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NFL notes: Bills GM taking all-in rebuilding approach

Published July 17, 2014 5:10 pm

NFL notes • Whaley willing to take big risks to end Buffalo's playoff drought.
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The Minnesota Vikings will suspend special teams coordinator Mike Priefer without pay for three games this season and donate $100,000 to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights groups, in response to former punter Chris Kluwe's allegations of anti-gay remarks made by Priefer.

The Vikings released Friday a summary of the investigation by independent lawyers that was initiated in January, when Kluwe first accused Priefer and other Vikings officials of punishing him for his outspoken support of gay marriage. Kluwe was let go before the 2013 season, which he contended was because of his views.

The Vikings said Priefer's ban could be reduced to two games at their discretion if he attends individualized sensitivity training.

Kluwe said Friday he still intends to sue the team for discrimination.

Bills GM taking all-in rebuilding approach to team

Pardon Doug Whaley for using a baseball analogy when discussing his all-in approach to transforming the Buffalo Bills into something he hopes will finally resemble a playoff contender.

"You have equal chances of missing when you play it safe as when you try to swing for a home run," the Bills general manager said. "So why not go for the home run?"

And Whaley didn't blink when reminded that home-run hitters generally strike out a lot.

"Yeah," he said. "And a lot of single hitters stay on base."

The Bills prepare to open training camp in suburban Rochester on Sunday featuring a new-look offense. The changes reflect the swing-for-the-fences philosophy Whaley put into motion this offseason in a bid to end the franchise's 14-season playoff drought — the NFL's longest active streak.

Whaley's biggest move came in May while overseeing his first draft since taking over as GM.

Whaley mortgaged a portion of the team's future by trading next year's first-round draft pick to move up five spots and select Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins fourth overall.

It was a risky move, and yet one Whaley believed was worth the gamble by adding a dynamic piece to a passing attack that had sputtered during quarterback EJ Manuel's inconsistent and injury-troubled rookie season.

Whaley's win-now objective comes at a most uncertain juncture in the franchise's 55-year history.

The Bills are for sale after team founder and owner Ralph Wilson died in March, and a new owner could be identified within the next month.

There are concerns of the franchise eventually relocating under new ownership.

Around the league

Titans • Rookie Taylor Lewan will go to trial in October on charges he punched an Ohio State fan. The former Michigan offensive tackle is accused of hitting the fan after the Buckeyes beat the Wolverines last season. He is charged with one count of aggravated assault and two counts of assault and battery. He was told during a pretrial hearing Thursday to return to Ann Arbor (Mich.) District Court on Oct. 27 for jury selection. The trial could begin the next morning.

49ers • San Francisco signed left tackle Joe Staley to a two-year contract extension through the 2019 season. The team selected Staley 28th overall in the 2007 draft out of Central Michigan. He has earned Pro Bowl honors the past three seasons and is primarily responsible for protecting Colin Kaepernick's blindside.