Bills take to field in weekend minicamp

The Buffalo Bills have opened their first minicamp of the 2006. New head coach Dick Jauron gets his first look at the entire team assembled. Topping the news and notes on the first day was the beginning of the open competition for a starting quarterback, and the noticeable absence of the team's top three stars in RB Willis McGahee, LB Takeo Spikes, and CB Nate Clements.

Minus the marquee names, the overall turnout for this optional player camp was impressive. Over 60 players took to the Bills Fieldhouse Turf at One Bills Drive.

The Bills designated Clements their franchise player guaranteeing paying him about $7.2 million next season. The two sides are attempting to negotiate a long-term contract. Clements failed to accept the one-year contract as the team's franchise player. Like most players in the league who get designated and refuse to sign with this tag, he will most likely stay away from early camps and team activities until a longer term deal can be hammered out. Clements' agent, Todd France, said there were "no new developments at this time," in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

Takeo Spikes isn't expected to fully recover from a torn Achilles tendon until the start of training camp in July. The recovery and rehabilitation from injury has been progressing on schedule.

Jauron said star RB Willis McGahee had a non- football commitment but was planning on getting to town Friday night. He is expected to participate during Saturday's and Sunday's activities.

On the field, the attention was focused on the three way open competition for the Bills starting quarterback job. Opening with the starting offense was journeyman Kelly Holcomb. Signed as a free agent backup in 2005, he saw significant playing time when JP Losman struggled with the offense.

Both Losman and newly acquired backup Craig Nall received an equal amount of snaps that Holcomb received. The Bills coaching staff is committed to giving all three an equal opportunity to win the job outright.

Wilson blasts CBA

Meanwhile, Buffalo Bills owner Ralp Wilson called a press conference to lash out at the larger revenue clubs, who he claims such owners like Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys or Daniel Snyder of the Washington Redskins took advantage of the smaller revenue clubs like Buffalo.

Wilson said: "They, to me, and this is just my opinion, don't have the same values about the league as the old guard did."

Wilson also said he met with local polititians and tried to implore fans "to get active, to get angry" and write to the NFL, outgoing commissioner Paul Tagliabue, the league and elected officials on the team's behalf.

He first raised his concerns earlier this week in a meeting with New York Gov. George Pataki. Wilson told Pataki that he's committed to keep the Bills in Buffalo, but, "the long-term viability of our franchise may be in serious doubt."

Wilson also was vehement in denying he was looking to sell the club. He also said he is not looking for local support for a new stadium, implying that the Bills would still be behind an economic 8-ball. Under the new deal, Wilson said it wouldn't make much difference whether the Bills built a new stadium because the team would unlikely be able to generate much more revenue in an economically troubled market like Buffalo.

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