Former Buffalo Bills TE Ernie Warlick dies at 80

Former Buffalo Bills TE Ernie Warlick dies at 80

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Anyone who ever met Ernie Warlick couldn't miss the size of his hands. It's what earned the former Buffalo Bills star his nickname, ``Hands,'' and helped him become among the forerunners of pro football's era of pass-catching tight ends.

Warlick, a member of the Bills' two AFL championship teams in the mid-1960s, died at his home in Williamsville, N.Y., on Saturday after a brief illness. He was 80.

His death was confirmed by Amigone Funeral Home in Amherst, N.Y. The cause of death was not immediately known.

Former teammate Booker Edgerson said Sunday that Warlick had spent part of the past two weeks in a Buffalo hospital after complaining about pain in his shoulder.

``He's going to be fondly remembered, and it was a great loss,'' said Edgerson, a former linebacker who first befriended Warlick in 1962 when they joined the Bills as rookies.

It was evident to Edgerson from the outset what made the 6-foot-3 Warlick stand out among most tight ends of that time.

``I remember in practice, he went up and caught balls that normally would not be caught. He had the height and everything, but he had these big hands,'' Edgerson said. ``That was one of the things that everybody used to talk about. They'd say, `Oh, man, did you see that guy's hands. His one hand is bigger than both of mine.'''

In four seasons with the Bills, Warlick finished with 90 catches for 1,551 yards and four touchdowns. He was a four-time AFL Pro Bowl selection and helped the Bills win AFL titles in 1964 and `65.

Warlick averaged 19.96 yards per catch in 1963, which still ranks seventh on the team.

Born in Washington, D.C., Warlick grew up in North Carolina and became a two-sport star at North Carolina Central University, where he also played basketball. Before signing with Buffalo, Warlick spent five seasons playing and both receiver and defensive back for Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League. He was a three-time West All-Star.

When he arrived in Buffalo, Warlick immediately caught the eye of coach Lou Saban.

``Saban saw his athletic ability or catching the ball. Plus he was an outstanding blocker, and that's what they used tight ends for a lot back in those days,'' Edgerson recalled. ``So Saban said, `OK, let's stretch the offense and let's make the tight end part of our receiving corps.' And the rest is history.''

Warlick caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from Jack Kemp to open the scoring in Buffalo's 23-0 win over San Diego in the 1965 AFL Championship game. Warlick played at a time when only a few tight ends - Hall of Famer John Mackey in Baltimore and Dave Kocourek in San Diego - were being used in receiving roles.

Warlick remained in Buffalo after his playing days. He worked as a television broadcaster before opening a hamburger stand and eventually landing a job as a sales manager. In 2000, Warlick received the Ralph C. Wilson Distinguished Service award, named after the team owner and honoring players for their service to the Bills.

Warlick is survived by his wife, Louise, three children and five grandchildren.

A visitation will be held at Amigone Funeral Home on Monday. A date for his memorial service has yet to be announced.

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Redskins365 Episode 1: The Future Starts Now

Redskins365 Episode 1: The Future Starts Now

Over the 2019 offseason, the Washington Redskins periodically released episodes to a new series called "Redskins 365". Here, viewers can get an all-access look into all the important moments leading up to the 2019-20 season. In episode 1 titled "The Future Starts Now" the Redskins begin their journey toward improvement following the conclusion of the 2018-19 campaign.

The episode begins immediately following the disappointing end to Washington's season as players participated in locker cleanout day. A somewhat somber atmosphere, the likes of Shaun Dion Hamilton, Adrian Peterson, Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Williams reflect on the season and look ahead to 2019.

Following that, it's on to the additions and changes on the coaching staff. Head coach Jay Gruden gives his thoughts on new defensive staff hirings Ray Horton and Rob Ryan as well as Kevin O'Connell's jump to offensive coordinator. Ryan and O'Connell also explain their excitement for next season in their respective roles.

With the coaching staff puzzle becoming clear, the episode transitions to the NFL Combine. Gruden along with Senior Vice President of Player Personnel Doug Williams, President Bruce Allen and Director of College Scouting Kyle Smith take you through the Combine process. Discussions about the interview process and what the Redskins are looking for in players give insight into how evaluations are done. 

The Combine portion has a heavy focus on players Kyler Murray, D.K. Metcalf and Montez Sweat among others. Released on March 20, one can see and hear from Sweat before the idea of him becoming a Redskin came to fruition and listen to Metcalf's thoughts on Jay Gruden.

Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Chad Englehart also makes an appearance, discussing his viral moment with Ed Oliver at the combine and the fraternity-type bond conditioning coaches in the NFL share.

Washington's journey toward success in 2019 began the moment the clock ran out on the 2018 season. Episode 1 of "Redskins365" picks up right in that preliminary stage.


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SPOILER ALERT! Wizards make appearance in New York Times crossword on Sunday

SPOILER ALERT! Wizards make appearance in New York Times crossword on Sunday

Fans of both crossword puzzles and the Washington Wizards had a leg-up when completing the New York Times crossword puzzle on Sunday. 

The clue: "Wizards, but not witches."

The answer: 7 letters, "NBATEAM." 

This isn't the first time famous crosswords have included sports-related clues. The Washington Post and LA Times have used Bobby Orr as an answer many of times (trust me, we always have a half-finished crossword puzzle hiding somewhere in our living room). 

But athletes aren't the only answers to clues. Remember when the Post's Isabelle Khurshudyan revealed the Washington Capitals' "cult of crossword men" back in 2016?

The New York Times even published a list of the top-10 sports names to know for crossword fanatics everywhere. 

Just further proof that sports continue to permeate every aspect of life.