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Chat Today

Quick reminder that I'll be chatting at 1 p.m. today. Assuming it'll begin with a half-hour video chat with Tim Graham, but they're shorthanded on the video side. Either way, we'll have a nice, long print chat after the video portion. If no video, we'll go at 1 anyway.

Jackson Moves Up

Fred Jackson has gained 303 yards in three games this season, moving past Antowain Smith and Cookie Gilchrist and into seventh on the Bills' all-time rushing list. Jackson has 3,163 yards. Next on the list are Willis McGahee (3,365) and Wray Carlton (3,368). Thurman Thomas tops the charts with 11,938. O.J. Simpson finished his Buffalo career with 10,183 rushing yards.

Jackson fell to fourth in the NFL in rushing. Oakland's Darren McFadden took over the rushing lead. But Fred and McFadden are both averaging a gaudy 6.4 yards a carry. Jackson is second all-time among Bills in yards per carry with 4.6. Simpson leads with 4.80 a rush. Jackson keeps track of such things and would love to surpass O.J.'s average gain record, but it's a long shot.

Benson appeal

It looks as if Cedric Benson will play for the Bengals.  Benson is continuing to appeal his suspension on a third-degree assault charge and his lawyer does not feel a decision is imminent. 



Review video chat with Graham, plus regular chat

News Senior Sports Columnist Jerry Sullivan answered your questions directly into the camera along with The News' Tim Graham, before continuing with his regular chat.

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Sad Day for Big East

It was truly a sad weekend for the Big East. First, Dave Gavitt, the founder and first commissioner of the conference, died of congestive heart failure at age 73. Before starting the Big East, Gavitt was the basketball coach at Providence College. He led the PC team of Ernie DiGregorio and Marvin Barnes to the Final Four in 1973, when I was a senior in high school and the Friars were the toast of Rhode Island. People in the state have never forgotten that magical team, or Gavitt.

Then, on Sunday morning, the news came that Syracuse and Pittsburgh were leaving the Big East for the ACC. That seems like a mortal blow to Big East basketball. To me, Syracuse WAS the Big East. It was the iconic member of the league when college hoops took off as a national TV vehicle on ESPN. I'll never forget the night when Pearl Washington sank a halfcourt shot to beat Boston College. Now both SU and BC are gone to the ACC. Funny, but Onondaga Lake never struck me as the Atlantic Coast.

Big-time college sports has become a morass of greed and corruption. My disdain for it grows by the day. There's a very good story in this week's Atlantic on the subject, by noted author and civil rights historian Taylor Branch. Traditional conferences are being torn apart in the name of greed. The Big 12, which was the Big 8 when I attended Missouri, is in danger of unraveling.

It's hard to say what will happen to the Big East now. Maybe some lesser, ambitious schools (UB?) will try to get in. But it'll never be the same. It will never be the way it was when I would head over to the Blarney Rock in Manhattan to hang out with basketball fans from all over the Northeast during Big East week in the 1980s. Those days are gone. Traditions expire quickly these days. It's hard for an old Big East fan to take. More and more, I think about becoming a fan of high school sports.

Review video chat with Sully, Tim Graham

News Senior Sports Columnist Jerry Sullivan was joined by Tim Graham for a video chat with both answering your questions directly into the camera. Sully had to be at One Bills Drive to interview assistant coaches this afternoon, so there was not a traditional live chat this week.

NOTE: The first 10 minutes of the video chat were not recorded due to technical problems.

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Mark Gaughan Chat

Mark Gaughan is chatting right now on the billboard site. Don't miss it!

Good Deal for Sabres

The Sabres made a wise move by extending young defenseman Tyler Myers for seven years and $38.5 million. That's an average $5.5 million salary for a gifted D who figures to be an All-Star and team anchor for years to come. If revenues and salaries continue to rise in the NHL -- a reasonable assumption based on trends in pro sports -- it will look like a bargain down the road.

Think about it. In the dark days of the Golisano era, a $5.5 million salary could have kept the likes of Daniel Briere, Brian Campbell and Chris Drury in Buffalo. They all wound up signing for much more as unrestricted free agents. That was five years ago. It's hard to say what Myers could have fetched if he had decided to play out his deal and hit the free market in another year. It would have been more than $5.5 million, and a lot more if Myers had another season like he did as a rookie. And who knows what $5.5 milllion will look like five or six years from now in the NHL?

Terry Pegula means business. He also knows it's good business to lock up your stars early, instead of waiting for their bargaining power to soar with the market. That's a lesson that was lost on Golisano in the first years of unrestricted NHL free agency.

The Bills should pay attention, too. This deal puts even more pressure on them to take care of their underpaid stars. The Sabres didn't want Myers to play another year while being compensated well below his talent and achievements. The longer the Bills do that to Ryan Fitzpatrick, Stevie Johnson and Fred Jackson, the worse it looks.


Chat Today

I'm chatting today, but it will likely be video-only at 2 p.m. Sorry. I have to go to One Bills Drive today to interview an assistant coach at 12:30. Assistants aren't available on Wednesday media day, which would of course be more convenient for a lot of reporters.

Tim Graham will be alongside for the video again this week. We promise not to ramble.

Running Angry

Fred Jackson confirmed what seemed apparent to any Bills fan on Sunday: He's running angry these days. Jackson has always run with a bit of a chip on his shoulder. He was undrafted and has to keep proving he deserves his spot as the No. 1 back. But remember, he went public with his ire three weeks ago when C.J. Spiller started a preseason game. Fred made it clear that he feels he is underpaid and suggested he might seek a trade. The issue has died down, but it hasn't gone away completely.

Angry, Fred?

"Great adjective," he said Monday in the Bills locker room. "Bryan (Scott) said it to me earlier today. I told him that angry running is great on Sundays. But I feel it on Monday and Tuesday."

Jackson had 112 yards on 20 carries against the Chief. He ran with his customary determination and skill, and he seemed to get better as the game went along. Jackson had 10 carries for 66 yards after halftime. He now has 726 yards in his last nine games, dating back to the midpoint of last season.

The guy seems to get stronger with more carries.  He says that all the time. It's one reason why the notion of splitting carries evenly with C.J. Spiller is a bad one.

"I think every running back in the league would agree with that," Jackson said. "The more carries you get, the better you feel about a game and the better you're able to produce."

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