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AFC: RB McGahee gives Buffalo a start

By wire services
Published August 21, 2004

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. - Running back Willis McGahee has asked the Buffalo Bills to trade him if he is not their starter on opening day, the Associated Press reported on Friday.

McGahee's request was not issued as an ultimatum, but the player made clear he won't be happy playing backup to incumbent Travis Henry Bills spokesman Scott Berchtold said, "There is no truth to that whatsoever."

Team president Tom Donahoe later denied the report, too.

"There's nothing to it," Donahoe said. "Willis is making progress and is very happy. We have no intention of trading him. We need them both."

McGahee was not available for comment, as the Bills were off in preparation for tonight's preseason game against Tennessee. McGahee's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, declined comment.

After hosting Tennessee, the Bills close their preseason with two road games in preparation for their opener on Sept. 12 against Jacksonville.

Henry is coming off consecutive 1,000-yard seasons while McGahee missed his entire rookie season recovering from reconstructive surgery on his left knee.

The former Miami star was considered a top-three draft pick before he was hurt in his final college game, the Hurricanes' loss to Ohio State in the 2003 national championship game.

Miami asks Williams to return $8.6M

MIAMI - The Dolphins have asked Ricky Williams to return $8.6-million they say the running back owes the team because he decided to retire. The request and the amount were confirmed by the Associated Press. It was first reported Friday in the Miami Herald.

The star running back shocked the Dolphins by announcing just before the start of training camp that he was retiring at age 27 after five seasons in the league, the last two with Miami. It was only one blow to the team, which has been hurt by a holdout by Adewale Ogunleye, last season's AFC sack leader, and a season-ending injury to wide receiver David Boston, its main offseason free-agent acquisition.

The AP reported that Williams received a letter from the team asking for money that was included in various bonuses, including the signing bonus he received when he originally was drafted by New Orleans. The Dolphins had been hinting that they would ask for the money but only recently made the request formal in a letter to the player and his agent, Leigh Steinberg. The Dolphins and Steinberg both declined comment.

Because Williams formally filed retirement papers with the NFL three weeks ago, he would not be able to play this season if he changes his mind.

Because Williams was in the league's substance-abuse program, he can't return for one year without penalty. Williams has acknowledged testing positive for marijuana three times and league officials have said his filing for retirement counts as a fourth failed test, which would result in a year's suspension.

If he decides to return next year, he would face a four-game suspension - the penalty for three failed tests.

[Last modified August 21, 2004, 01:01:16]


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