Bills notebook: Injuries mount in devastating loss

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Things went from bad to worse Sunday for the Buffalo Bills after the final whistle had sounded in a 15-14 loss to the Denver Broncos at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Following the deflating season opener came the news that four players were lost to injury, likely all for lengthy amounts of time.

The M.A.S.H. unit reads like this: Starting safety Ko Simpson fractured an ankle in the first quarter. Linebacker Coy Wire, already starting in place of the injured Keith Ellison, suffered a sprained MCL and starting cornerback Jason Webster broke his forearm.

Perhaps the most serious injury, though, came to reserve tight end Kevin Everett. On the opening kickoff of the second half, Everett lowered his head and met Denver returner Domenik Hixon in a helmet-to-helmet collision.

Bills coach Dick Jauron said after the game that Everett suffered a cervical spinal injury and was taken to a local hospital for observation, but declined to comment further. The team said any news on Everett’s condition would be released as soon as it was available.

An eerie silence filled the Ralph as trainers and paramedics attended to Everett. Players from both sides wore looks of concern as Everett lay motionless on the field. He was then carefully placed on a stretcher and taken off in an ambulance while the Bills huddled in a team prayer, clearly concerned for the health of the third-year tight end.

“Those are all pretty substantial injuries,” Jauron said.

Tasker becomes 24th member of the Wall

One of the most recognizable names from the glory days of the Buffalo Bills will now be on display at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Steve Tasker became the 24th member of the team’s Wall of Fame during an induction ceremony at halftime of Sunday’s game.

As a special teams standout for 13 seasons in the NFL, Tasker made seven Pro Bowls and appeared in four Super Bowls. He recorded 204 special teams tackles and blocked seven punts in his career.

“There’s never been one like him before, and there’ll never be one like him again,” Bills general manager Marv Levy, Tasker’s former coach, said during Sunday’s ceremony.

Tasker started his speech by thanking Bills owner Ralph Wilson. He went on to also thank Levy, saying about his presenter, “you were the only guy on earth who could have got these knuckleheads (Tasker and his teammates) pointed in the right direction every week.”

Since retiring, Tasker has been one of the most visible members of the great Bills teams of the early 1990s. He resides in East Aurora.

Tasker, who has stayed in the game and works as a color analyst for CBS on the network’s NFL coverage, concluded his speech by thanking Bills fans.

Murphy released, Preston inactive

Prior to Sunday’s game, the Bills announced tight end Matt Murphy was released from the 53-man roster. The team listed safeties John Wendling and George Wilson, linebacker Keith Ellison, defensive end Ryan Denney, offensive lineman Duke Preston and defensive tackle Tim Anderson as inactives.

Denney and Ellison are out with injuries, while Preston and Anderson appear to have slipped down the depth chart. Preston failed to beat out Brad Butler and Jason Whittle for the starting job at right guard, while the decision not to dress Anderson meant Jason Jefferson served as the fourth defensive tackle.

Fairchild moves to the sidelines

After calling plays from the coaches’ box last season, Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild found himself closer to the action Sunday, moving to the sidelines.

“It quickens the play call to J.P. and that helps him,” Fairchild said in a release, explaining the move. “It gives us a few extra seconds to digest the play call.”

Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, who started on the sidelines last season, moved up to the coaches’ box midway through 2006, where he was Sunday.

Ticket-donation program returns

For the second season, the Bills engineered a ticket-donation program. Players purchase season tickets and donate them to a charity or organization of their choice. Among the players participating in 2007 are: Angelo Crowell, Ryan Denney, Terrence McGee, Brian Moorman, Ryan Neufeld, Peerless Price, Josh Reed, Robert Royal, Aaron Schobel, Josh Stamer and Anthony Thomas.