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Mularkey Is Bills' Choice

Mike Mularkey - AP Photo Player Mending: All the players that were banged up this season are on the mend so they will be ready for mini camp. Some have had off season surgeries like Rian Lindell and Mark Campbell others are resting nagging injuries like Eric Moulds, Travis Henry, Ruben Brown, Trey Teague, and Willis McGahee. Injury Page.

Saturday January 17, 2003

Gray Excited To Stay: Jerry Gray did not look at it as a slap in the face that he didn't get the head coaching job or even that he was probably the second choice as the team's defensive coordinator. He looked at it as in honor that Mike Mularkey wanted to keep him even though he also interviewed for the job. He said he will be 100% behind the new coach and will look to fix two areas of the defense: Third downs and takeaways.

Defensive Assistants: With Gray staying it likely many of his assistants will also be brought back. They include DL coach Tim Krumrie and LB coach Don Blackmon who were very successful last year. CB coach Pat Thomas and quality control coach Chuck Lester are the other assistants. The Bills won't be bringing back Steve Jackson as he is expected to join Gregg Williams in Washington.

Friday January 16, 2003

Gray Stays: The Bills announced today that Jerry Gray will remain with the team as the defensive coordinator. He is being kept on after Dick LeBeau took a similar job with the Steelers. Gray will likely have a little more power than he did last year with LeBeau around and the team will likely be able to keep some consistency with the staff of the number two ranked defense in the league this year.

LeBeau Leaves: Dick LeBeau has decided to go back to Pittsburgh to re-join Bill Cowher's staff as their defensive coordinator. Mike Mularkey was hoping to keep LeBeau as the Bills defensive coordinator but now will have to keep Jerry Gray or look outside the organization for a candidate. The deciding factor for Lebeau may have been that he still has family in Pittsburgh and it is closer to his Cincinnati home than Buffalo.

Bledsoe Excited: Drew Bledsoe told the Buffalo News that he is excited about playing for Mike Mularkey. He said it is the first time in his career that he will be playing for an offensive minded coach. He feels it will be a smooth transition since the terminology is pretty much the same as it was under Kevin Gilbride. He thinks it will be fun since the Steelers have always had a tendency to use gadget plays and that will surely be brought to Buffalo. He was also excited about the hiring of offensive coordinator Tom Clements and offensive line coach Jim McNally. He feels McNally is a coup for the team and feels he will have success working with a young but talented line.

LeBeau To Pittsburgh? Reports out of Pittsburgh say that Dick LeBeau has decided to return to the Steelers as their defensive coordinator. Mike Mularkey had wanted him for that position in Buffalo but said yesterday that position is on hold at the moment.

Blache To Interview: If LeBeau indeed is going to Pittsburgh the Bills are likely to open up a search for a new defensive coordinator. Jerry Gray may have the inside track at staying in his current position but he may be turned off after not getting the head coaching job and knowing that he is the second choice. Of course, if the Bills want to keep him in the position he has no choice, he's under contract for one more year. A report says former Bears defensive coordinator Greg Blache, who lost out too LeBeau on the Steelers job, will interview with the Bills and the Chiefs.

Thursday January 15, 2004

Clements To Work With Bledsoe: Tom Donahoe was glowing in his remarks about the new offensive coordinator Tom Clements. He said he was a finalist for the job a couple of years ago when Gregg Williams hired Kevin Gilbride instead. He indicated that he would have liked to hire Clements and has known him since high school. He said Clements is known for doing great things with quarterbacks and he should be able to help Drew Bledsoe excel since he is more talented than Kordell Stewart and Mark Maddox. Two QBs that Mike Mularkey and Clements resurrected in Pittsburgh.

Donahoe On Hiring Process: Tom Donahoe said that they got the right guy but the NFL procedures on interviewing assistants that are still in the playoffs hampers those coaches. He said it wasn't important to get a guy with head coaching experience. It was more important to get the right guy. He felt the interviews were very good and the seven candidates were an impressive group and each candidate had his strengths. He also felt it was good to go with a coach that he knows well.

Mularkey Feels Bills Are Close: Mike Mularkey said he's very excited about the opportunity in front of him. He feels it is prestigous to work for a man like Ralph Wilson and an organzation led by Tom Donahoe and Tom Modrak. He said he knows he's very fortunate to join an organziation that is real close to winning. He said he's working hard already in developing his staff and it is falling into place including two hires. He says there are just a couple of pieces of the puzzle missing and that it is his job to fill the holes. His staff will be filled with creative people that are good teachers. He said Super Bowl is his password and it is his and his staff's objective to get to the big game. It is the one goal that he is short of and he will surround himself with the people that will help the team achieve the goal.

McNally, Clements Aboard: In his press conference Mike Mularkey made it official that Jim McNally is joining his staff as the offensive line coach and Tom Clements will be the offensive coordinator. Clements was the QB coach in Pittsburgh and McNally is one of the most well respected offensive line coach in the league. He was with the Giants last year. Mularkey has spoken to the current staff and plans to sit down with each of them tomorrow. He said he has spoken to both Jerry Gray and Dick LeBeau about the defensive coordinator position and right now that job is on hold.

Bledsoe Definitely Staying: Mike Mularkey said he had a very good conversation with Drew Bledsoe and will keep him. He plans on sitting down with him in a couple of weeks to get a feel for each other. He said Drew is not "broken" and feels offensively the team may take a step back in order to take two steps forward. He said you have to put players in position to use their strengths and that may have been a problem with Bledsoe this year. Offensively they will not start over from scratch since the terminology will be similar to what they have had in Buffalo. He feels they will have a methodical offense that will wear teams down, control the football, and score in the red zone. Mularkey will not call the offensive plays, he will let his coordinator do that.

