Jeff Russo


Jeff joined Channel 7 in 2003 as a sports anchor/reporter and was promoted to Sports Director in December 2007. A native of Rochester, Jeff was excited to get back to Western New York after serving as Sports Director and anchor for the ABC affiliate in Kearney, Nebraska, where he was honored with the Associated Press award for “Top Sportscast” in the state. He was also the recipient of six Nebraska Associated Press Awards in his time there.

After graduating from SUNY Fredonia in 1997, Jeff got his start in broadcasting in Jamestown, NY as a sportscaster and reporter for Time Warner Cable Channel 8 from 1998-2001.

In addition to being Channel 7’s Sports Director, he is also a contributor to the “Bills All Access” program and can be seen on the Jumbotron at Ralph Wilson Stadium hosting the halftime highlight show during Buffalo Bills Home games.

Jeff is recently married and he and his wife currently make their home in Buffalo. When he’s not working, Jeff likes to play basketball, jog and of course, relax at home.

Click here for Jeff's Facebook page.

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WKBW (East Rutherford, New Jersey) The hope surrounding the start of a new season was tossed on it's head on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Following an offseason filled with expectations, this is not how the Buffalo Bills drew it up.

Sunday's 48-28 loss to New York was the Bills sixth straight to the Jets. 21 second half points helped things on paper, but this was perhaps the most disappointing of the bunch.

Only making matters worse, a pair of injuries on the offensive side of the ball. Both RB Fred Jackson and WR David Nelson suffered knee injuries in the loss. Head Coach Chan Gailey said afterwards that the injury to Nelson is expected to be more significant. We should know more soon, both are expected to undergo further testing in the next day or so.

So where do you start with this one??

How about the start that quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick called "embarrassing". Had to be. Fitzpatrick had an entire off-season to stew on a league leading 24 interceptions in 2011, and then came out and was picked off three times against the Jets. The three interceptions led to 21 New York points. Jets CB Antonio Cromartie capped things off with his 40 yard interception return for a TD in the third quarter. The score made it 34-7.

Fitzpatrick battled back with touchdown passes on three of the Bills next four drives, but the damage was already done. He finished 18-32 195 yards 3 TDs, and 3 Interceptions.

As tough as the performance was by Fitzpatrick I was shocked by how easily the Jets marched on the Bills defense.

Forget Tim Tebow. Mark Sanchez had a field day on Sunday.
Where was the pass rush?? The Bills spent millions to address that part of the defense during the off-season. Paging Mario Williams. Paging Mark Anderson. The Bills failed to get a sniff of Sanchez in the loss and a young secondary paid the price. Sanchez finished 19-of-27 for 266 yards 3 touchdowns and a interception. Stephen Hill hauled in five catches for 89 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Gailey was quick to dismiss the youth of cornerbacks Aaron Williams and Stephon Gilmore as a legitimate excuse on Sunday. They have to be better. So does the defense. The unit struggled to get off the field on third down. The Jets went 10-for-14 or converted on 71% of the teams opportunities on third down. Not good enough.

The only bright spot in the loss on Sunday may be the play of RB C.J. Spiller. Spiller returned to form after a strong finish to 2011. He finished with 169 yards on 14 carries. That's an average of 12.1 yards a carry. A couple of long runs helped including his 56 yard touchdown run in the second quarter. The touchdown was the Bills only score before half time. Spiller told me after the game he's ready to carry the load if called upon. Outside of the fumble that he'd like to have back it looks like he's right. We'll find out more about Fred Jackson in the coming days.

We should also find out this week if this is a Bills team that can bounce back.
I have always felt lucky to work in the field that I do. I have always believed that working as a sports anchor, close to where I grew up, had to be the best job in the world. Then I became a father.

This weekend I will celebrate Father's day.. as a dad.. for the first time. My son Henry just turned 7 months old. He was born on Halloween.. and since that day I have learned that being a father, to me, is now the most rewarding job in the world. Move over sports..haha.

I hear it only continues to get better, but raising our first child has already been an amazing experience. He makes me laugh, at times he makes me crazy, but I wouldn't change a thing. I love being a dad.

My wife and I are lucky to have many loving examples in our lives to offer guidance and support on how to raise a family, but closing in on Father's day.. my thoughts are on my dad.

I was lucky enough to have a father that put family before anything else. A loving man who treated everyone with respect, and taught me to be a person that did the same.

I lost my father three-and-a-half years ago. He passed away at the age of 57 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. I was 33.

My father, more then anything, couldn't wait to have grandchildren. Unfortunately he never had a chance to meet my son, but Henry will know all about him. Henry will know that his middle name Lawrence comes from his Grandfather.

