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Two teens admit to vandalizing Bills CB McKelvin's lawn

  • By Associated Press
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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Two 16-year-old males have admitted to defacing the lawn in front of Buffalo Bills cornerback Leodis McKelvin's home.

Hamburg police Sgt. Thomas Best said Wednesday that the two teens have admitted to spray-painting a message and an obscenity on the player's lawn shortly after the Bills' season-opening 25-24 loss at New England on Monday night.

Best said it will be up to the Erie County district attorney's office to determine whether to take action against the suspects because McKelvin has refused to have them charged. Best declined to release the names of the two teens because of their age but noted that they both live near McKelvin's home in suburban Buffalo.

McKelvin had indicated that he was willing to forgive and forget whoever spray-painted an obscenity across his front lawn, but wide receiver Terrell Owens had a far more defiant reaction.

"Once we make it to the playoffs, tell them to do his lawn again," Owens said. "You just attribute that to ignorance."

"I'm hoping it was just a bunch of kids who probably didn't realize how big of an issue this would be," Bills linebacker Kawika Mitchell said. "If it was some adults, that just makes it even more scary."

Mitchell noted that NFL players are more concerned about their security and privacy, especially after Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor died of a gunshot wound following a botched burglary attempt in November 2007 at his Miami-area home.

"It's extremely dangerous when someone is going to come to your house and do anything that's going to affect you," Mitchell said.

McKelvin returned home at around 1 a.m. Tuesday and discovered a message that included the game's score next to an obscenity painted in white in front of his home in suburban Buffalo. McKelvin shrugged it off, saying he doesn't want anyone arrested and still considers Bills fans to be the greatest.

"It's just one little incident. I hope it doesn't happen any more," McKelvin said. "I was mad, I was kind of like angry in a way, but I was laughing a little bit for what they put on there. It was just something that isn't appropriate."

McKelvin was particularly impressed by a neighbor, who got out his lawn mower and cut the grass in a bid to erase what had been painted.

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And McKelvin already is looking ahead to the Bills' home opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

"Right now it's all about Tampa Bay," he said.

McKelvin has plenty of reason to look forward after being partly blamed for the loss at New England, in which Buffalo squandered an 11-point lead in the final 2:06.

After the Patriots scored to cut the Bills' lead to 24-19, McKelvin was faulted for not taking a knee in the end zone on the ensuing kickoff. Instead, he ran the ball out and had it stripped from his hands. The Patriots recovered the ball at the Bills' 31-yard line and scored the decisive touchdown three plays later.

"I've just got to do my job. And of course with that, with me handling the ball, I've got to protect it," McKelvin said, noting that he expects a warm reception from Bills fans Sunday. "Buffalo fans are great. They're real great."

And some of those fans intend to prove it based on the numerous reactions supporting McKelvin posted on several Bills message boards.

Mike Stock, a Bills fan from Syracuse, said the vandalism isn't a reflection of the team's fans or of Buffalo -- noted as "The City of Good Neighbors."

"It's unimaginable to me that someone would decide that losing a football game was justification to vandalize someone's property," Stock said. "I'm not only angry at the act, I'm angry at the potential message it conveys. ... Let him know we'll be there screaming `Leodis' on Sunday and that we've got his back."

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Harry Kozlowski, a season-ticket holder from New Hampshire, has suggested that fans sign a giant card apologizing to McKelvin and deliver it to the Bills.

"The McKelvin incident is unfortunate because it tarnishes all Bills fans," Kozlowski said. "Football fans forget that players are human beings. Ruining a player's lawn is not going to help him play better. ... A show of support would do wonders for a guy who already has the weight of letting his teammates down on his shoulders."

Punter Brian Moorman has spent nine seasons in Buffalo and won't write off Bills fans because of one isolated incident.

"There's always going to be somebody out there that's an idiot," Moorman said. "To do something like that is just, I don't know, it lacks class. And I think Buffalo Bills fans have class."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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