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|Byron Brown, Buffalo's mayor, said he was shocked by the Bills' signing of Terrell Owens but promises a T.O. day and more if the Bills win a title.|
|Outside the Big Tree Inn, near Ralph Wilson Stadium, NFL icons are revered. Here are wood carvings of ESPN's Chris Berman (left) and former Bills great Jim Kelly.|
“ The rest of the country thinks we're knuckleheads because we signed him 48 hours after he got cut. But you know who doesn't think it's funny? The Jets and the Patriots. They're not laughing. ” -- Bills fan Dan SullivanSullivan recited his wife's words from that epic afternoon when he talked about the Owens signing. "It always can be a long offseason around here," Sullivan said, "but if the Bills are relevant in March, then I'm glad. "The rest of the country thinks we're knuckleheads because we signed him 48 hours after he got cut. But you know who doesn't think it's funny? The Jets and the Patriots. They're not laughing." Owens optimism was the prevailing sentiment at the Big Tree, but a tone of uneasiness was detectable. "Buffalo doesn't put up with B.S.," Orlow said. "We're known as The City of Good Neighbors. We aren't going to put up with no bad neighbors."
|Terrell Owens in Bills colors is a welcome sight for many local fans.|
“ The Bills have been a hush-hush team for the last nine years. This is going to be great for the organization. ” -- Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas, a former Bills star, on Terrell Owens' arrivalThomas recently caused a stir when he fielded questions at a local fundraiser. He told the gathering, "The team I can't stomach the most when I watch them is probably the Buffalo Bills. I'm serious. They stink." Thomas quickly retracted the comments, saying he got caught up in the moment of what was more of a comedy act. Owens is a serious move. The Bills should be fun to watch again, something they haven't been since Thomas was toting the ball during their Super Bowl years. "These players have to realize they're getting a guy that's going to make the Hall of Fame," Thomas said. "He's going to demand a lot from himself and the coaches and the other players. "The Bills have been a hush-hush team for the last nine years. This is going to be great for the organization."
“ It suits him [to play in a smaller market] so he can have some peace and quiet without the big city. ” -- Hall of Fame WR Michael Irvin on his friend Terrell Owens"The important thing was the first thing he said: 'They wanted me here.' He's a phenomenal man. He's a good dude. But he needs to feel wanted. He said, 'They wanted me here,' and he'll give them all he has because he feels wanted so bad." How often has a superstar player reached the open market and been met with public denouncements from so many teams? Irvin predicted Owens will reward the Bills for taking a chance on him when few -- maybe zero -- other clubs would. "Trent Edwards sent that text [to Bills chief operating officer Russ Brandon to inquire], 'What about T.O.?' I guarantee T.O. will know about that, and it will mean a great deal to him," Irvin said. "That means 'My quarterback wanted me here. The Buffalo Bills wanted me here.' "They'll get a monster of a player. I'll guarantee you that. Just throw the ball to him." There's a belief Owens will get bored in Buffalo. He has played for the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. Those are three of the top six markets in the U.S. Buffalo ranks somewhere around 50th. Irvin dismissed the idea Owens would act bigger than his surroundings. Irvin even went so far as to suggest Owens will thrive in a smaller setting. "His sanctuary is the football field," Irvin said. "You'll see more of an extroverted person on the football field. But in reality he can be an introvert. He's quiet and stays at home. When T.O. was in Dallas, whenever I would call him, he always was at home, watching TV. "It suits him [to play in a smaller market] so he can have some peace and quiet without the big city."
|Freight broker Molly Pace, right, wonders if Owens can improve the Bills' fortunes. "He can't make us any worse," she said.|
|Former Sabres star and current Buffalo resident Rob Ray marvels at the impact Terrell Owens' signing has had on the town.|