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Buffalo Bills Video Dynasty (Madden)

Started By bhurst99, Mar 10, 2013 10:30 AM

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#1

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July 15, 2012

No matter how much he convinced himself he was ready for the end he still feared the pain, the unknowing, the helplessness of it all.

It raced through his mind again: He was going to die.

It was God's great equalizer. No matter who you were, how much or how little you had, every man faced the same fate. There was no escape. No one to bargain with, no deals to be made. It was final.

It wasn't a thought 93-year old Ralph Wilson liked to contemplate. He knew he had led a rich, full life -- World War II veteran, successful businessman, husband and father. He had been elected to the NFL Hall of Fame as a builder for his role in the AFL and NFL as the Buffalo Bills owner. Even the stadium where he his team played bore his name. He couldn't have wished for a better life. By any measure, it had been extraordinary.

There were so many mornings he told himself he was ready for the next world, ready as any man could possibly be for death. That the nagging pains of old age were too much to bear. That once your body deteriorated to a certain point you were no longer living; you were just surviving.

But he knew all that was a lie. There was so much beauty in this world, so much to cherish.

He loved the crisp Autumn Sundays when Ralph Wilson Stadium was so alive. Grinning fathers and sons tossing footballs in the parking lot before games. The smell of sausages cooking on open grills. The sound of laughter between friends, the roar of crowds at kickoff. The electricity of it all!

Football was more than just a sport in western New York. It was part of the very fabric of the community. If you lived in Buffalo it was an integral part of your identity. It didn't matter if you were black or white, female or male, a lawyer or a warehouse worker. Everyone was united on Sunday. Everyone wanted a win for their Buffalo Bills.

The Bills were his greatest accomplishment and his greatest failure.

He had founded the team, kept the Bills alive when the steel and manufacturing industry collapsed and the city's population decreased to the point that in 2000 its population was less than it was in 1900. He had done it with the lowest ticket prices in the NFL. The team soared to great heights and was the talk of the NFL when it became the first and only team to appear in four consecutive Super Bowls between 1990 and 1993.

But that was a long, long time ago.

The four losses in the Super Bowl had cemented the city's inferiority complex. To make matters worse the team had missed the playoffs 12 consecutive years, an eternity. He had refused to accept his Hall of Fame award at the half time of a home game as scheduled because he feared he would be booed and cursed.

He heard the chatter grow louder everyday that the team would be better off with new owners, better after he was dead!

This team that had brought him such happiness and such joy to the community was now bringing him hatred. How could that have happened? It was impossible!

Ralph Wilson looked out the window of his executive office at the sun-drenched empty stadium. He pictured the stadium full of fans standing and cheering wildly like they had in the 1990s. He promised himself he would see that again before he died.

He was going to turn this football team around.

He had signed one of the best defensive players in the league, defensive end Mario Williams to a six-year, $100-million dollar contract. He didn't care if people thought it was too much money tied up for one player. It was his money.

His name was not going to become synonymous with losing. He was going to go out a winner and he was prepared to make one more change to make sure that happened.

Death was going to have to wait a little longer.

#2

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I'm looking forward to this one!

#3

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July 22, 2012

Ralph Wilson read the words "cleaned house" in the media report and immediately turned off his computer in disgust. He hated that phrase.

"Cleaned house" ignored the feelings and complexities of the people dismissed. These were the people who spent seven days a week planning for the next game, stayed up until 3 am in the morning watching game tape, fell asleep from exhaustion in their office. They were the face of the franchise in front of the media. They sacrificed much of their family life for the club. It was no wonder why so many football people were divorced.

There was nothing worse than telling a coach or a general manager that he was a failure in your eyes. When Wilson had dismissed someone in the past, he could see in their eyes that he had ripped out their heart and soul.

It was an awful feeling to prepare yourself to fire someone. You stayed awake for days before telling a coach your decision, rehearsing your speech in your nightmares, struggling to find the right words to thank them for their service and tell them they had 30 minutes to clean out their desk and leave. It was an impossible contradiction: Thank you for your time, we appreciated that you sacrificed seeing your kids grow up for the club. Now get lost.

Destroying a man's spirit should never be referred to simply as "cleaning house"

But terminating the contracts of Buffalo Bills general manager Buddy Nix and coach Chad Gailey was a necessary evil. Wilson couldn't afford to have them carry on through another failed, mediocre season. His time left on this Earth was short.

