Bills owner backs Rex Ryan's decision to fire former 49ers OC


Bills owner backs Rex Ryan's decision to fire former 49ers OC

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills owner Terry Pegula dismissed any doubts Monday regarding Rex Ryan's authority over the team and the coach's decision to fire offensive coordinator Greg Roman.

"We do things together like any well run org would," Pegula wrote in a text message to The Associated Press. "Head coach runs the team and staff."

Pegula's comments were in response to questions raised over Ryan's authority, and who made the decision to fire Roman on Friday.

Citing unnamed sources, NFL Network reported Sunday that Pegula and his wife, Kim, held private meetings with key Bills players without Ryan being present before determining to fire Roman. The report then questioned whether it was Ryan's decision to make the change.

On Monday, Ryan reiterated the decision was his, adding he had no problem with the Pegulas meeting with players.

"There's a couple of things I think that we need to all understand. No. 1, I made the decision on letting Greg Roman go. I think that's it, final," Ryan said. "In regards to the reports about how players were seeing ownership, that happens all the time."

Ryan said he considers it a positive that the Pegulas get involved, and added they don't need his permission to speak to anyone because they own the team.

As for the report, Ryan dismissed it as being unfounded.

"Do I believe some of the reports that are out there? No," he said. "I know that some are ridiculous."

Ryan is taking heat with the Bills off to an 0-2 start in his second season as coach.

First, Buffalo's offense sputtered in a 13-7 season-opening loss at Baltimore. Then it was the defense's turn to unravel in a 37-31 loss to Ryan's former team, the Jets, on Thursday. The Bills' schedule continues to be daunting, with Buffalo hosting Arizona on Sunday before traveling to New England on Oct. 2.

Ryan acknowledged it wasn't an ideal time to fire Roman, but said he recognized it as time to make a change in a bid to kick start the Tyrod Taylor-led attack. The Bills have had difficulty sustaining drives in combining for just 27 first downs and 553 yards offense in two games.

Anthony Lynn, the team's running backs/assistant head coach, was promoted to coordinator. Lynn was overseeing the offense on Monday, when the Bills held a brief practice following a two-day break.

Though much of the offensive playbook will remain the same, Ryan expects Lynn to devise an aggressive attack and emphasize Buffalo's playmakers.

Receiver Sammy Watkins has been limited to six catches for 63 yards. Buffalo's LeSean McCoy-led ground game has particularly struggled in combining for 151 yards rushing a season after leading the NFL with 2,432.

Watkins said it was too early to judge what impact Lynn might have after just one practice.

Without going into much detail, Watkins said he was one of the players who met with the Pegulas on Friday. Watkins said the discussion centered on what the Bills need as a team, and nothing specifically involving Roman.

He said the players should take the blame for what's gone wrong.

"We can't blame anybody," Watkins said. "We can do better and play better. And there's things we need to fix. We talked about that."

Terrell Owens selects former 49ers coach as his Hall of Fame presenter


Terrell Owens selects former 49ers coach as his Hall of Fame presenter

Terrell Owens has selected former 49ers special teams and wide receivers coach George Stewart as his presenter into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“He knew what to get out of me,” Owens told the Hall of Fame.

“He knows who I am. To know who Terrell Owens is, you have to spend some time with him. . . George Stewart became a father figure to me.”

Owens was elected into the Hall of Fame in February. He will enter the Hall of Fame in a class that also includes wide receiver Randy Moss, linebackers Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher and Robert Brazile, safety Brian Dawkins, guard Jerry Kramer, and contributor Bobby Beathard.

Owens played special teams under Stewart’s direction as a rookie after coming to the 49ers in 1996.

From 2000 to ’02, Stewart worked as the 49ers’ wide receivers coach. Owens was selected to three consecutive All-Pro teams and Pro Bowls during that time. Owens ranks No. 2 all time behind Jerry Rice with 15,934 receiving yards. He is third all-time with 153 receiving touchdowns.

Stewart is set to enter his 30th NFL season as an assistant coach and his second as special-teams coordinator of the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Class of 2018 will be enshrined inside Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, on Saturday, Aug. 4.

Sherman makes his concern over Reid's free-agency status loud and clear


Sherman makes his concern over Reid's free-agency status loud and clear

Safety Eric Reid, who has 69 career starts and one Pro Bowl appearance in his five-year NFL career, remains available on the open market more than a week after the opening of free agency.

Reid has received no reported interest from NFL teams in what has been an unusually soft market for free-agent safeties. But, with Reid, there is another variable that could be playing a factor.

Reid was at the forefront of the social activism that has been a major storyline in the NFL since the beginning of the 2016 season. Reid and former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the playing of the national anthem in protest of racial inequality in America.

Reid has remained outspoken and has taken a knee as a way to “make people uncomfortable about the issues.” Reid has been clear his protest has nothing to do with the flag or the anthem.

“The anthem is just a vehicle to get us to have those conversations,” Reid told NBC Sports Bay Area last season. “It’s the platform we have. It’s the only time we have to get the eyeballs on us to do that. If we just did locker-room talks afterward, nobody would even know. Strategically, this is the only way we thought we could do it.”

Veteran cornerback Richard Sherman, who signed a three-year contract with the 49ers on March 10, had been the Seattle Seahawks’ player representative. He is a vice president of the NFL Players Association. Reid was the 49ers’ union representative.

Sherman said he is keeping a close eye on Reid’s situation.

“We are concerned, because he played at a high level for just about every year that he’s played in this league,” Sherman said on Tuesday. “He’s made enough plays to be signed with a team and to make his money. He deserves his money. Safeties make a certain amount. I would think he’s top-five, top-10 safeties in this league, so he deserves to be paid accordingly.

“So there is concern there, because you would think a player of his caliber and his quality would be picked up by now. I think great teams are still looking and people are still looking for players. I’m praying that he gets picked up. But if he doesn’t, then I think there will be a conversation with the league office and the union on potential league action.”

Kaepernick never got so much as an opportunity to compete for an NFL roster spot during training camp last season. Could Reid, 26, be heading for the same fate?

Reid addressed the issue last week on social media:

“The notion that I can be a great signing for your team for cheap, not because of my skill set but because I’ve protested systemic oppression, is ludicrous. If you think is, then your mindset is part of the problem too.”

The 49ers have not placed a priority on re-signing Reid. The club already has potential starting safeties Jimmie Ward, Jaquiski Tartt and Adrian Colbert under contract for the upcoming season.

Reid, whom the 49ers traded up to select with the No. 18 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, has 10 career interceptions. He appeared to thrive last season in run support as a safety who played closer to the line of scrimmage.