether Smith was with the New York Jets or Buffalo Bills, settling on a label for him has been difficult.

And to about a thousand kids around Youngstown, Ohio, he is called a motivator, a facilitator, an inspiration.

Continue reading "Brad Smith's foundation gives him important position in hometown" »

Super Bowl XLVII audio: Will Andre Reed finally get into the Hall of Fame?

NEW ORLEANS -- Buffalo Bills legend Andre Reed is a candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the seventh consecutive year. Will he finally get selected this year? Listen to Buffalo News writers Mark Gaughan, Jerry Sullivan and Tim Graham discuss Reed's candidacy and the selection process.

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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 |