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Hobert waived after admitting he skipped preparation

October 16, 1997 GMT

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) _ Billy Joe Hobert didn’t complete his homework, so the Buffalo Bills kicked him off the team.

The backup quarterback was released by the Bills on Wednesday, eight months after they traded for him and two days after he told The Associated Press that he was not prepared for the New England Patriots.

Hobert was told of the decision by Bills coach Marv Levy after meeting with him about comments he made Monday. The quarterback admitted he was ashamed for not being ready when starter Todd Collins strained his shoulder in the first quarter, forcing Hobert into the game.

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``If I continue talking and speaking my mind, chances are I might not be alive past 35, let alone play football next week,″ Hobert jokingly told Empire Sports Network, a local cable television station. ``I speak my mind quite a bit, and it gets me in trouble. I’ve got to become politically correct.″

Hobert was acquired for a third-round pick from the Oakland Raiders in an offseason trade. Buffalo was hoping he would challenge Collins for the starting job, which Collins won with little problem in training camp.

In addition to losing the draft pick, the Bills were scheduled to pay Hobert $750,000 this season. He will not receive his full contract now that he has been released.

``Maybe I just need to find my niche in professional football and go with it,″ Hobert said. ``And try to make the best of a very bad situation.″

Hobert’s telephone was disconnected Wednesday, and Levy did not return telephone calls seeking comment. Bills spokesman Scott Berchtold said Levy would address the situation today.

On Monday, Hobert said several times that he let down his teammates by not preparing during the week. He was lost at times against the Patriots, admitting he did not know what receivers to hit on certain plays.

``This is the first week I can remember where I only looked at the passing plays one or two times,″ Hobert said at the time. ``I’m probably going to get in trouble for this, but I just didn’t study hard enough.″

Hobert did not believe the Bills would punish him for his lack of preparation. The Bills could have demoted him to third string behind Alex Van Pelt, but instead released him.

Buffalo also remained unsure whether Collins would be healthy before Monday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts. If Collins is not ready, Van Pelt would start, and the Bills would quickly need to find a backup.

They could call free agent Jim Ballard, who was released shortly before the season after playing well during training camp.