Well, maybe a pop or some other small noise. But at least it didn’t end in silence.
Chan Gailey took the time to head over to a group of teenage fans who had been heckling the Bills – mainly Trent Edwards – and gave them a piece of his mind. Here is the quote from Allen Wilson at the Buffalo News.
“You dog one of us, you dog all of us!”
Gailey also told the fans, who stood in stunned silence, the players would not be coming to sign autographs for them.
”They said some things during practice that were derogatory to a couple of our players,” Gailey explained to the media a few minutes later. “And if you say something derogatory to one of us you say it to all of us, so I told [the players] not to sign for that group.”
I give Gailey credit for standing up for his players. It was the right choice in terms of protecting Trent Edwards’ psyche. He has suffered far too much suffering at the hands of his former coaches, offensive line, the fans and anyone else you can think of. While I’m sure Edwards is a good enough athlete to ignore the chirping of a handful of kids, you never know where his head is truly at.
As for the kids, it is one thing to shout and holler at your team amongst 74,000 peers. It is a totally different situation to tell a guy how bad he is, or how bad his hair is (I will say it isn’t good) from the stands at practice. Save that type of harassment for over-caffeinated sports parents who think their son is the next Peyton Manning when really the child is the next Uncle Rico.
Just to play devils advocate, Gailey probably should have taken the high road. He was wise to tell his players to avoid that section for autographs. However, he took a big chance of looking foolish by attacking the kids. Luckily his actions resulted in good results rather than bad headlines.
Ultimately, the fans were out-of-place yet justified. The Bills have suffered through a decade of futility and no one sees them escaping their playoff drought this season. In addition, questionable drafts, bad timing in terms of injury and missing talent in the worst spots have plagued this team. Fans are fed up and want results rather than what they have seen over the past five years.
But this is a new regime. Whether it is the right regime is to be determined. Fans need to give Gailey time to cultivate his system and players. For all the die-hard Bills fans know Jake Locker could be under center next year. All I’m saying is look at both sides of the coin before you choose one. Sure, there is little to be excited about at this juncture. But that doesn’t mean you hound these guys while they are at work.
Maybe Trent Edwards should roll into Wilson Farms and scream and shout at them while they try to scan a ripped Snickers wrapper – just so they get the full treatment.