|Ravens RB McGahee has no regrets bracing for first trip back to Buffalo|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 18 October 2007 11:38|
And clearly nothing has changed since the Bills rid themselves of a disgruntled player by trading the running back to the Baltimore Ravens in March.
``Regrets?'' McGahee said with a giggle during a conference call with Buffalo reporters this week. ``Why would I have any regrets?''
Same old Willis, playfully feigning ignorance while fully bracing for the bitter welcome Bills fans have in store when the Ravens (4-2) travel to play Buffalo (1-4) in McGahee's first trip back after scorching every bridge on his way out of town.
And even McGahee will acknowledge that.
``I left and it wasn't on a good note,'' McGahee said. ``So they're going to be a little upset.''
First, McGahee committed what Bills fans consider heresy, suggesting in an interview with Penthouse Magazine that the franchise would be better off relocating to Toronto.
Then, weeks after he was traded, McGahee painted the entire community as a cultural backwater, quoted in The Baltimore Sun as knocking Buffalo's nightlife, restaurants and women, saying he'd spend most of his down time eating at Applebee's and sitting on the couch playing video games.
McGahee insists he was misinterpreted, a familiar retort considering that's what he said in 2005 when he claimed to be the NFL's best running back as the Bills prepared to travel to San Diego and face LaDainian Tomlinson.
``That's how it is, man,'' he said last week. ``Once something leaves your mouth, it never comes back the way you said it.''
As for what he's learned, McGahee said: ``Never look back. Always look forward.''
McGahee can do that because he's now part of a Ravens team that has won four of five and is attempting to enter its bye week with its second straight 5-2 start. Taking over after Jamal Lewis signed with Cleveland, McGahee ranks fourth in the NFL with 525 yards rushing. He's on pace to surpass his career high of 1,247 yards in 2005.
That's not bad considering how banged-up the Ravens have been. They're coming off a 22-3 win against St. Louis last weekend in which they started three rookie offensive linemen and backup quarterback Kyle Boller.
The Bills are another story altogether, their poor fortunes unchanged since McGahee arrived as the team's first-round pick in 2003.
Besides being depleted by injury and enduring demoralizing losses - the latest was squandering an eight-point lead in the final 20 seconds of a 25-24 loss to Dallas - after another, the Bills are in the midst of yet another quarterback controversy. Rookie third-round pick Trent Edwards will make his third straight start even though J.P. Losman has recovered from a sprained knee.
Coach Dick Jauron refused to say who the team's long-term starter is, leading to questions whether Losman will ever get his job back.
As efficient as he's been so far, completing nearly 70 percent of his passes, Edwards will be in tough circumstances against a Ravens defense that's allowed one touchdown in the past 10 quarters. Baltimore is coming off a six-takeaway performance against the Rams and with 10 players that have registered at least one sack.
``He's got to give us a chance,'' Jauron said of what he expects from Edwards. ``We'll have to get open, and he'll have to deliver it. If they're not open, he'll have to get it out because this is not a team that you can hold the ball on.''
The Bills are coming off their bye week needing to get their offense going. The unit has produced four touchdowns, matching the number Buffalo's defense and special teams have scored.
Tired of discussing what's wrong with the offense and the quarterback situation, receiver Lee Evans welcomed questions regarding McGahee's return.
``You can't simply disrespect the city like that and expect the city will welcome you,'' Evans said. ``You hate to burn bridges like that, but that was his decision to make, so you've got to live with it.''
Ravens coach Brian Billick urged Bills fans to get over it.
``I think you have to take everything with a grain of salt,'' Billick said. ``I've seen a few of the comments and, you know, life's too short to get upset over stuff like that.''
The most visible signs of Buffalo's disaffection toward McGahee was a billboard erected in August advertising the Web site (willisistrash.com) that features a rap song knocking McGahee, and T-shirts with ``Baltimore got our garbage because'' printed on the front, and ``Willis is trash'' on the back.
It's not clear, who's behind the venture, but numerous Bills players have seen it.
McGahee's heard about it, too. Laughing, he expressed only one concern: ``Am I going to get some of the proceeds?''