If Wilson was going to take the blame for the failures of the franchise you better believe he was not going to sit around and delegate football decisions. He had always stayed in the shadows, allowing the general manager, his assistants and the coaching staff to make decisions he rarely questioned while he simply signed the cheques.

And how had that worked out? No playoffs for the past 12 years. No championships since joining the NFL.

Wilson didn't want to be the general manager alone. He knew he needed strong football minds around. He had seen the disaster that accompanied fellow owners Al Davis and Jerry Jones when they attempted to make their teams' personnel decisions. He simply wanted more control over what happened on the field and for once the final say. He was aware of the limitations of his age and the demands the job required.

He was determined to do as much as he possibly could with every breath he had left to personally turn around this team. He was going to make this his final mission of his life. It gave him energy just thinking about it.

Wilson knew no one could ever know that he was in charge of personnel decisions. If that leaked the fans would revolt. The very same fans whom he loved and adored and wanted to reward with a championship would never stand for the idea of a 93-year old taking charge of the football decisions. He would be a laughing stock.

He had to stay in the shadows. He needed someone willing to take the title of general manager but not have all of that position's powers, more of an advisor than a real general manager.

And he desperately needed that person to do it in complete secrecy, never revealing the truth and defend Wilson's decisions as though they were his own.

Wilson thought it best that the same person be named both general manager and coach as coaching the team on a day-to-day basis would provide more of a distraction and make it less likely he would meddle in Wilson's decisions. He smiled as he considered his project.

Wilson leaned back in his chair and restarted his computer. He knew the perfect person to contact for the job.

#4

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July 28, 2012

What in the world have I done?

It was the thought that rattled around Bryan Hurst's brain when he shook the hand of Ralph Wilson at the podium as dozens of cameras flashed.

Hurst had just been introduced as the new general manager and coach of the Buffalo Bills at a hastily called press conference in the depths of Ralph Wilson stadium and he was full of self-doubt.

It had been nearly a week since he received a phone call out of the blue from the 93-year owner asking if he was interested in returning to the NFL. He would have been less surprised if an alien the Mars Rover uncovered in the rocks had tried to phone him.

Hurst was so far removed from the NFL when Wilson called him he didn't even know the Bills win-loss record from the previous season or most of the names of the players on the roster. He hadn't coached in the NFL since 2009 when he led a talented Philadelphia Eagles team to a disappointing 9-7 record and was abruptly fired after just one season.

http://www.operation...adden-09-a.html

The firing sent him into a depression. He questioned his own decisions, his own thoughts. Why had he punted on fourth and three? Why hadn't he blitzed more? He tossed and turned re-living every moment of the season. He had watched every game of that failed season at least a dozen times in the month after he was fired.

Had every decision he had made during his life that led him to that point been wrong? Had all the time he spent learning football been a complete waste of time?

His friends in high school and college were now doctors, lawyers and teachers. They had fallen in love and had families. What did he have? Failure, nothing but crushing failure in both his professional and personnel life. His life seemed nothing but a series of cruel jokes. Incredible opportunities would fall in his lap but he was incapable of spinning those opportunities into success. He was an abject failure at everything he touched.

There had been nothing like the spotlight of being a NFL coach. The highs were as soaring as a view from Mount Everest. After a win when you walked across the field and shook the other coach's hand, there was no feeling like it. You were the conqueror who had strategically led his troops to victory. No one commanded respect like a NFL coach. There were only 32 jobs like it in the world and having one of them was like holding gold in your hand.

Wilson had asked Hurst on the telephone only one question nearly a week ago: How far was he willing to go to be coach and general manager? Hurst nearly laughed as he looked around at his one-bedroom condominium unit overflowing with empty beer, gin and rum bottles that he couldn't find the energy to take back to the liquor store. He didn't hesitate: "Anything. You name it, Mr. Wilson."

Wilson then dropped the bombshell: Hurst would have input into the personnel decisions but Wilson would have the final say on all decisions. Hurst was going to be just a figure head as general manager, treating all of Wilson's decisions as his own and defending them -- if needed -- in the media as his own.

Unbelievable. No wonder Wilson was offering him the job. No one else would ever agree to those terms. He was a football coach not a Hollywood actor.

For a moment, Hurst contemplated rejecting Wilson but the more he thought about it, the more he couldn't find a decent reason to say no.

Most coaches don't get to make personnel decisions. Most coaches are stuck with the players the general manager drafts and signs. He was no actor, but during the past two years when Hurst had tried to ease his pain and self-loathing with booze, hadn't he convinced his remaining friends and family that he was stable? If he could be a functional alcoholic couldn't he also wear the disguise of pretend general manager?

