--First-round pick Aaron Maybin is keeping good company. Attending his introductory news conference in Buffalo was good friend and professional advisor LaVar Arrington, the former Pro Bowl linebacker with the Washington Redskins. Maybin met Arrington while attending a football camp run by Baltimore Ravens star Ray Lewis. Maybin was in middle school and Arrington was working the camp and the two hit it off.
"LaVar Arrington has been very influential," Maybin said. "He has helped me so much in bringing along my game. I consider him part of my family, like a brother."
Arrington operates a management company for professional athletes called Leap Management and counts San Diego's Shawne Merriman, another Maryland product, as a client. He gave Maybin personal treatment, not only flying into Buffalo to be with him, but also donning a Bills T-shirt.
"I think the Bills got the steal of the draft," Arrington said. "Obviously I do have a lot of history with him. But I think he's a phenomenal individual first, who will bring a lot of value to the community as a person. And his talent level is pretty phenomenal. He's explosive. He's very deceptively strong as well. He's built for what the Bills have brought him here to do."
That would be rush the passer. The Bills have 50 sacks total the past two seasons.
--A minicamp for rookies and selected newcomers opened last Friday at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The club was busy signing undrafted college free agents leading up to the practices and inviting others to try out for a contract offer. As expected, the team has added more help at linebacker and the offensive line. Among those players coaches will be looking at are linebackers Joe Mortensen of Kansas and Solomon Elimimian of Hawaii, the WAC Defensive Player of the Year. Offensive tackles include Nick Hennessey (6-5, 300) of Colgate and Joel Bell (6-7, 318) of Furman.
--The Bills aren't done exploring options at quarterback, signing Clemson quarterback Cullen Harper to a rookie free agent tryout. The 6-4, 220-pounder had a stellar junior season with 27 touchdowns and just six interceptions but his stock fell his senior year when he threw 14 and 13. His throwing style needs work but Buffalo likes his size and potential and may like him over Gibran Hamdan and Matt Baker as a long-term option behind Trent Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick.
--SS Donte Whitner pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor aggravated disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges in a Cleveland court. He's due back in court May 19. Whitner was attending a birthday party for high school teammate Ted Ginn, Jr., a wide receiver for the Miami Dolphins, on April 11 when police tasered and handcuffed him while trying to break up a brawl at a nightclub. Whitner issued a statement saying he regretted the incident and apologized to "all involved." His legal troubles aren't expected to affect his off-season work with the Bills.
--Team owner Ralph Wilson, 90, has lost a beloved member of his family circle. Linda Bogdan, who was the NFL's only active female scout, died Tuesday, April 28, after a bout with cancer. She was 61. Bogdan actively scouted for the Bills since 1986, mostly working the East coast from her home in New Jersey, and shared a passion with her dad for talking about football players. She also had corporate duties with the team. She was an accomplished amateur tennis player, winning several singles and doubles club championships at Forest Hills. She is survived her father and two sisters, Christy Wilson Hoffman and Edith Wilson.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think that's what a lot of great players do. It's all about flipping the switch when you get on the field. You can do things on a football field that are severely illegal on the street." -- Bills rookie guard Eric Wood on the mentality he brings to the game.