"I just wish something would happen," Paulette Bonamego, John's wife, told the Green Bay News-Chronicle on Tuesday night from Jacksonville. "I'm just a nervous wreck because I want John to get this job so bad. This is what he wants, and I hope John is whom Coach Sherman is looking for."
Bonamego, 39, worked under special teams coaches Larry Pasquale and Frank Gansz Sr. in Jacksonville from 1999-2001. He took over for Gansz Sr., who retired at the end of the 2001 season. He possesses 17 years of coaching experience at various levels but has only coached in the NFL with Jacksonville.
Sherman is seeking a special teams coach after Frank Novak retired on Jan. 9. Novak will finish the final year of his contract as a consultant with the team. Sherman also is seeking a linebackers coach to replace Bo Pelini, who left to become defensive coordinator for the University of Nebraska.
New Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio on Tuesday hired former Dallas Cowboys' teammate Bill Bates as special teams coach, effectively ending Bonamego's stay with the team.
The leading candidate to be Green Bay's linebackers coach appears to be Mark Duffner, who was not retained by Cincinnati Bengals new head coach Marvin Lewis. Duffner and Sherman are close friends, from four years as assistant coaches at Holy Cross.
Ruel has 28 years of coaching experience at the NFL and NCAA-Division I level. Before coming to Green Bay, he spent the 2000 NFL campaign as the offensive line coach with the Detroit Lions.
Ruel began his coaching career with the University of Miami, his alma mater, first as a graduate assistant (1973) and then as offensive line coach (1974-76). He then spent time at Arkansas (Assistant Offensive Line, 1977-78); Washington State (Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line, 1979-81); Texas A&M (Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line, 1982-84); Northern Illinois (Asst. Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator, 1985-87); Kansas (Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line, 1988-9; Asst. Head Coach, 1991-96); and Michigan State (Offensive Line, 1999 and Asst. Head Coach/Offensive line, 1999).
"The biggest thing that excites me is the timing of the opportunity," said Ruel. "Across the league, the Bills are certainly viewed as a team on the rise and one with great things ahead of it. I remember looking at film of them when the Packers played them late in the season and remember thinking how much talent the team has on both sides of the football. The offensive line in particular has a strong nucleus and a great mix of solid veterans and young players. I'm looking forward to it tremendously."
Blackmon, Ruel, and Steckel join defensive line coach Tim Krumrie as the newest members of the Bills coaching staff.