He could make this work. The gold was going to be back in his hands. He was going to be somebody again.

"I'm your man, Mr. Wilson," he had told the Bills owner on the telephone that day.

But once the press conference that announced his signing was complete and he posed for photographs, Hurst came face-to-face with Wilson for the first time and realized this was an impossible situation. He knew Wilson's age but when he pictured Wilson in his mind's eye when he spoke with him on the telephone he imagined someone in their 70's, a grandfatherly type. But now he realized he was thinking of someone 20 years younger than the man before him.

What a fool he was!

Hurst had no doubt Wilson still had all his faculties and was oriented to time and space. This was no Alzheimer's patient; he still had a sharp wit and a great memory. But how in the world could he take on all the work of a general manager? How could he evaluate talent effectively?

This was bound to result in catastrophic failure. He couldn't make this work. Every week he defended Wilson's moves as his own he was going to be laughed around the league at as an idiot. He would never work in football again.

Hurst needed a drink now. A couple of rye and cokes would help him sort things out.

#5

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Aug. 2, 2012

Bryan Hurst was learning there were plenty of surprises with the Buffalo Bills.

If there was one good thing about the team missing the playoffs for 12 consecutive seasons, it was that the team had plenty of high draft picks. Although some of those picks had been busts, some were beginning to show promise.

C.J., Spiller, the ninth overall pick in the 2010 draft, was explosive in training camp. If he reached the second level of the defense, his lateral speed and quick ability to change directions was a nightmare for linebackers. Spiller and veteran running back Fred Jackson had the potential to be dynamic out of the backfield.

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Stevie Johnson, a late draft pick in 2008, was blossoming into an elite wide receiver. He had surpassed 1,000 receiving yards last year and was proving to be an elusive, sure-handed wideout in practise. He already had a fantastic chemistry with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

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But the unexpected skill level of players on the offense wasn't the thing that shocked the Buffalo Bills new coach and general manager the most. It was how hungry everyone seemed.

This training camp had been far different than the last one he ran in 2008 with the Philadelphia Eagles. There players like Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook and Brian Dawkins were established stars. They had been to the Super Bowl; they knew what it took to get ready on Sunday. There were never too up or too down. They were calm and cool professionals who expected to succeed..

But maybe that had been part of the problem. They had taken success for granted. When the game didn't follow the script, when something unusually bad happened like a kicker missing an extra point -- that calm and coolness could be mistaken for a team stunned silent and ineffective.

It was clear after a few days with these Buffalo Bills that wasn't going to be a problem. Bryan Hurst was no psychiatrist -- although he wondered if it wasn't a good idea to have a degree in psychology to understand the varied personalities a NFL coach encountered -- but it seemed like there was some serious bipolar issues on this team.

Successive successful offensive plays in practise brought out loud cheers and high fives. Series where the offense couldn't move the ball against the defense were treated like a military surrender, heads dropped, players cursing.

Hurst had never seen players wear their emotions on their sleeves in practise like this group. It was clear that past years' failures and the abrupt firings of the coach and general manager before the season had everyone on edge even before the season began.

It would be his job to mold that energy into victories and that hunger into spending hours learning the playbook and studying their opponent's game films. Maybe this could work.

First, he had to make sure the players were focused and self-disciplined. Penalties could kill a team.

And just as that thought crossed his mind, it happened.

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Defensive backs Stephon Gilmore and George Wilson destroyed a receiver clearly out of bounds in a scrimmage.

Hurst blew his whistle. "What in the world are you guys doing. We're not trying to kill our receiving core before the season starts. You would both have been flagged for unnecessary roughness."

It was one of dirtiest hits Hurst had ever seen in a scrimmage. It was also one of the most wonderful things he had seen.

This team was ready to explode against real opponents.

#6

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Aug. 4, 2012

After his third Crown Royal and coke, Bryan Hurst realized there was nothing to worry about.

No, there was no sense worrying about something that was completely out of his control.

He had been full of dread before his meeting with Buffalo Bills owner and de facto general manager Ralph Wilson. Wilson was going to decide which four players had to be cut before the team's first pre-season game; it was the first of many decisions Hurst was going to have to pass off as his own.

A lesser man might have felt a little intoxicated with that many drinks before such a meeting, but Hurst found it merely dulled his anxiety. It allowed him to focus at the task at hand; everything else faded into the background.

