Evans staying patient during Bills coaching search
Despite several setbacks and at least one rejection in the Buffalo Bills' search for a new coach, receiver Lee Evans has confidence general manager Buddy Nix will find the right man for the job.
``It's pretty early right now. I don't think there's a sense of desperation,'' Evans said Friday. ``(Buddy's) been around football for a long time. And I'm sure the Bills have a plan to get the right kind of guy that they want.''
Evans spoke by phone from his home in suburban Buffalo where he is eagerly seeking the latest tidbit of information on what's been a relatively quiet - and occasionally frustrating - search to replace Dick Jauron, who was fired in November.
Saying he's both patient and optimistic, Evans added: ``I don't think there's any reason to panic right now.''
As it stands, the list of candidates is dwindling and not by the Bills' choice.
Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer turned down Buffalo's request for an interview this week. Perry Fewell, who finished the season as the Bills interim head coach, was hired as the New York Giants defensive coordinator on Thursday.
That leaves Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier as the only known candidate the Bills have interviewed who remains in contention during the team's fourth coaching search in 10 years. The Bills also have received permission to interview Arizona Cardinals assistant head coach Russ Grimm, though it's unclear when that meeting will take place.
Buffalo is no rush because neither Frazier or Grimm can be hired until their teams are eliminated from the playoffs. The Vikings host Dallas on Sunday, while the Cardinals play at New Orleans on Saturday.
The Bills also have no competition around the league because they're currently the only NFL team conducting a search.
Nix hasn't spoken publicly since his introductory news conference on Dec. 31 and did not return a message left at his home in Tennessee.
Mike Shanahan, who met with Bills chief executive officer Russ Brandon in November, has since taken over in Washington. The Bills also have had talks with former Steelers coach Bill Cowher, but team owner Ralph Wilson said he isn't sure whether Cowher is still interested.
Cowher is favored by Bills fans. They raised $1,125 through an Internet campaign to rent an electronic billboard in Buffalo urging Wilson to hire Cowher.
Evans prefers Cowher, too, but noted it's unlikely that will happen.
``I think it would've been great to have somebody like Bill Cowher,'' he said. ``But he may just be moving in a different direction than what was presented him by the Bills.''
Evans wasn't discouraged by Schottenheimer or any other candidate rejecting the Bills.
``You can't necessarily take it personally, that they just don't want to come to Buffalo,'' he said. ``For whatever reason, there may be another opportunity for them.''
Frazier is regarded as one of the top coordinators ready to step into a head-coaching job.
Frazier has won Super Bowls as a player with the 1985 Chicago Bears and an assistant coach with the 2006 Indianapolis Colts. In three seasons with the Vikings, he has helped mold the veteran defense into one of the best in the league and continued their recent history as one of the stingiest against the run.
Last weekend, Frazier also interviewed for the Seahawks vacancy, which has since been filled by former USC coach Pete Carroll. Over the past two years, Frazier also was a candidate for openings in Miami, Detroit, St. Louis, Denver and Atlanta.
What might be of concern is how quickly the Bills next head coach can assemble a staff.
The Bills have released their coaches from their obligations, and numerous assistants already have been hired by other teams. Aside from New York hiring Fewell, who also served as Buffalo's defensive coordinator, special teams coach Bobby April has been hired by Philadelphia while offensive line coach Sean Kugler is with the Steelers.
Notes: The Bills on Friday re-signed three players that ended the season on the team's practice squad: defensive tackles Rashaad Duncan and Lonnie Harvey, and offensive tackle Jason Watkins.
AP Sports Writer Jon Krawczynski in Eden Prairie, Minn., contributed to this report.