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Homecoming Ahead For April

Every Saturday night before a game, special teams coordinator Bobby April stays in the team hotel, reviewing the week's game plan and doing some initial work on the next week's opponent. It's a routine April won't break - not even this week when he returns to Buffalo for the first time after a six-year stint coaching for the Bills from 2004-2009.

"I never leave the hotel," April said, "No exceptions."

But that doesn't mean April isn't looking forward to the trip.

"It's kind of a special game for me," he said Thursday. "I was there for six years, the longest I had ever been anywhere in the NFL, so I have a close relationship with the people there and the community. It's a little different game for me."

April's special teams units were consistently among the best in the league during his time in Buffalo. April's punt return units were ranked in the top five in the league in five of his six season (leading the league twice); the Bills' kickoff return ranked in the top 10 five times; April's punt coverage finished in the top 10 twice (leading the league in 2007) and the kickoff coverage units were among the top 10 in all six seasons.

But as successful as April's special teams were, he still laments the lack of wins during his time in Buffalo.

"We didn't win as much as we wanted to," April said. "But I have a lot of good memories because it was a good place with great people.

"We had a great group of people. We had really a lot of success and it was because they had put together a collection of really high character tough guys and they did a really good job ... And it was really a neat place to live. It was a great community."

After corralling Ted Ginn last week, April must prepare his team to face another dangerous returner this week in Brad Smith (the Eagles are off to a strong start in punt coverage, where they rank second in the league). He's also hoping for a bounceback performance from rookie Alex Henery, who missed the final two field goals against the 49ers after making his first three. Fortunately, because of the timing of game, April and the Eagles aren't likely to worry about the notorious Buffalo weather.

"It's traditionally a very windy city. The wind comes off that water, it's usually a windy place. But you'll have some very calm days and from everything projected, it's supposed to be very nice," April said. "And a nice day there at this time of year is as nice as anywhere in the world."

It'll be even nicer if April can leave his old stomping grounds with a much-needed victory.

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