He was going to have live with whatever crazy decision Wilson made. All he could do was make suggestions to Wilson. Hurst hoped that Wilson had learned what to look for in a player when making his decisions. Too many were simply blind by a player's physical appearance. It didn't matter in the NFL if you were a 6-foot-4, 300-pound lineman built like a Greed God. Just about everyone at this level looked like that.

It reminded Hurst of a joke: If you were one in a million guy in China, there was still a 100 people just like you. It was just like that in the NFL.

A 6-foor-4, 300 pound lineman was useless if he wasn't agile or smart enough to pass block or pull on sweeps. Hurst wonder if Wilson understood that.

When Hurst entered Wilson's office, he was surprised how many binders and charts were on the 93-year old man's desk. There didn't appear to be a free spot on the desk; some appeared to defy gravity as they hung off the desk at odd angles. Somebody was obviously helping put together all this material for Wilson. Who was doing that?

"I've looked at all the tape from the scrimmages and the practises and I think we should cut the following players. What are your thoughts, Bryan?"

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For not the first time since he had been named coach and general manager, Hurst was pleasantly surprised.

The cuts Wilson was making were sound. The team had an excess of centers and right guards making Garrison Sanbourn and Keith Williams easy decisions. It wouldn't surprise Hurst if another center needed to go later in training camp.

Cutting two defensive tackles this early in camp was a bit unusual, but certainly a defensible move.

"I think that's sound reasoning, Mr. Wilson. We have seven defensive tackles. That's too many," Hurst said.

"It's done then. Please be polite when you give them news. Hopefully, they'll land other jobs," Wilson said. "I don't want to keep you from your team."

Hurst knew it was time to leave and rose from his chair.

"One other thing, Bryan. I know it's only pre-season but try to pull out the win against Washington. Pre-season wins set a good tone for the season and help with ticket sales," Wilson said.

"On a personal note, I have had to sit in a few NFL Board meetings with Daniel Synder. A pompus, arrogant fellow I'm not particularly fond of. Sometimes even at my advanced age these games can be personal. Go win."

"Of course, Mr. Wilson," said Hurst. He made a mental note to refrain from playing third string quarterback Tyler Thigpen until the second exhibition game.

As Hurst closed the door and left, Wilson thought there was something unusual in Hurst's demeanour today but he couldn't quite put his finger on it.

#7

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Aug. 4, 2012

After his third Crown Royal and coke, Bryan Hurst realized there was nothing to worry about.

No, there was no sense worrying about something that was completely out of his control.

He had been full of dread before his meeting with Buffalo Bills owner and de facto general manager Ralph Wilson. Wilson was going to decide which four players had to be cut before the team's first pre-season game; it was the first of many decisions Hurst was going to have to pass off as his own.

A lesser man might have felt a little intoxicated with that many drinks before such a meeting, but Hurst found it merely dulled his anxiety. It allowed him to focus at the task at hand; everything else faded into the background.

He was going to have live with whatever crazy decision Wilson made. All he could do was make suggestions to Wilson. Hurst hoped that Wilson had learned what to look for in a player when making his decisions. Too many were simply blind by a player's physical appearance. It didn't matter in the NFL if you were a 6-foot-4, 300-pound lineman built like a Greed God. Just about everyone at this level looked like that.

It reminded Hurst of a joke: If you were one in a million guy in China, there was still a 100 people just like you. It was just like that in the NFL.

A 6-foor-4, 300 pound lineman was useless if he wasn't agile or smart enough to pass block or pull on sweeps. Hurst wonder if Wilson understood that.

When Hurst entered Wilson's office, he was surprised how many binders and charts were on the 93-year old man's desk. There didn't appear to be a free spot on the desk; some appeared to defy gravity as they hung off the desk at odd angles. Somebody was obviously helping put together all this material for Wilson. Who was doing that?

"I've looked at all the tape from the scrimmages and the practises and I think we should cut the following players. What are your thoughts, Bryan?"

Posted Image

For not the first time since he had been named coach and general manager, Hurst was pleasantly surprised.

The cuts Wilson was making were sound. The team had an excess of centers and right guards making Garrison Sanbourn and Keith Williams easy decisions. It wouldn't surprise Hurst if another center needed to go later in training camp.

Cutting two defensive tackles this early in camp was a bit unusual, but certainly a defensible move.

"I think that's sound reasoning, Mr. Wilson. We have seven defensive tackles. That's too many," Hurst said.

"It's done then. Please be polite when you give them news. Hopefully, they'll land other jobs," Wilson said. "I don't want to keep you from your team."