Since my father passed this time of year has often been difficult. This year though I have a different perspective. Having a son makes me more grateful then ever for the man that helped raise me, and makes me appreciate the father that I want to be.

"Enjoy every day" and "Remember where you came from", words that my father lived by. Words that I intend to pass along on this Father's Day... so on Friday we are taking Henry to the cemetery for the first time in Webster to visit his grandfather Russo.. then on Sunday we are coming back to Buffalo to run the "Jog for the Jake" with my father-in-law, and Henry's grandfather Les. A man who I am equally grateful and lucky to have in my life.

Remembering where we came from, enjoying every day. That is the plan for the weekend. Sounds great to me. Happy Father's Day. jrusso@wkbw.com

Bills head home to Orchard Park with a promising season in loom.

Pittsford (WKBW.com) The Bills worked through their final night practice at St. John Fisher College on Tuesday in what marked the unofficial end of training camp. The team will hold a closed practice on Wednesday morning, but Head Coach Chan Gailey had no problem commenting on what he believes were a productive three weeks at St. John Fisher College.

"Camp was good", said Gailey. "I really think we accomplished a great deal. We were able to evaluate alot of players I think our players got better during this time. Had to fight through some hot days, some rainy days. We had to fight through and it was good for us. "

"I've been coming here for camp since 2005", said Bills Safety George Wilson "I really think this is the most productive camp as a team that we've had overall", Wilson continued.

The Bills will head back to Orchard Park with several positional battles still undecided, including the competition at the back up quarterback spot. Ryan Fitzpatrick and the starters on offense are expected to see around 20 snaps against the Minnesota Vikings then it will be Vince Young working with the second team. Tyler Thigpen will come in third in a scheduled rotation. Thigpen led the second team against Washington.

"They've made it tough (the decision) the whole time. Vince was really behind the eight ball early, but he's come on strong. It's going to be a tough decision for us." , said Gailey

On the injury front two players left practice early. Defensive Tackle Kellen Heard left with an injury to his right leg. Tackle James Carmon left with what's believed to be a wrist injury. Both were scheduled to have x-rays.

Head Coach Chan Gailey

PM Practice – August 14, 2012

On if anyone was dinged up during practice:

We took a couple of guys in for x-rays, (Kellen) Heard and (James) Carmon. We took those two guys in for some x-rays. We will see how those come out.



On what DT Kellen Heard might have injured:

It was his leg. They did not know if it was a knee or ankle, just that it was the outside part of his leg.



On where the offense’s progress with QB Brad Smith:

We are a lot further along as far as how to use him and what we are going to try to do with him. I think we have a chance to have a great little package with him. It is going to be good for us, I believe.



On if he was satisfied with how training camp went:

Camp was good. I really think we accomplished a great deal. We were able to evaluate a lot of players. I think our players got better. During this time, they had to fight through some hot days, some rainy days. They had to fight through it and it was good for us. We got a little get-together tomorrow morning and we will be done.



On if he is closer to decisions in regards to the position battles:

Well we are closer to answers than we were when we started this thing. We’ll see where we need to go after this ball game. We are a lot closer to answers than we were.



On if the starters will get increased reps against Minnesota:

A little bit more. Maybe 20. We tried (against Washington) to go about 15 with them. We will probably go around 20 with those guys (against Minnesota).



On if QB Vince Young will be the backup quarterback against Minnesota:

Yes. He will go second.



On if QB Vince Young and QB Tyler Thigpen are making the number two QB position battle tough:

Yep, they have made it tough the whole time. Vince was really behind the eight-ball early. But he has come on strong. It is going to be a tough decision for us.



On this camp being different than previous ones under the new CBA:

Yeah, it is a little bit different. We can only practice once a day. There is no such thing as a two-a-day anymore. It is a little bit unique but really the reason we are out so early this year is the way the schedule fell. It just fell that way. So it is one of those things that was great for us but it will be good to get home too.



DB Stephon Gilmore
PM Practice – Tuesday, August 14, 2012



On his first NFL camp and practicing very strongly:
I played well and I got better everyday. I have learned so much since I have been here to now, so I think I just have to keep taking it one day at a time and I will be good.



On if he reached his goals in his first camp:
I got better everyday. I would not say I had goals; I just wanted to come out and get better and gain my team’s trust and come out and compete on defense.



On players’ talking about his maturity and his level of play:
I just feel like this is in me. I am here to come out and just compete and play my game. I love playing football and that is what I love to do. My team has got my back and I am happy to be here.

