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  1. #1
    singersp's Avatar
    singersp is offline PPO Newshound
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    Sep 2005

    Ex-Bills worthy of their price tags

    Posted on Wed, Sep. 27, 2006

    [size=13pt]Ex-Bills worthy of their price tags[/size]

    Williams, Winfield say payback isn't due in return to Buffalo

    Pioneer Press

    Since the inception of free agency in 1993, the Vikings have prided themselves on resisting the temptation to overspend on other teams' players.

    But frustrated by an inability to improve their defense through the NFL draft, the Vikings finally relented when, in 2003, they once again fielded one of the 10 worst units in the league.

    So in consecutive offseasons, the Vikings targeted players from the same club: the Buffalo Bills.

    In 2004, the Vikings uncharacteristically outbid another club, the New York Jets, and signed cornerback Antoine Winfield to a six-year, $35 million contract that included $10.8 million in guarantees. Then, on the first day of free agency in 2005, the Vikings beat out multiple teams and signed defensive tackle Pat Williams to a three-year, $13 million contract that included $6 million in guarantees.

    Last season, while Williams and Winfield helped the Vikings' defense improve to 21st in the NFL, the Bills' defense nosedived to 29th.

    This weekend, Williams and Winfield return to their NFL birthplace and reunite with old friends.

    "I haven't been back there, and there will be some familiar faces," Winfield said. "I get to play against my former team, and I still have some good friends over there. I'm going to have fun."

    Williams said he still has "homeboys" on the Bills, among them linebackers Takeo Spikes and London Fletcher. But he's glad two front-office people are no longer there: former general manager Tom Donohoe, who was fired, and coach Mike Mularkey, who resigned.

    "All them dumb a—-s are gone," Williams said. "If they were still there, I would have a problem with (the Bills). But they got Marv (Levy) running things, and they're trying to get things back on line."

    In 1997, Levy, then the head coach of the Bills, nurtured Williams, an undrafted free agent out of Texas A&M. And thanks to mentor Ted Washington, Williams developed into an anchor of the Bills' defensive line.

    "I enjoyed it there, because I got a chance to play with all the old-school guys, like Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas and Andre Reed," Williams said. "And we had the No. 1 defense one year (in 1999)."

    But the durable, hard-working Williams was snubbed during the 2004 season, when the Bills' front office "disrespected" him with what he called a "terrible deal."

    "I was like, 'Don't even worry about it. I'll play my season and see what happens,' " Williams said.

    Winfield was surprised the Bills didn't try harder to keep Williams.

    "I think it hurt them when they let Pat go," Winfield said. "Teams just started running against them."

    Last season, the Bills' run defense ranked second-to-last in the NFL.

    During the 2005 offseason there was no shortage of interest in Williams, who is considered one of the league's most dominant interior linemen. Because of his remarkable combination of quickness and size and his ability to draw double teams, he was coveted by numerous clubs, including the Houston Texans, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, New York Giants and New York Jets.

    Williams chose the Vikings for one reason: defensive tackle Kevin Williams.

    Pat Williams said he needed to play in a defense in which he wouldn't constantly be double-teamed. With Kevin Williams coming off an all-pro season after registering 11½ sacks in 2004, Pat Williams figured the Vikings provided the ideal fit.

    "I wanted to come here, because they (opposing offenses) got to respect Kevin," Williams said. "They got to respect one of us. If they focus on me, then Kevin is going to kill them."

    With Kevin Williams slowed by a knee injury at the beginning of the 2005 season, the Vikings didn't see the full benefits of the fearsome twosome until late in the season. But both are healthy now, and they have keyed a strong start for the defense this season.

    "His weight is down; my weight is down," Pat Williams said. "Everybody is good."

    They have combined for 30 tackles, one sack, 15 quarterback hurries, two passes defended, three tackles for loss and one forced fumble.

    Winfield, meanwhile, has arguably been the defense's most consistent and reliable player the past two years, and he finished with a team-high 92 solo tackles last season, a remarkable figure for a cornerback.

    This season, Winfield is off to a tremendous start. He is tied for the team lead with 21 tackles, and he returned an interception 7 yards for a touchdown Sunday against the Chicago Bears.

    In Buffalo, the Vikings' 12th-ranked defense will try to outshine the unit one spot above it. But Williams and Winfield aren't worried about bragging rights.

    Asked if the return to Buffalo will be at all emotional, Williams quickly said, "No."

    "I'm just going to go handle my business," Williams said. "I'm sure 'Toine doesn't care either."

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
    kinzua's Avatar
    kinzua is offline Waterboy
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    Sep 2006

    Re: Ex-Bills worthy of their price tags

    Pat is still a fan favorite in B-lo.
    He's a classy guy who got the shaft from former GM Tom Donahoe.
    You won't find a lot of Bills fans sorry that both Donahoe and Mularkey are gone.

    I supported Donahoe at first, but he constantly let quality players walk and replaced them with bargain basement guys who couldn't do half as well.
    The first move that really rubbed me wrong was when Donahoe released former Pro Bowl guard Ruben Brown.
    Ruben's pretty long in the tooth, so I don't know if he's still starting for the Bears, but last season he anchored that great Chicago OL at LG -- and the Bills had Fat Bennie "The Penalty" Anderson whiffing on blocks and letting our QBs get killed.

    In 2003, Donahoe managed to wreck the offense by trading Peerless Price and not replacing him.
    In 2005, Donahoe managed to wreck both the offense and the defense by completely mishandling the QBs and gutting the D.

    BTW, hats off to your GM, Rick Speilman, for turning Daunte into a #2 draft choice!!!
    All the little Carppies in South Florida were sure Daunte was going to take them to the SB ...
    and now they're whining in their Coronas!
    He's the perfect "upgrade" at QB for the Carp -- keep 'em the AFCE cellar where they belong!
    (Bills fans feel about the Dolphins the way Vikes fans feel about the Packers!)
    Ain't you glad there's still a few of us left, who know how to rock your world
    Ain't afraid to eat fried chicken and dirty dance to Merle
    Ain't you glad we ain't no California girls

    -- Gretchen Wilson

  3. #3
    Vikes_King's Avatar
    Vikes_King is offline Jersey Retired
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    Dec 1969

    Re: Ex-Bills worthy of their price tags

    BTW, hats off to your GM, Rick Speilman, for turning Daunte into a #2 draft choice!!!
    All the little Carppies in South Florida were sure Daunte was going to take them to the SB ...
    and now they're whining in their Coronas!
    He's the perfect "upgrade" at QB for the Carp -- keep 'em the AFCE cellar where they belong!

    (Bills fans feel about the Dolphins the way Vikes fans feel about the Packers!)
    haha, glad to please you then =P, dante can put up numbers when he's got an o-line and someone to dump it to constantly, but he fumbles way too god damn much.. he'll be the perfect asset for the bills - the only weapon they need to beat the phins is dante starting for them lol

    but in all seriousness, i love both winfield and phat pat, easily two of my favorite and the most fun players to watch on the defense

    got an autographed winfield jersey hanging in my room =P

    "We’ll win our own Super Bowl, with our own players. Real Vikings. Something Brett Favre can never be."

    - Dan Calabrese

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