Lockout could nix Bills' Hogtown visits

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:29 PM ET

BUFFALO - The NFL may be in lockout mode but the business of preparing for another season goes on.

With that in mind, the league released its 2011/2012 schedule Tuesday which includes a Bills’ stop in Toronto on Sunday, Oct. 30, to take on the Washington Redskins.

It will be a 4 p.m. kickoff with the game televised on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada and in the U.S. on FOX.

It’s the fourth of five regular season games that will be played at the Rogers Centre as part of the five-year, eight-game Bills in Toronto Series.

The Bills are 0-3 in regular season play in Canada with losses to Chicago, the New York Jets and Miami.

The series has been impactful on the Bills’ bottom line since it began in 2008 with season ticket holders from Southern Ontario increasing by 44% since the series began.

Mary Owen, the Bills’ executive vice president of strategic planning and the manager of the Bills Toronto Series said on any given Bills game day at Orchard Park, 10-20% of the spectators hail from north of the Canada/US border.

In light of the uncertainty created by the NFL lockout, actual ticket sales and prices will not be announced until the work stoppage is resolved.

Fans though looking to reserve a seat for the game can do so by calling 416-341-1440 and putting down a refundable $25 deposit.

Those who have already purchased tickets for the game through Series packages will receive a full refund if the game is not played.

If the lockout is resolved in time, the Bills will open the season in Kansas City on Sept. 11. The home opener is a week later against the Oakland Raiders.

The Bills would conclude the regular season Jan 1 with a New Year’s Day game at New England.

Ingram fed up

Mark Ingram saw an opportunity and he jumped at it.

Fed up with what he considers erroneous reports about the health of his knee following arthroscopic surgery that dates back to last summer, Ingram fired back on Tuesday as he was introduced as the cover of EA Sports’ NCAA Football 12.

“I don’t know where the reports have come from,” Ingram told ESPN.com in a phone interview following the announcement. “I guess somebody wants me to fall down the board. But my knee is 100%. It’s strong, it’s healthy. All the teams have positive reports on my knee and Dr. (James) Andrews has given positive reports on my knee as well. My knee’s 100%. It’s in great shape. All those reports are false information.”

Ingram went under the knife Aug. 31 of last summer and missed the first two games on Alabama’s schedule.

The former Heisman Trophy winner (2009) is projected as the top running back in the upcoming NFL draft but his stock has plummeted to the bottom of the first round since word about his knee began to spread. At one point he was considered a lock to be taken by the Miami Dolphins who draft 15th.

So far Ingram has worked out for the Dolphins, and visited the St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Redskins and New Orleans Saints.

Pats could be trade happy

Bill Belichick is known for a lot of things.

The New England Patriots head coach is known for his general distaste for spending any time with the media, his love of hoodies, and his penchant for trading down on draft day to acquire more picks.

You would think that looking at the six picks in the first three rounds (two picks each round) the Pats own this season that Belichick might take a year off and actually cut into that stock pile, but that’s not necessarily the case.

Belichick recently told Sirius/XM NFL Radio that he’s already getting calls from teams looking to take one of those picks off his hands.

“There definitely seems to be a lot of interest in our draft picks,” Belichik said. “And as you know we’re not afraid to trade them.”

Belichick did finally concede that it might be time to actually cash in on this wealth of picks he has accumulated.

“Sooner or later you’ve got to convert those picks into productive players,” Belichick said.


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