The Bills reached back into their past again to find their new general manager.
Buddy Nix, who worked as an SEC scout for the team from 1993 to 2000, was named general manager of football operations on Thursday by team owner Ralph Wilson. Unlike GMs of the recent past, Nix's GM title was re-defined as strictly a football only role.
The Bills, who have missed the playoffs a franchise-record 10 consecutive seasons, have drawn criticism for neglecting their football operations while concentrating on marketing to sell out their stadium. The Bills have a 5-10 record heading into Sunday's finale against Indianapolis before yet another sellout crowd.
"It has nothing to do with marketing, advertising, tickets -- just football," Wilson said when describing Nix' role. "He will hire a new football coach and oversee him and the whole operation connected with football."
Nix, 70, rejoined the Bills last January as a national scout, ending a brief eight-month retirement after leaving the San Diego Chargers.
He left the Bills after the 2000 season with the late John Butler and A.J. Smith, Buffalo's two lead decision makers, to become the Chargers head of player and pro personnel. He later became assistant GM after Butler died of cancer. From 2001-2007, Nix oversaw drafts that brought in 20 Pro Bowl players to San Diego.
The Bills are hoping his keen eye can help them rebound from a dismal decade of football.
"I'm excited to be here at a time we are. We have a great opportunity. I think it's perfect timing," Nix said. "You always talk about getting 'a football guy.' I don't know what that is exactly but the only way I could be more of a football guy is live longer because it's all I've ever done. I've had all the titles but this one."
After the Bills spoke with Mike Shanahan and rumors swirled this week that Bill Cowher was back on the radar, the Bills settled on Nix, keeping with Wilson's track record of hiring from within. The deal came together in the last week, Nix said, and it was a surprise to him that he was offered the job.
But being a GM of an NFL team was a career goal, he said.
His first order of business is hiring a head coach. He said interim coach Perry Fewell is a candidate and will be interviewed but would not elaborate.
"It's important who we hire, obviously, to be the head coach. This is a crucial time for us. We're going to set about that and make sure we get the right guy," he said.
--QB Ryan Fitzpatrick took the majority of first-team reps for a second day and will start Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts barring any setbacks. Fitzpatrick missed last Sunday's loss in Atlanta with an ankle injury. He was able to run and cut on Thursday and appears close to 100 percent.
--QB Brian Brohm, who started last Sunday's loss at Atlanta, will play the role of backup Sunday against Indianapolis. Ryan Fitzpatrick took the majority of first-team reps again is expected to start barring any setbacks.
--WR Josh Reed did not practice for a second day due to a bad ankle injury. A free agent, he's doubtful for Sunday's game against the Colts.
--DT Marcus Stroud missed another day of practice with an illness. He's a game-time decision for Sunday's game against the Colts. His absence would further deplete a defense that is 32nd against the run.
--SS Donte Whitner did not practice due to an illness. A bug is running through the locker room. He's hopeful for Sunday's game vs. the Colts.
--OT Andre Ramsey injured his calf in practice and was added to the injury report. The severity of his injury isn't known. The Bills are hurting for depth at left tackle with Jonathan Scott not practicing this week with an ankle injury. The state of the left tackle spot won't be known until Sunday.-------------------------------------------------
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