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Two Bills Canton Bound

The Bills this week signed 10 players, assigned six to NFL Europe, finished off their coaching staff and found out two former Bills will be headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Finally a busy week in the off season! Here's all the news from the past week complete with our take on the issues:

Two former Bills were among the five players elected for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this week. Joe DeLamielleure and James Lofton will be part of the Class of 2003. Ralph Wilson was a finalist but was eliminated on the first ballot. Joe D was an all-pro guard who paved the way for O.J. Simpson. He was a first time finalist who gained momentum from voters this week and was helped by the Bills PR machine, a chart that Ron Yary used to get in two years ago, and a great presentation by Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News. His presenter will be Larry Felser, formerly of the News. Lofton played with the Bills for four years, he had some of his best years with the Bills but spent most of his career with Green Bay and spent some time with the Raiders. Our Take: Congratulations to Joe D and Lofton but why isn't Wilson getting his due? He saved the AFL which made a Super Bowl possible, he kept the team in Buffalo when he could have gone elsewhere for more money. He is a hall of famer.

The Bills signed 10 players this week and assigned six of them to NFL Europe. Early in the week they signed, CB Ronald Hardge, TE Ryan Neufeld, RB De'Mond Parker, and LB Josh Stamer. Later in the week they signed six more and assigned all of them to Europe. They were, Jarett Ferguson, safety Milton Procter, LB Merceda Perry, RB Ken Simonton, K Jason Witczak, and OL Ronald Boldin. Our Take: Most of these players will be training camp fodder. The most interesting signings are both running backs who seem to have some talent. Parker has had some success on the NFL level with Green Bay. Simonton was great in college. Stevenson and Proctor have spent time with the team last training camp and may have an edge because of that. My question is, why not put some of the real talented players in Europe? Why not sent Travis Brown there?

The Bills rounded out their coaching staff this week by hiring Pat Ruel, Don Blackmon, and Les Steckel. Ruel comes from Green Bay and is the new offensive line coach. He has 28 years coaching experience, most recently as the Packers assistant offensive line coach the past two years. He was the line coach for Detroit in 2000. Steckel has been in the NFL for 20 years and has coached every offensive position as an assistant. He was the head coach of the Vikings in 1984. Most recently he was the offensive coordinator for Tampa Bay in 2000. He was the coordinator for the Titans for three years in the late 90's. Blackmon spent seven years as a linebacker with the Patriots and has been a linebacker coach since retiring in 1987. Most recently he was the defensive coordinator with the Falcons in 2001. Our Take: The Bills definitely added some experience to their coaching staff that was sorely needed.

One more possible addition to the staff remains Dick LeBeau. He flirted this week with going back to Pittsburgh but told Bill Cowher he would not return to the steel city. The Bills will talk to him this week about taking a job as an assistant to the defensive coordinator. Our Take: If LeBeau wants to coach at some level this year, he will take the job and add a wealth of experience to the team. He may see it as too much a step down and not want the job. This guy is being force fed to Gregg Williams and Jerry Gray by Tom Donahoe, that might not sit well with the rest of the coaching staff.

In other news, Tom Modrak is staying with the Bills after he didn't get the Jaguars job for the second time this off season. The only job opening left for a GM is Seattle and he reportedly is not interested in that job. Ralph Wilson speculated this week that Gregg Williams will get a contract extension this week, he doesn't see him being a lame duck this year. The length of the extension will be up to Tom Donahoe. Travis Henry is going to the Pro Bowl as Priest Holmes backed out this week because of his hip injury. Our Take: Other teams loss is the Bills gain that Modrak is staying for yet another year. Williams will get his extension since his newly hired assistants have longer contracts then him now, they signed two year deals. It will be nice to see Henry in Hawaii.

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