On the spirited workout tonight; is it time to move on and get after other teams?
Yes it is time. I am ready to go against other teams because we have been going against each other and have been wanting to hit each other so it is going to be a good feeling getting hit by other teams and trying to get wins.



On already playing physical with his teammates; will he have the same physicality at games:
Yes I am going to play the same. Every time I step on the field, that is the only way I know how to play is hard, so that is what I am going to do.



S George Wilson

PM Practice – Tuesday, August 14, 2012



On finishing the season strong opposed to starting off hot then dwindling down the stretch:

That is something we have always said since the off-season. It continues to be our mentality. Nobody is going to let off that pedal because we know how we started last year and how we ended the season. And we cannot allow a repeat performance.



On how things went this year at camp:

As a team overall, my first training camp here was ’05, and I can say by far I feel like this was my most productive camp individually. But just seeing where we were as an organization, as a team in the past, to see where we are now I really think this has been our most productive camp as a team overall. It has been a different mentality since day one of our off-season program. We continued to talk about the direction we want to go in when we reported here on July 25. And still to this day guys do not buy into the media hype, the fans hype, because we know that ultimately it is up to us to convert what’s on our roster and what we have on paper onto the playing field. We have to continue to push the envelope and get better and be ready when we take the field in New York on week one.



On how camp works out for the players under the rules of the new CBA:

We love it. That is something we talked about when we first got here and they handed us the weekly schedule. You know anybody who was here under the old collective bargaining agreement and had to go through the dog days of two-a-days, back-to-back two-a-days, knows how valuable those changes have been. For a lot of older players it can allow them to extend their careers. A lot of younger players, it can keep them healthy and keep them healthy longer at a younger age. And so I really think this is going to benefit most of the players and the owners in the long-run, because your money-makers are going to continue to be healthy.

The first day of Summer is upon us... The NBA has crowned it's champion.. so has the NHL.. now what??

For many the focus falls on Baseball, that's why I'm looking forward to an interview later this week with Bob Rich. The owner of the Buffalo Bisons has released a new book "The Right Angle - Tales from a Sporting Life". It's been interesting to read about his behind-the scene-thoughts on his involvement with the Buffalo sports scene over the last several decades.

In his new book he details his involvement with the Buffalo Sabres, working the Bills on the naming rights of the once Rich Stadium, and of course his love for baseball and the Bisons. He also gets into his longstanding passion for fishing. Plenty to talk about for sure.

-Also this week NFL Owners are gathering in Chicago for an update on the current labor discussions with the players. Reports over the weekend indicated that there were a handful of owners that had growing concerns about where things stood. Apparently the main concern is that the current deal being discussed with players is not doing enough to address problems with the 2006 CBA. The thought is that the new deal may not be "small market friendly". I wonder if Bills owner Ralph Wilson is among the owners upset? After all Mr. Wilson and Bengals owner Mike Brown were the only two to vote against the previous CBA. They were laughed at for doing so at the time, only to be praised when several owners later admitted they made a mistake.

Bills CEO Russ Brandon is representing the Bills in Chicago this week.

jrusso@wkbw.com

Recap from Wednesday's night practice and post-practice transcripts

Pittsford (WKBW.com) Bills middle linebacker Kelvin Sheppard was held out of practice on Wednesday night, and may miss some time with an undisclosed setback.

"He sat out tonight. He may be out a couple of days.", said Head Coach Chan Gailey. "We'll see. He has a situation that he's dealing with. It's medical, that's all I'm going to say about it right now. ", Gailey continued

Sheppard told Eyewitness Sports Director Jeff Russo leaving practice on Wednesday that he'd be "ok". When asked if he'd be in practice on Thursday he said "I don't know".

Also on the injury front DT Marcell Dareus was held out of the second half of practice on Wednesday to rest some soreness. He's expected to be ok.

In terms of highlights on Wednesday - Safety Jairus Byrd and CB Stephon Gilmore combined for one of the bigger hits of this camp so far. The duo put a nice pop on WR Derek Hagan in team work .

Hagan bounced back with a nice catch later in the session. Ryan Fitzpatrick rolled out when protection broke down and hit Hagan up the sideline.

Below are post-practice transcripts provided by the Buffalo Bills:

Head Coach Chan Gaily

PM Practice – Wednesday, August 1, 2012



On MLB Kelvin Sheppard not practicing:

Yeah, he sat out tonight. He may be out a couple days. We will see. He has a situation that he is dealing with. It is medical and that is all I am going to say about it right now.



On the defensive backs breaking up a lot of passes:

They are doing a good job. The defensive backs are seeing a lot of things and reacting to the routes they are seeing a lot of. They are doing a good job of picking up on those things.



