The NFL, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Buffalo Bills are reviewing their legal options after a couple of pranksters set up — and taped and shared on the internet — a conversation that Bucs GM Mark Dominik and Bills GM Buddy Nix believed to be private.
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Deadspin published a post Tuesday morning that involved the two general managers talking shop over the telephone on Friday afternoon. The interesting part? They were connected by 20-year-old pranksters who devised a plan for the two to speak.
The Bucs said they plan to handle the matter internally and will work with the league office.
The Bills said via statement: “We are aware of the report on Deadspin involving a phone conversation with Bills GM Buddy Nix. We have made the league aware of the report and are reviewing it with legal counsel.”
First, the pranksters called the Bills’ listed front-office number last Thursday, claiming to be Dominik. When they were transferred to Nix, they immediately hung up. Nix kept calling back, though, until the pranksters decided to contact the Bucs and claim to be Nix to set up a game of phone tag. However, as they were speaking to Dominik’s secretary, Nix dialed back again. The pranksters fell silent as they were transferred to Dominik. Then they put the call on speaker and recorded it with another cellphone as the GMs bantered with each other.
The two shared their displeasure for the three-day pre-free agency negotiating period.
“None of mine are signing,” Dominik said. “Not one of them. They don’t want to sign.”
“You can’t even make an agreement,” Nix said.
There were a few more nuggets from both. Dominik revealed that he’s undecided about what to do with three-year cornerback E.J. Biggers, who was thrust to an increased role after Aqib Talib was suspended for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy last season. The unrestricted free agent started 13 games and had 51 tackles and one interception in 2012. Dominik also said there has been little interest in offensive tackle Jamon Meredith, a four-year pro, so far.
“No one’s really called me back on Jamon, to be honest,” Dominik said.
Meanwhile, Nix revealed the Bills are in good shape at tackle, saying, “We’re pretty set with tackles. We’ve got six draft picks. And hell, we need to gain something, not give them up.” Nix also shared some uncertainty about his quarterback, seventh-year player Ryan Fitzpatrick (whom the Bills ended up releasing on Tuesday).
“We’re still struggling here with our quarterback,” Nix said. “We’re not really struggling — he’s going to have to do something, or we’ll have to.”
The conversation was a revealing glimpse into NFL free-agency and team communication. However, the prank is no laughing matter to the teams involved.