Newman wished Bills were more honest

Keith Newman was on his way to Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport heading home after visiting with the Houston Texans on Monday. He recalled his last season in Buffalo and wished Bills management dealt with him using a little more integrity.

"Just be honest with players. We're all adults. We understand the business," he said, as if he were talking to Tom Donahoe and Gregg Williams personally. "Just be honest."

But is anyone really honest in pro sports management or other high-profile businesses? Look at George W. Bush. Is he being honest with me? I can't help but believe that the president has a few ulterior motives for attacking Iraq.

Ironically, Newman was making his case for truthfulness while leaving Houston, the hometown of Enron, which set the standard for corporate dishonesty.

Then he sighed and said, "It's just the business."

I'm not sure that makes it OK, but Newman is accepting that. He's about to sign a pretty good free agent contract, and we all have a price that will allow us to put up with certain aspects of our professions.

The business of pro football has increasingly become a "truth-is-what-we-say-it-is" kind of outfit, which is not a philosophy that focuses on disseminating blind facts to the public.

Unfortunately, most corporate institutions, including this country's federal, state and local governments, have become that way too. Public relations officers manage our information. I didn't elect White House spokesman Ari Fleischer to the presidency, yet I see him on the news answering questions with reporters as if he's running the country.

The problem is that journalists have been all too willing to accept this setup. It's inexcusable. But it's going to be hard to change the landscape now.

Sorry for digressing.

I respect Newman for never lashing out at management when things were going awry for him. He told me today, however, what he thought of the Bills' way of handling things.

"It's something that I didn't think was very professional. But there wasn't a whole lot I could do. I just took it as it was and that's it. I'm personally excited about starting fresh," he said.

As for the perception that Donahoe wants his own players in Buffalo, he said, "It's not perception. Perception is something that people think they see that's not necessarily reality. But if you look at the guys who aren't here since the new administration came in, you can pretty much see that they've focused on bringing in their own guys."

It is reality – a reality that now has Newman close to signing with Houston.

He enjoyed the visit Monday and he'd be reunited with his good friend, former Bills linebacker Jay Foreman, who plays right inside linebacker. Foreman just signed a five-year, $10 million deal.

Newman would play new Bill Jeff Posey's old position, right outside linebacker, a switch from what he played in Buffalo the last three seasons.

Newman might also soon visit with Atlanta and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, as well as Cincinnati, and New England. But he's hoping that a deal with the Texans comes to fruition.


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