Donahoe Clarifies Comments: Since this afternoon's press conference Tom Donahoe has been under fire for comments he made. As we reported earlier today (see four subjects below), Donahoe had strong comments about some of the personal criticism Gregg Williams received. Donahoe released a statement this evening clarifying that he was talking about the Western New York Media and not the fans. He spoke to WGR radio and apologized saying he screwed up and the comments did not come out right.
Donahoe On Williams: Tom Donahoe thanked Gregg Williams for his service with the team and regrets that it didn't work out in Buffalo saying it isn't one person's fault and said Williams couldn't have worked any harder. He said the team did not progress this year, and actually regressed causing him not to renew Williams' contract. He said the final decision was made this morning. He felt Williams handled things with class and dignity through tough times calling him a pleasure to work with from beginning to end and wished him nothing but the best.
Donahoe On Coaching Search: Tom Donahoe said that the coaching search will begin immediately as he will sit down with Tom Modrak and Ralph Wilson tonight to start putting together a list immediately. He said there will be no specific criteria on what they want in a coach. He said the new coach will have a say in everything football related and called the job a pretty good situation for a new coach to be coming in to. He admitted he has to do a better job this time in selecting a coach than he did last time. He feels money will not be a factor in finding the right man. He promised a thorough and complete search and it will be done the right way. There is no timetable for finding the next head coach.
Assistant Coaches In Limbo: Tom Donahoe said he will meet with the assistant coaches tonight saying their jobs are in limbo at this point. They are all still under contract and are part of the team but he made it clear that the new head coach will have total control over who his coaches are.
Donahoe Rips Media: Tom Donahoe addressed them media late this afternoon after the statement was released saying that they will not renew the contract of Gregg Williams. Donahoe opened his remarks by ripping the media saying he is embarassed to be part of this community for some of the personal attacks and criticism that Gregg Williams has taken. He apologized to Williams for those personal criticisms calling them unfair and saying that people in Western New York should be ashamed of themselves. He called the name calling and personal attacks that has been directed towards Williams and Sabres coach Lindy Ruff as inexcusable. He went on to be defensive about the potrayal of him as a power hungry man and control freak. He said his only agenda is to win a championship.
Williams Thanks Everyone: Gregg Williams read a statement to the media after the team released a statement announcing they would not renew his contract as head coach. Williams thanks Ralph Wilson calling him and the organization first class. He thanked Tom Donahoe for giving him the opportunity saying he has positioned the team in good shape for the future and he is disappointed to not be apart of it. He went on to thank his coaching staff, Players, the community and his family. He said he hopes to coach again in the future and joked about becoming a radio talk show host. His name has already been linked with the defensive coordinator position with the Jets if Ted Cottrell is let go.
Williams Gone: The Bills have called a 4:15pm press conference today to announce that Gregg Williams will not return as head coach. ESPN is confirming that Williams is out. We will have complete coverage throught the afternoon.
Draft Order: The Bills will have the 13th pick in this April's draft following a 6-10 season. There were two other teams with the same record, Pittsburgh and the Jets. Tiebreakers have the Steelers picking 11th and the Jets 12th. Things did not break well for the Bills on the last day of the season. If both those teams had won yesterday (they both had good chances to win), the Bills would be picking 11th. This ironically is only one spot higher than the Bills would have picked after last year's 8-8 season but they traded the 14th pick last year in the Drew Bledsoe deal.
2004 Schedule Set: 14 of the 16 opponents the Bills will face every year until 2009 has been preset. Now that the season is over we know the other two teams the Bills will play is the Jaguars at home and the Raiders on the road. Besides the AFC East opponents, the Bills will play Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Arizona, and St. Louis at home. They will meet San Francisco, Seattle, Baltimore, and Cincinnati on the road. That is three trips out West for the team next year. Dates and times will be announced in the spring. 2004-2009 Future Opponents.
Brown's Agent Speaks: The agent for Ruben Brown broke the silence that has come from his camp over Brown's absence from the team. Eric Metz said Brown wasn't with the team because he was late for practice on Tuesday and the team barred him from two practices and prevented him from boarding the team plane on Friday. Metz said his client was apologetic for his tardiness and was eager to play despite not having an excuse for showing up late to practice. Brown did attend the end of season meeting yesterday. The Bills would not respond to Metz's comments sticking with the "personal reasons" line they have used since this ordeal began.
Bills Free Agents: It isn't too early to look at the Bills crop of free agents this off season. It's a small group, with just six unrestricted, four restricted, and two exclusive rights free agents. The biggest name is Antoine Winfield. We think the Bills should lock him up now. We have launched our 2004 front office page and it lists all the club's free agents. It will also keep track of all the player and coaching moves as well as contract signing details throughout the off season. It is your one stop shopping to keep track of what will be a very busy off season. Front Office Report.
What's Next? Now that the season is mercifully over for the Bills, what do they do next? Columnist Tony Bogyo takes a look at where the Bills stand and what moves they may make this off season. Complete Story.
Sunday December 28, 2003
Players Clean Out Lockers: The players cleaned out their lockers today at the stadium and Gregg Williams addressed the players for what will be the last time. He did not talk to the media. Ruben Brown was seen in the facility but his locker remained intact.
Williams Out Tuesday? Chris Mortensen reported this morning that Gregg Williams will be fired on Tuesday and that Drew Bledsoe will be back at quarterback. We reported after last week's loss to the Dolphins that Ralph Wilson said that Bledsoe would be back, so there is really no surprise there. There has been different rumors about when Williams would be let go but there is no question about it that he is gone. One report says he'll be gone tomorrow, the Bills have said that they would wait to later in the week to make decisions.
Brown A Mystery: The absence of Ruben Brown remains a mystery tonight. Tom Donahoe and Gregg Williams stayed with the story that he missed the game for "personal reasons" and wasn't suspended. The fact that a player that hasn't missed a game in nine years was absent from the season finale deserves some kind of explanation to the fans and media. Brown was at practice on Wednesday but was excused the rest of the week. Drew Bledsoe would not elaborate on the situation but did praise the way Gregg Wiliams has handled it.
Player To Clean Out Lockers: Today is the most depressing day of the season as the players will be at Ralph Wilson Stadium to clean out their lockers, some of them for the last time. Antoine Winfield is an unrestricted free agent and would like to go to a winner. Ruben Brown may have played his last game as a Bill after this week's turmoil. There is also a chance Drew Bledsoe will not be back. It will be an interesting off season that will begin with coaching changes for sure. We will be here to cover it every step of the way.
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