Here’s the Bills news of note for Feb. 16th.
1 - The Life of Thurman on stage
He might be a Hall of Famer, but it’s probably not something even Thurman Thomas expected. Sure there have been video pieces on Thomas football career, but nothing like this. Road Less Traveled Productions is putting together a musical stage production of Thomas’ life and career for its second annual ‘Buffalo Stories’ fundraiser.
The production company has spent time interviewing Thomas to put together a comprehensive script for the performance. Titled ‘The Life of Thurman Thomas,’ the show will run for two nights on June 2nd and 3rd at the Road Less Traveled theater at 500 Pearl Street in Buffalo.
The theater company’s ‘Buffalo Stories’ initiative began in 2016 with their first subject being former Buffalo mayor Anthony Masiello.
Tickets go on sale on March 1st and can be purchased by calling 716-629-3069.
2 - Bills have short franchise tag history
On Wednesday we took a look at the potential franchise and transition tag players across the league including Buffalo’s
In 1996, the Bills used the franchise tag for the first time on LT John Fina to keep him on the roster. The club had him signed to a five-year extension by mid-June.
Buffalo wouldn’t use the franchise tag again until 2003 when they utilized it to keep WR Peerless Price from hitting the free agent market following a breakout season in which he had 94 receptions for 1,252 yards and nine touchdowns in his first season with Drew Bledsoe.
The Bills knew they were not realistically in a position to give Price a long-term blockbuster contract just two years after making Eric Moulds one of the highest-paid receivers in the league. So GM Tom Donahoe ended up orchestrating a sign and trade deal with the Falcons. Price was sent to Atlanta with the Bills getting the Falcons first-round pick in the 2003 NFL draft.
Buffalo used that pick to take RB Willis McGahee 23rd overall.
Three years later the Bills used the franchise tag on Nate Clements to keep the cornerback from signing elsewhere like fellow cornerback Antoine Winfield had done following the 2003 season. Clements would play the 2006 season under the franchise tag, and though there was strong consideration by the club to franchise Clements a second time, he was ultimately allowed to hit the free agent market. The cornerback signed with San Francisco, who made Clements the highest-paid defender in league history with an eight-year $80M contract.
The tag would be used on another defensive back when the Bills franchised Jairus Byrd in 2013. Tied for third in the league over his first four seasons with 18 interceptions, Byrd held out and did not sign the franchise tender until Aug. 20th. He appeared in 11 games in 2013 and logged four interceptions.
In 2014 the Bills allowed Byrd to hit free agency where he signed a gigantic free agent deal with New Orleans for six years and $54 million.
Last offseason the Bills used the franchise tag on starting left tackle
3 - Brother of former Bills QB to reportedly be next Falcons QBs coach
He may have been the most popular third string quarterback in Bills history. Gibran Hamdan never appeared in a regular season game for Buffalo, but was on the Bills roster for three seasons (2007-09). Now his brother, Bush Hamdan, is making a name for himself in the coaching ranks.
He will reportedly be named the new quarterbacks coach of the Atlanta Falcons as first reported by the Sporting News and later by the Seattle Times. Hamdan has ties to Falcons new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian.
Hamdan, 31, played quarterback in college at Boise State and was most recently the receivers coach at the University of Washington, under his former college coach Chris Petersen.
But he has experience as an offensive coordinator at Arkansas State and Davidson, and also had coaching stops at Maryland and Florida under Ralph Friedgen and Will Muschamp. Both have spoken very highly of him.
"When Bush worked for me, I thought he was one of the bright young coaches in the profession,” said Terps former head coach Ralph Friedgen. “He took over coaching the quarterbacks for us when James Franklin left for Vanderbilt and did an extraordinary job for our bowl game. I've recommended him many times and I think he's an up-and-coming star."