Donahoe Says Mularkey Has Mental Toughness: Tom Donahoe introduced the 13th head coach in Buffalo Bills history at a press conference this afternoon. Donahoe said it is a great day for the organization and the community. He thanked Ralph Wilson and Tom Modrak who were instrumental in the hiring process. He said the team is very honored to have Mike Mularkey as the head coach. He called him an outstanding candidate for the job and there were certain things that stood out about Mularkey like leadership and the ability to teach and communicate. He feels Mularkey will bring mental toughness that was missing from the team. He feels the most important quality is his ability to understand players. He feels he will be a very special coach for the team and will coach to the strengths of the team. He admitted that is something they did not do this past year.

Clements Probably To Join Mularkey: It seems like barring a last minute snag, Tom Clements will become the offensive coordinator for the Bills. Empire is reporting that the Steelers QB coach will in fact accept the job with the Bills. There is a chance there will be an announcement during this afternoon's press conference. Of course, we will have complete coverage of the introduction press conference throughout the late afternoon.

Mularkey's Deal Details: It seems Mike Mularkey will get a much better deal than the man he is replacing. Reports say he is getting a five year deal worth either slightly more or slightly less than $1.5 Million a year. That would make him the highest paid coach in team history. His deal is similar to the one signed by Jim Mora Jr. in Atlanta last week.

Gilbride Interviews In Cornell: It is a forgone conclusion that Kevin Gilbride will not return to the Bills. He interviewed this week for the head coaching position at Cornell University. The Bills needed to give him permission and did see he won't return.

McNally Should Join Staff: It has been widely speculated that if Mike Mularkey got the Bills job he would bring with him one of the best offensive line coaches in the league. WGR radio is now confirming that sources within the Bills organization have told them that former Giants offensive line coach Jim McNally will join the Bills staff. Nothing is official about any assistants at this point.

Wednesday Janary 14, 2003

It's Official! The Bills finally made it officially this afternoon as they announced that Mike Mularkey will be the new head coach of the team. He becomes the 13th man to hold the job. He will be formally introduced at a press conference tomorrow at 4pm. Of course, we will have complete coverage.

Wilson, Tasker Denied: Nobody with ties to the Bills will be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year. The list of 15 finalists were announced today and Ralph Wilson and Steve Tasker were not on the list. The two were semi-finalists.

Bills Deny Deal: In a blurb on the team's official website they say that the team has not struck a deal at this time to bring Mike Mularkey to Buffalo as the head coach. They go on to say that at the present time no press conference has been scheduled.

LeBeau As DC? John Clayton on reports that he expects Dick LeBeau to become the defensive coordinator under Mike Mularkey. LeBeau has been offered the defensive coordinator job in Pittsburgh and said that it is a better situation than he had last year in Buffalo, so he may have a decision to make. Clayton also reports that Mularkey would likely try to get Steelers QB Coach Tom Clements to be his offensive coordinator. He reportedly called all the Bills assistants last night to inform them of his hiring.

It's Mularkey: All broadcast reports say that the Bills will name Mike Mularkey the new head coach of the team. He was reportedly offered the job late last night after an all day interview in Detroit with Ralph Wilson. He won out over Charlie Weis and Dick Jauron as Tom Donahoe chose a familiar face after an exhaustive search. Mularkey got the job based on his offensive views. He had been the offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers and is considered one of the brighter offensive minds in the league.

Lindell Surgery: Kicker Rian Lindell will undergo surgery for a torn labrum in his shoulder next week. He will have a month's recovery time but it obviously will not effect his role as a kicker.

Tuesday January 13, 2003

Redskins Complain About Bills Assistants: The NFL Coaches Association have sent a letter to Ralph Wilson and Commissioner Paul Tagliabue asking the club to make a decision about the club's assistant coaches. He wants him to guarantee that they will return next year or let them out of their contracts now. The Redskins have complained that they have been hamstrung in their effort to bring most of the defensive coaches from Buffalo to Washington. The Bills would like to hold on to the assistants to see if the new head coach wants them.

Mularkey, Donahoe Talk Again: CNNSI is reporting that Mike Mularkey and Tom Donahoe talked again yesterday by phone and plan to talk again. The story says sources expect that Mularkey now has the inside track and may be hired by the Bills as early as midweek. The article says that Donahoe threw many scenarios at Mularkey that he considers key to the interview process.

Monday January 12, 2003

No Announcement Expected Today: Tom Donahoe told a Pittsburgh newspaper last night that no announcement on the next head coach is expected today. He said he is still reviewing information with Ralph Wilson. If the team doesn't make an announcement in the next day or two it is likely that they are willing to wait out the Patriots playoff run to talk to Charlie Weis again. Sources out of Oakland say that Mike Mularkey turned down their interview request because he is expected to be named the Bills head coach today. Stay tuned...

Modrak Staying? The Dolphins have yet to fill their open GM position but it looks like they won't fill it with Tom Modrak. He has yet to call them back to accept their request for an interview. The Dolphins are looking to fill the job by the middle of the week. They have interviewed seven candidates and are going over the information.

Jackson, Smith Expected To Join Redskins: The Washington Redskins are expected to hire Bills assistants Steve Jackson and Danny Smith this week. Both were given permission to interview for open positions on Joe Gibbs' staff. Jackson was the Bills third down and safeties coach while Smith will likely be the special teams coordinator in Washington.

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