NFL Nation: Tom Cousineau

Gholston, Cousineau make Kiper's bust list

March, 26, 2011
In a column for ESPN Insider, draft institution Mel Kiper listed the 40 biggest non-quarterback bustsInsider since he put out his first draft guide in 1978.

Five AFC East picks made the cut. Here they are along with Kiper's comment:
  • Linebacker Tom Cousineau, Bills, first overall in 1979: "He was kind of an undersized guy, even in 1979, and his career didn't match his work in Columbus."
  • Running back Sammie Smith, Dolphins, ninth overall in 1989: "Smith played with a bruising style for FSU but wasn't explosive enough in the NFL."
  • Tackle Mike Williams, Bills, fourth overall in 2002: "An absolute mammoth at 370-plus pounds, Williams got starts but never lived up."
  • Defensive tackle Dewayne Robertson, Jets, fourth overall 2004: "Only 16 sacks in his career for a guy we thought would really penetrate and be a menace."
  • Outside linebacker Vernon Gholston, Jets, sixth overall in 2008: "Finally time to call it what it is. Amazing physical skills, but not even Rex Ryan could save him."

Report: Moss 'willing to sit out season'

November, 3, 2010
Boston Herald writer Ian R. Rapoport, citing a source close to Randy Moss, reports the receiver is willing to sit out the remainder of the season if an unattractive team claims him Wednesday.

The Minnesota Vikings waived Moss on Tuesday. Clubs can submit a claim for him in reverse order of their records, with the winless Buffalo Bills holding top priority and the 6-1 New England Patriots at the back of the line.

Moss' only NFL options if he gets claimed would be to play for his new employer or refuse to report. Maybe he would reunite with former coach Dennis Green and quarterback Daunte Culpepper with Sacramento of the UFL (I write half-jokingly).

Moss would be free to sign anywhere in the NFL only if none of the 32 teams submits a waiver claim.

The source told Rapoport that Moss "wants a ring" and is "willing to sit out the season."

So unless the Bills want to be publicly embarrassed -- hey, Jim Kelly and Tom Cousineau famously refused to show up in Orchard Park and chose to play in other leagues -- they probably should pass on Moss.
Posted by's Tim Graham

If not for the USFL's creation and quick demise, Buffalo Bills fans almost certainly wouldn't have experienced those incandescent days of four straight Super Bowls and Hall of Fame thrills.

That's what I kept thinking as I watched the latest documentary in ESPN's "30 for 30" series, "Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL?"
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images
Jim Kelly joined the Bills after a stint with the USFL’s Houston Gamblers.

Bills fans must be thankful not only for the USFL's founding fathers, but also for the man most responsible for tearing it down, Donald Trump.

The upstart league folded in 1985 and sent 187 alumni to the NFL. One of the most significant players was Houston Gamblers quarterback Jim Kelly, who reported to the Bills and had a Hall of Fame career.

"The USFL made me what I was when I played in the NFL," Kelly tells filmmaker Mike Tollin. Kelly also was a guest on ESPN Radio's "The Herd with Colin Cowherd" to discuss how playing for the Gamblers shaped him.

Unless you're a Buffalo sports fan who believes in fate -- and if you are, then you must live an unyieldingly depressing existence, wondering why Wide Right, the Music City Miracle and No Goal have forsaken you -- it's easy to see how the timing of the USFL's fleeting lifespan set up the Bills' back-to-back-to-back-to-back AFC championships.

Bills fans despised the USFL for harboring Kelly and luring away star running back Joe Cribbs, yet no other team benefited more from the USFL than the Bills did.

The man who built their Super Bowl teams (Bill Polian), his eventual replacement (John Butler) and the man who coached them (Marv Levy) all came from the Chicago Blitz. Three-time Pro Bowl center Kent Hull was undrafted out of college, but proved himself with the New Jersey Generals.

I'm a firm believer in the butterfly effect. Even the smallest occurrence will influence the variables connected to it.

Had Kelly signed with the Bills and not the Gamblers in 1983, who knows what would have happened?

Maybe Kelly, still trying to gain confidence as a professional, takes a beating that alters his future. Maybe he plays well enough that the Bills win more than two games in 1984 and don't get to draft Bruce Smith with the No. 1 overall draft pick.

Had the USFL never existed, maybe Kelly pulls a Tom Cousineau and refuses to report to the Bills at all, forcing a trade. Hull most likely doesn't get discovered.

Perhaps the Bills get lucky and draft another star quarterback, but there's a greater probability those AFC titles disappear like the fingers on Marty McFly's hand in "Back to the Future."

Polian wouldn't have gotten his break when he did. Somebody else would've needed to make selections such as Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed and Shane Conlan.

Without the USFL, enough variables would have altered Bills history that they wouldn't have gone to four consecutive Super Bowls.

And it's safe to say one other memorable event wouldn't have occurred.

Birmingham Stallions kicker Scott Norwood probably wouldn't have made it to the NFL either.