McGahee issues touchdown rebuttal

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The profanities ceased for a moment, silenced by Willis McGahee's convincing rebuttal. As the locally reviled Baltimore Ravens running back dove into the end zone after juking Buffalo Bills safety Donte Whitner off his feet and rudely stiff-arming safety George Wilson to the ground for a 46-yard touchdown run, his score was greeted by a quiet Ralph Wilson Stadium.

His former Buffalo teammates didn't have anything to say, either.

"All I heard was my teammates around me," McGahee said after rushing for a season-high 114 yards on 19 carries during the Ravens' 19-14 loss Sunday to the Bills. "My focus was on the game. I don't pay attention to that stuff. I really didn't feed into the crowd, to tell you the truth.

"They pretty much stopped talking after I got that touchdown. I really wasn't talking trash. I don't have anything against them."

Following a messy divorce from the Bills in March where McGahee was traded for three draft picks after suggesting that the Bills be moved to Toronto and, later, criticizing the city of Buffalo's women, nightlife and restaurants, McGahee remains a polarizing figure here.

There were bar specials for fans willing to burn or shred their old McGahee No. 23 jerseys, going along with rap songs that chanted, "Baltimore got our garbage because Willis is trash."

Still, McGahee said he doesn't really care about Bills Nation's opinion about him.

"They can have hard feelings," the former Pro Bowl runner said. "People are going to do what they are going to do. They're grown men. When you leave this place, the fans get upset. They never want to see players leave."

Because of the outcome, McGahee acknowledged that it was a bittersweet return to Buffalo, where he spent the first four seasons of his career after being drafted in the first round out of the University of Miami.

Ironically, the Bills are trying to get the NFL to approve an annual preseason and regular-season game in Toronto in an attempt to improve their dim financial prospects. Apparently, McGahee's suggestion isn't that ludicrous.

"That's their business," McGahee said with a smile. "It's not my decision. I'm not going to be there."

Meanwhile, McGahee's replacement, Bills rookie first-round pick Marshawn Lynch, rushed for 84 yards and one touchdown on 27 carries.

"It wasn't anything personal between me and him, but you can't think about anything but that with the fans and every time he touched the ball, they would boo," Lynch said. "I've been watching Willis since I was young, so I've always admired him as a running back."

McGahee was stuffed for one yard on his first five carries, but he broke out after halftime. McGahee couldn't help gloating a little and admiring his handiwork after a third-quarter touchdown run where he embarrassed the Bills' secondary and flashed rarely-witnessed breakaway speed.

"It was a great call, I had to make one person miss and it was off to the races," McGahee said. "I wanted to get one-on-one with George Wilson. He hasn't been back there long and you've got to take advantage of it.

"I was dreaming of this. I was dreaming of taking it to the house. I said, 'I'm going to get him.' I said, 'He's going to hit me high.' It was a wrap."

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.

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