After two tries - and two failures - the Buffalo Bills can be expected to make more than cosmetic moves to create a team that can not only make, but win the Super Bowl.
The restructuring will start during the upcoming Plan B free agency period, during which a shaking-out process will take place that could cost a handful of players their roster spots."We'll find out more about my future when Plan B comes out," guard Jim Ritcher, a 13-year veteran, said after Sunday's 37-24 Super Bowl loss to the Washington Redskins. "The Bills have been very good to me and I hope to continue on there."
Coming off his first Pro Bowl appearance, it's likely Ritcher will be back next season.
And, contrary to what he said at the height of the hype during Super Bowl week, defensive end Bruce Smith, 1990's NFL Defensive Player of the Year, said he expected to be back in Buffalo.
Smith implied last week that racist hate mail might force him out of Buffalo. After the game, he said he wanted to get one thing straight: "One or two bigots are not going to drive me out of my home. Buffalo is my home."
Coach Marv Levy said he would prefer if his players did their talking on the field, not off it.
"I don't think they realize a comment they make is interpreted in greater depth than the depth of thought they gave before making the comment," Levy said before the Bills returned to Buffalo Monday. "They're better off just talking football."
Levy also said running back Thurman Thomas was wrong to say the Bills should have given him the ball more in the Super Bowl.
"We would have loved to have been able to strike a balance, but we had to pass," he said. "When you fall behind, you don't have a game plan anymore. You've got to play catchup."
The prevailing wisdom is that Smith wants to renegotiate his five-year, $7.5 million contract, which has one more year left.
Whether he gets a new contract before the old one ends is another matter. General manager Bill Polian refused to negotiate with two veterans - Pro Bowl linebacker Darryl Talley and defensive end Leon Seals - who were in the final year of their contracts.
After being voted to the Pro Bowl for his play this year, Talley will now be negotiating from a position of strength.