Hurst knew it was time to leave and rose from his chair.

"One other thing, Bryan. I know it's only pre-season but try to pull out the win against Washington. Pre-season wins set a good tone for the season and help with ticket sales," Wilson said.

"On a personal note, I have had to sit in a few NFL Board meetings with Daniel Synder. A pompus, arrogant fellow I'm not particularly fond of. Sometimes even at my advanced age these games can be personal. Go win."

"Of course, Mr. Wilson," said Hurst. He made a mental note to refrain from playing third string quarterback Tyler Thigpen until the second exhibition game.

As Hurst closed the door and left, Wilson thought there was something unusual in Hurst's demeanour today but he couldn't quite put his finger on it.

#8

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#9

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#10

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Sweet!

#11

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Washington at Buffalo, Exhibition Game One



#12

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#13

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I really like the graphic infusion in this dynasty. I might have to start playing Madden again. It looks awesome these days! 


Who Dat? 


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#14

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#16

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August 12, 2012

Some say winning is everything. But in the pre-season winning isn't always the best thing.

A week ago the Buffalo Bills were hungry to prove to new coach Bryan Hurst that they were ready for a new season, eager to learn and show the world their determination to make the playoffs.

But now just days after a one-point victory against the Washington Redskins, Hurst saw a bunch of players who believed their press clippings. The desire to quietly study the playbook had already been replaced by a need to show swagger, to beat their chests as though to say "Look at me!" after every tackle and every pass batted down.

This was the side of football Hurst hated: Bravado over brains. The belief you were better than you were and this curious desire that your opponents must show you respect even though that respect hadn't been earned.

After C.J. Spiller rushed for 170 yards and Ryan Fitzpatrick had gone a perfect 6-for-6 against the Redskins, the offensive players had become insufferable.  Spiller was openly talking about rushing for 1,500 yards and Fitzpatrick was telling receivers the offense should average 30 points a game.

After Fitzpatrick overthrew an open David Clowney in practise and shrugged his shoulders, Hurst had enough. You couldn't afford to make mistakes like that and shrug it off. Fitzpatrick, a Harvard graduate who had one of the highest scores ever on the Wonderlic Test given to NFL draft picks to test their intelligence, should have known better. He should have known that as the starting quarterback, he was the de facto leader of the team and that many would take their cue from his attitude.

"That pass right there would have been intercepted by Devin McCourty and taken to the house," said Hurst.

That got everyone's attention. Hurst had deliberately chosen a safety from the hated division rival New England Patriots for maximum effect.

"Not this year," said running back Fred Jackson. "This year it's our turn. This year we've got the weapons to match them touchdown for touchdown. They're not going to disrespect us no more."

"Fred, how long have you been here?" asked Hurst.

"Six years," said Jackson.

"And how many years have you heard your teammates say, 'This is our year. We're going to beat New England. We're going to make the playoffs," And how many times did it come true?"

Jackson was silent for a few seconds. Everyone knew the answer was zero.

"Ah, C'mon, coach. That's not fair," said Fitzpatrick.

"Not fair. That's perfectly fair. Aren't you guys tired of lying to yourselves about how good you are? Yeah, you guys are good enough to play in the NFL. Congratulations. Now how about trying to earn that big pay check. How about not being afraid to turn on the highlights on Sunday night," Hurst was yelling now, making sure everyone could hear. Players were crowding around, beginning to grumble.

"We'll show you. This is going to be our--," said Jackson.

"Stop with that 'Our year' garbage," Hurst was talking fast now, angry. "You know what you guys are. You guys are the Buffalo Bills, the laughing stock of the NFL. Twelve consecutive years out of the playoffs. Twelve consecutive seasons of bad football players. Players who thought they were all that until Sunday exposed them for what they really are: frauds."

"You forgot the 12 years of bad coaching," said defensive back Terrence McGee. "I'm sick of losing like everyone else but I believe in my guys."

"You can believe all you want but don't disrespect the game," Hurst held a football in his right hand and he pounded it with his closed left fist. "Don't tell me in August that you're going to beat the Patriots. I don't want to hear about your fantasy. I don't want to hear about anything but the play we're currently working on. Until we get each play in the playbook right, I don't want to hear about beating anyone."

"Hurst is right," said defensive end Chris Kelsay. "We played well against Washington. Big deal. I'm tired of the optimism every Fall only to see us make mistake after mistake in October. No more mistakes."

Hurst threw the football to Fitzgerald.