On having veteran DBs Jairus Byrd and George Wilson anchoring the secondary:

You take Jairus, you take George, and every Da’Norris (Searcy) is playing very well. You take those three guys and they make up for a lot of ills that might happen. They cover a lot of bases for us back there.



On S Da’Norris Searcy taking snaps with the first team defense:

We have been doing that all along. George (Wilson) missed the last part of the season and we want to make sure we have got somebody ready to go at either position. George may have to move to the other spot and Da’Norris play there. One injury and Da’Norris has to go in.



On when QB Brad Smith will begin practicing as a receiver:

That will be a little while yet. We want to keep giving him (practice at) quarterback. He will be the third quarterback going into the season so he has to know the offense to finish a game. We have to get him enough where he is comfortable, well as comfortable as he is going to get taking as many limited reps as he is taking. We have to get him that before we take him to receiver.



On the one-two running back punch of RB’s Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller:

Those two guys are very, very good football players. We are fortunate. It is a good problem to have. It is a little bit of a problem as we have said all along to make sure those guys touch it as much as they need to. We’ll solve that problem, hopefully, as time goes on.



On the necessity of having to capable running backs in the NFL game:

It is ideal. The thing I am not sure of is I do not want one of them standing over me too much because they are both such good players. We will see how it works out this year. We may do that, platoon them some. Or we may rotate them both in there.



On concerns over QB Tyler Thigpen’s accuracy:

It is a little early but it is a concern. It is not just Tyler. He and Vince (Young) both are having some trouble there. The twos in general are not performing very well offensively. I think our ones are doing some good things. But our twos are struggling offensively.



On if he has focused on the run a little bit more the past two days:

Yes. Consciously.



On if he is starting to see real progress leading up to the first preseason game:

Some progress. Not real progress, we are starting to see some progress.



On the chemistry QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and TE Scott Chandler have:

They are. (Fitzpatrick) and Scott, (Fitzpatrick) and Stevie, are really the two that are the most in sync. We have to find out who can get there going into game one.



On the defensive line depth after over a week of practice:

I know our second team offense is not performing very well right now and I think that probably has something to do with it.



On the addition of DE Mark Anderson being a “under the radar” type of move:

(Anderson) may be forgotten by the public, the press but he is not forgotten by this football team or us coaches. I can tell you that.



On the conscious effort the team made in the offseason to improve its pass rush:

I give all the credit in the world to Buddy (Nix) and his staff for going out and getting two guys who make an immediate impact on our football team.



On what the focus off the offseason was:

It (was) about pass rush and playing better defense.



On Mark Anderson’s work ethic:

He will push himself so hard sometimes that we have to slow him down. That is a good problem to have, by the way, as a coach.



FS Jairus Byrd

PM Practice – Wednesday, August 1, 2012



On his play on WR Derek Hagan and the mentality that comes with it:

Coach Wannstedt talks about being a physical defense and bringing that physical presence out there and that is something we want to do. Within means of it is our own teammate, but we want to get ready for the season.



On if he feels like a veteran with the young cornerbacks the Bills have:

Yeah, it does. It happens fast but, at the same time, with the youth we have added I have to make sure I am passing on and making their job a lot easier.



On the secondary being very active in the passing lanes through the last two practices:

I think it is a little bit of both. I think we are getting accustomed to what they are running but I also think that our techniques are looking good, too. It starts with that first. I think we are getting down our techniques. We are gelling together and communicating well. We just have to keep it moving.



On the SS George Wilson’s vocal leadership communication of the defense:

Yeah definitely, but I do not mind (George Wilson being vocal). George has been in the league for a long time and he has a lot of knowledge to pass on. No matter who gets the credit for communicating, it takes all of us to be on the same page for it to work. George has a lot of knowledge because he has been in the game. We all do a good job of just making sure we are handling our sides of the field.



DT Marcell Dareus
AM Walk- thru – Wednesday, August 1, 2012



On what his expectations are coming into his second year after a solid rookie season:
I just want to do a little bit better every year, just better my game and be a better football player.



On the new additions to the team and how they could help him:
I get free! I have not been free in a while so I can see what I can do. We have Mario (Williams), Kyle Williams, Mark Anderson; we have a lot of leeway and can have some fun.



On making the jump from year one to year two:
There are so many things that I saw year one that I wanted to improve on in year two; my endurance for one thing and the level of play. There are just a lot of things I want to work on.



On if he likes the high level of expectations for the defensive line:
Yes, it gives you something to play for. There are a lot of people waiting on you to get together and go out there and play together and show what you can do. A lot of fans are coming tonight so you have to give them something to look forward to.

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