Niagara Gazette

January 3, 2007

COMMENTARY: Ghostline brings Sabres/Bills to Lockport’s front door

By John D’Onofrio

LOCKPORT — From a very funny training camp story in Willis McGahee’s rookie season to the quiet demeanor of Buffalo Bills head coach Dick Jauron, Bills players McGahee and Nate Clements gave local fans plenty of laughs and insight on Tuesday night during the taping of the Nate Clements Show in Lockport.

It’s the first of two television programs in which Ghostline Productions out of Rochester will bring not only our beloved Buffalo Bills and Sabres into our living rooms, but to our Lockport front door steps as well.

In typical fashion, Attitudes owner Bob Soemann — an avid Lockport sports fan — has showed tremendous insight in bringing the best players from these two Buffalo professional franchises to Lockport, where locals have an opportunity to meet them, talk to them, listen to them talk about their lives and their teams and take home free autographs.

While Lockport sports fans owe Soemann a pat on the back for a job well done, there’s more to come at his bar/restaurant at 616 West Ave.

A new Sabres program, “Power Play,” takes over the Clements’ show’s time slot at 6 p.m. Saturdays on My TV 49, beginning next week, and that too is coming to the Lock City.

“Power Play” will be taped at Attitudes at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 23. Here’s a second golden opportunity for local fans, especially the young ones, to enjoy the taping of a local sports show and that once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet and greet a Sabres player in the flesh.

The edited 30-minute Clements’ show taped in Lockport will be broadcast on My TV 49 at 6 p.m. this Saturday. Powerplay debuts a week later.

Clements and McGahee were a big hit before, during and after the show and took the time to sign autographs for everyone who stood in line.

During the taping — which featured just one minor delay because of a lighting problem — the two Bills star players talked about Buffalo’s 7-9 finish this past season under first-year head coach Dick Jauron.

“Win or lose, he always stays the same,” McGahee said in describing his Ben Stein-like coach.

“He doesn’t get too emotionally high when we win and he doesn’t get too emotionally low when we lose. Win or lose, he’s the same type of person.

“I might have heard him curse one time all season,” McGahee added, drawing laughter from a wide-eyed crowd of about 100 at Attitudes.

“Some coaches want to get in your face and discipline you. He’s always like, (lowers voice) ‘It’s okay guys. We’ll get’em the next play,’ ” said McGahee, a native of Miami.

When asked for his funniest training camp story, McGahee talked about his rookie season, which he spent on the sidelines with a knee injury. He talked about watching former Bills quarterback Drew Bledsoe going under center Ross Tucker to take snaps.

“Drew kept lifting his hand up and smelling it (smells his hand). I was like, ‘What’s going on?’

“Then the backup quarterbacks started doing it (laughs). He (Tucker) had a streak under his tights,” McGahee said, which drew the loudest round of laughter from those attending the taping of the show.

The hardest part about the offseason for Clements is his eating habits.

“Eating right is the hardest part for me. I like to eat good” said Clements, a former Pro Bowler who will become an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

He talked about what could have been his final game in a Bills uniform last Sunday in Baltimore, a 19-7 Ravens win.

“I wasn’t saying goodbye, but — that’s the nature of our business — knowing that some of the faces you see in the locker room when you look around aren’t going to be there next season.”

“I cherish what I do and don’t take it for granted,” added Clements. “I know there’s millions of people who wished they could do what I do.”