"Back in formation. Let's run that play again. This time I want the pass to be lower and toward the sideline where it can't be intercepted."

It was humid and Hurst was now sweating like a matador in a Spanish bull ring. He couldn't wait to return home for a cold beer.



#17

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#18

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#19

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Aug. 15, 2012

As Bryan Hurst saw the rage in the man's eyes, he pushed through the paralysis of fear to reach for the phone to call 9-1-1. There wasn't enough time.

"Stop," Hurst blurted out. He raised his shoulder, turned his body in his chair and tried to shield his head to guard against the impact of the blow. He closed his eyes and waited for the sharp pain from this 6-foot-7, 326-pound giant.

But all he heard was crying..

Hurst opened his eyes and saw that Colin Brown was now sitting in the chair -- the same chair a moment ago Brown had lifted above his head and was preparing to throw at Hurst -- with his head in his hands bawling, tears running down both cheeks.

All this because Hurst had told the Buffalo Bills center he was cutting him.

"What am I going to do?" Brown sobbed.

Hurst had no idea. He was just glad it didn't involve assaulting him with an office chair.

"The only thing I know is football. It's been the only thing I've been good at my entire life and now that's over. I can't believe this is happening," said Brown.

These were the stories you never read about on blogs or in newspapers. For every fantastic NCAA college standout who made the NFL, there were hundreds, maybe thousands, who had their dreams crushed and had to find life in the real world.

billsbrowncut_zpscd850849.png

"There are other teams. Maybe your agent can find you another team," said Hurst.

"Let's be honest, coach. Backup linemen don't get cut from Buffalo after the first preseason game and get picked up by other teams," Brown said, his voice rising. It was true.

Hurst knew he had to calm Brown down fast before his demeanor changed again and he turned into the Incredible Hulk.

"You're right," Hurst said. Best just to agree with everything Brown said.

Hurst had no idea this normally mild-mannered midwestern player from Missouri was going to erupt like a volcano. Brown had barely said a peep since Hurst had arrived as coach. That's why he never anticipated there wouldn't be a problem when he called Brown into this office alone to deliver the bad news.

Hurst had been incredibly naive to believe that even Brown could see the writing was on the wall, that he wasn't nearly agile or powerful enough to be a successful NFL center. How could Brown himself not see it?

Brown was the only cut Hurst and owner Ralph Wilson had to make this week and it had been an easy decision despite the fact he had been in the league for a couple of seasons.

"I'm sorry, coach. I don't know what got over me. I was just so angry when you told me the team no longer needed me. Football has been my whole life," said Brown.

"What am I going to do," Brown started sobbing again, just when it appeared he was regaining his composure.

"You've got a good education. There's plenty of jobs out there for young men with your work ethic," said Hurst.

"I'm 26 and have no work experience outside of playing football," Brown replied.

"I know you're a hard worker and quick learner. You'll find something," said Hurst.

"If I'm a hard worker and quick learner why did you cut me?" asked Brown

Hurst didn't know what to say so he meekly shrugged his shoulders. He didn't want to tell the truth and have the rest of the coaching staff find him dead with chair legs sticking out of his chest the next morning.

How could he be so stupid to not have brought along one of the assistant coaches, Hurst thought.

A minute of silence past while Brown looked at the floor. Hurst couldn't tell if Brown was still crying or if Brown was contemplating the most painful way to murder Hurst.

"Coach, I've got a baby on the way," Brown said quietly.

"I'm sorry but the decision has been made," Hurst said.

"Why don't you share a drink with me?" Hurst asked. He had no idea if Brown even drank alcohol but he sure as Hell needed a drink. He dug out his keys from his pocket, opened the bottom drawer of his desk, pulled out a bottle of Crown Royal and two tumblers.

"No, thanks. I know you've got a bus to catch with the rest of the team to get to the airport," said Brown.

Hurst poured an ounce of Crown Royal into each tumbler, passed one across the desk to Brown, and quickly slugged one back. It felt warm going down his throat.

"I'm going to go," Brown said, rising from the chair. "Good luck this season. I'm not up for talking to the other players. Tell them I love every one of them and I'll be rooting for them all season."

"Good luck" Hurst stuck out his hand to shake Brown's hand. Brown simply opened the door and left without returning the handshake.

Hurst watched him leave the office area and when he was out of sight, he sat down again, took the drink he had poured for Brown and drank it.

"Never cut a 6-foot-7 player without anyone else being around. Lesson learned," mumbled Hurst.



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bhurst99
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