LEFTOVERS: Unheralded rookie QB fits Bills’ bill

Debate raged as the Buffalo Bills headed into training camp over who would win the starting quarterback job for the season opener.

Would it be first-round draft pick and quarterback of the future EJ Manuel, or would veteran castoff Kevin Kolb hold the job for a few weeks until the rookie learned the ropes?

It’s the Bills, so the answer is undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel, with Manuel and Kolb injured.

Yahoo! Sports blogger Eric Edholm assembled a good primer for the 99 percent of football fans who hadn’t heard that name before Monday with “Who is Jeff Tuel? Nine facts about the Buffalo Bills’ possible Week 1 starting quarterback.”

The list includes things such as the fact Tuel did not have a Wikipedia page until Monday and that he was not invited to the NFL scouting combine.

Perhaps the scariest thing for Bills fans is the nugget that the New England Patriots held a private workout with Tuel before the draft. The Patriots, and every other team, decided he wasn’t worth drafting.

This is a team preparing to enter the season with Tim Tebow as its third quarterback.

The post also pointed out Tuel’s record (4-22) as a starting quarterback at Washington State.

Not inspiring, but right along the lines of what Bills fans have become accustomed to.

■ IT TAKES TWO — Stories of sick children asking their favorite players to hit home runs for them are as old as professional baseball.

But not since George Costanza needed to get Mr. Steinbrenner’s signed birthday card back has a kid had the audacity to ask for two homers.

That was until 8-year-old Niko Lanzarotta requested that Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis go yard when he attended the Indians’ game Saturday night.

The wish was granted.

Santana and Kipnis each hit home runs during Cleveland’s 7-2 win over Minnesota at Progressive Field.

Lanzarotta, who has cerebral palsy, has become a good luck charm for the Indians. His favorite team is 6-0 in games he has attended this season.

The home run by Kipnis was especially unexpected, as it broke an 0-for-19 slide and was his first homer in more than a month.

As “Seinfeld” fans know, if Kipnis hadn’t come through at the plate, he would have had to catch a popup in his hat.

■ BYRD FLIES AWAY — The New York Mets’ trade of Marlon Byrd on Tuesday was neither a shock nor a bad idea.

Byrd is a hot hitter who could help a contender such as the Pittsburgh Pirates down the stretch. He also turns 36 on Friday, makes a good salary and probably wasn’t going to be part of the future for a rebuilding team such as the Mets.

The timing, however, could have been better.

Monday night was Marlon Byrd T-shirt night at Citi Field.

Fans who purchased a special ticket for the game against the Philadelphia Phillies were to receive a T-shirt with wings and the slogan “Let It Fly” on the front, along with Byrd’s name and No. 6 on the back.

That wasn’t the Mets’ worst promotional idea of the week. They had been scheduled to give away commemorative surgical masks Monday until it was learned that day that ace pitcher Matt Harvey might have to undergo elbow surgery.


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