Bills want to speak with Rex Ryan about head-coaching job

BY foxsports • January 7, 2015


Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson interviewed for the Buffalo Bills' head-coaching job on Wednesday. And former New York Jets coach Rex Ryan is on deck.

A person familiar with the team's search process revealed those two candidates -- among a number of others -- to The Associated Press on Wednesday. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Bills have not announced any details of their search to replace Doug Marrone, who stepped down abruptly last week.

There are at least 10 candidates on the list. Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has already been interviewed, as was Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmer, the person said.

A second person familiar with the process, and also speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the AP that the Bills were granted permission from the Browns to interview Cleveland offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. He is the son of two-time Super Bowl-winning coach Mike Shanahan, who is also a candidate after being interviewed by the Bills in San Francisco last weekend.

The Bills are taking an exhaustive, wide-reaching approach to the search under new owners Terry and Kim Pegula, who bought the franchise in October. Both Pegulas are sitting in on the interviews, along with general manager Doug Whaley and team president Russ Brandon.

The team has not established a timetable on hiring a coach, or placed a limit on the number of candidates being considered, the person said.

That's a switch from the Bills' previous coaching search, during which five candidates were interviewed six days before Marrone was hired in early January 2013. The team is in the midst of its sixth coaching search since Wade Phillips was fired following the 2000 season.

Separately, a third person familiar with the decision told the AP that former general manager Buddy Nix and veteran scouts David G. Smith and David W. Smith will not return. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Bills have not announced the moves.

Nix held the role of special assistant since stepping down as GM in May 2013. The Smiths had a combined 58 years of NFL experience, and each held the title of scout emeritus.

The offseason changes come following a season in which the Bills showed signs of progress. Buffalo (9-7) had its best record in 10 years, yet still extended the NFL's longest active playoff drought to 15 seasons.

Marrone's departure caught the Bills off guard. The second-year coach exercised the opt-out clause in his contract, which kicked into effect once the team was sold following the death of Hall of Fame owner Ralph Wilson in March.

The Pegulas now have a chance to start fresh. And the team's extensive list of candidates provides them options to determine the Bills' future front-office structure.

The Bills already met with three assistants currently working for teams still in the playoffs: Seattle coordinators Darrell Bevell (offense) and Dan Quinn (defense), and Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase.

Coaches on playoff teams cannot be hired until their seasons end.

The Bills also interviewed San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Frank Reich. 

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