Teens admit to defacing McKelvin's lawn

Updated: September 16, 2009, 9:00 PM ET
Associated Press

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills cornerback Leodis McKelvin is so far willing to forgive and forget after two male teens admitted to police that they defaced the player's front lawn.

Hamburg police Sgt. Thomas Best said Wednesday night that McKelvin is refusing to press charges against two 16-year-olds, who said they were the ones who spray-painted a message and an obscenity across the grass in front of the player's home shortly after the Bills' season-opening 25-24 loss at New England on Monday night.

Best said it'll be up to the Erie County district's attorney's office to press charges against the two suspects. Best declined to release the names of the two teens because of their age but noted they both live near McKelvin's home in suburban Buffalo.

The vandalism created headlines across the country, was fodder for numerous sports talk radio programs and led to several Bills players questioning their privacy and security as they returned to practice to prepare to host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

While McKelvin said early Wednesday afternoon he didn't want anyone arrested for what happened, 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."

Linebacker Kawika Mitchell had guessed that the vandalism was caused by "a bunch of kids" but still noted how NFL players are concerned about their security 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 shrugged it off, saying he 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."

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

And McKelvin's already looking ahead to playing 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 the Bills squandered an 11-point lead in the final 2:06.

After the Patriots scored to cut Buffalo's 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 the ball stripped from his hands. The Patriots recovered at the Bills' 31 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 on 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 is not 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."

Harry Kozlowski, a season ticket-holder from New Hampshire, has suggested 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

ALSO SEE