Buffalo, N.Y. (AP) -- The Buffalo Bills coaching search went into overdrive Friday, when team officials interviewed three candidates, including Oregon's Chip Kelly, one of college football's hottest prospects.
The Bills announced just before midnight that newly promoted president
Russ Brandon and his top executives also interviewed recently fired
Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith and Syracuse coach Doug Marrone. The
Bills, stationed in Arizona for much of this week, didn't provide
details regarding where the interviews took place or how long they
Next up for Buffalo is a trip to Denver on Saturday, when the team is
scheduled to interview Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy,
according to a person familiar with Buffalo's plans. The person spoke
on the condition of anonymity because the team has not revealed who
they've lined up to meet.
The Bills are in the midst of their fifth coaching search since 2001
after Chan Gailey was fired on Monday.
It was a busy day for Kelly, as well. He also interviewed with
Cleveland on Friday, and a person familiar with those negotiations said
the Browns are nearing a deal with Oregon's offensive mastermind.
Kelly's interviews were conducted a day after he led the Ducks (12-1)
to a 35-17 victory over Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl in Arizona.
Following the win, the 49-year-old Kelly said he wanted to get the
interview process over ''quickly.''
Kelly was also supposed to meet with Philadelphia. However, a person
familiar with the interviews says the Eagles are ''heading in another
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity
because the team isn't discussing its negotiations publicly. The person
added the Eagles planned to interview several other candidates
regardless of any conversations with Kelly.
The Eagles were granted permission Friday to interview Colts offensive
coordinator Bruce Arians and Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley
and are scheduled to meet with McCoy in Denver on Sunday, as well.
The Bills are coming off their second consecutive 6-10 season and have
not enjoyed a winning record since a 9-7 finish in 2004. They own the
NFL's longest active playoff drought that's now at 13 consecutive
Buffalo has already interviewed former Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt,
who was fired on Monday, as well as Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray
The Bills' meeting with Smith did not come as a surprise. Several
reports surfaced over the past few days that the former Bears coach was
interested in the Buffalo job since he was fired by the Bears on
Monday. Smith has indirect ties to the Bills through former Bears
defensive assistant coach Gill Byrd, who is the father of Buffalo
safety Jairus Byrd.
Smith is a defensive-minded coach, who would have an opportunity to put
his stamp on Buffalo's revamped but under-achieving defense, which
struggled last year. The unit was among the NFL's worst despite the
addition of defensive end Mario Williams, who signed a six-year, $100
million contract in free agency in March.
Marrone has been credited for turning around the Orange in four
seasons. Syracuse rolled to an 8-5 finish by winning six of its last
seven games this season, including a 38-14 win over West Virginia in
the Pinstripe Bowl last weekend.
McCoy has become a hot prospect in his fourth season with the Broncos.
He's played a key role in helping speed Peyton Manning's transition
after the star quarterback signed with the team in free agency last
offseason. McCoy has 13 years of NFL experience as an assistant, and
previously spent eight seasons working under Broncos coach John Fox in
Over his career, McCoy had quarterbacks reach 3,000 yards passing seven
times. That includes Manning, who finished sixth in the NFL this season
with 4,659 yards.
As the AFC's top seed, the Broncos are off until opening the playoffs
on Jan. 12. They've allotted time for interested teams to interview
McCoy in Denver this weekend. McCoy has also been linked as a candidate
for coaching vacancies in Arizona and Chicago.
Bills Coaching Search Continues
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