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Buddy Nix steps down
Bills GM Buddy Nix stepped down today. Below are comments from an afternoon news conference from both Nix and Bills President/CEO Russ Brandon:
Buddy Nix: This is a thing that once we started this three and a half years ago, you know it is coming. It is coming for all of you guys if you are fortunate enough to stay in what you are doing. With me, being around as I had it was coming quicker. I think that there is like three reasons for this at this time. The main one is the timing. There is never a good time personally, but for the Bills and for the organization this is the best time. Starting next week, I already had a flight and was scheduled to go to St. Pete to start on the 2014 Draft. You sit there for 10 hours a day and listen to reports one right after the other on the 2014 Draft choices (prospects). To be honest with you, my energy level is as good as it has ever been, but I was not all excited about that trip. We have got some young scouts that are fired up about it and that is the way it should be. That is the way I was. The best time, and again for us, is before we start the process for next year. The second thing, and again these are benefits not a reason, but it would be nice to see if there is something else out there in life. Your family. And I do not know see them much. I am going to my grandson's ninth birthday party this weekend. I have not been before and my family is awful nervous about it. (Laughs) The main thing and the main reason, again, is the timing and being the best thing for the organization. I hope all of you guys are as fortunate when you do give it up that you can stay around and still be a part of it. That is really a good thing. I appreciate that from Russ (Brandon) and the organization.
Q: What do you see your role being, Buddy?
BN: Russ can probably help answer that, but whatever. I am going to have my office at home. It will be everything I have got here. I get all the tape. I get everything. Whatever Russ, whoever the general manager is and Doug Marrone--any way I can help I will do it. I am going to still come to camp. You guys, you are not going to get off that easy. I will still be around. I am going to come to minicamp. I am going to be in camp and I will be doing whatever. I will try to see another couple OTA's. I am going to be here through till Thursday. Hopefully be around. I am excited about enjoying next year. I think it is going to be exciting.
Q: Is this solely your decision or is this a decision by committee?
BN: I just gave you the reasons. That is what they are.
Q: When you took the job, did you have a timeframe for this in your mind then?
BN: No. At first...I know the way we went about this thing with the team is a slow process. Building through the Draft is a slow process. The third year was a hard year. We expected more. We did not get it. With the whole staff all of those things made it a really tough time. A tough year. I never put a timetable on it. I always felt like I would know when it was the right time and I think it is the right time.
Q: Looking back on your time as GM, what are you most proud of and what do you wish you could take back?
BN: You know anytime you make decisions you are going to make mistakes. We have had some. I would not want to name them, but I think the thing that probably I am the most proud of will be the next two or three years, if that makes any sense. I think we have got a really good, young roster. I love our head coach. I think he is a guy that is going to win a lot of games here for a long time. After spending a weekend with this group of rookies, 24 of them, it is fun to watch. Like I say, I am going to be at all the home games and maybe even a couple more if I want to. I am looking forward to watching.
Q: Did you talk with Mr. Wilson about this and what kind of feedback did you get?
BN: Mr. Wilson is the owner. He is informed of everything. He knows about it and he is in step with it.
Q: Did you have any kind of talk with him?
BN: I have not. We did visit with him before the Draft.
Q: Does this decision reflect the confidence you have in this year's draft class?
BN: Well yeah, I wanted to feel good about it. I do. I think I have said all along that there were certain things we wanted to do and wanted to have in place. I feel good about that.
Q: Where will home be? Will it be here or somewhere else?
BN: Well I am going to keep my home here now. I also have a home in Tennessee. I am going to try to get down there more.
Q: Health is not an issue then?
BN: Absolutely not. If you want to go workout with me when we get through here... (Laughs)
Q: Is there a sense that there is a new coach in place to sort of let that coach carry on with a start over at every level?
BN: Yeah and I think there is. I think at some point you have got to step aside and let young guys that are qualified have their shot. I have been around a long time and this will be season number 53 coming up.
Q: How much are you going to miss it?
BN: If I had to go cold turkey, the next event may not be long. That's the reason I am thankful that I will stay involved.
Q: What will Buddy's role look like?
Russ Brandon: He will remain a vital part of the organization. He will still play a vital role in our football organization. He will assist me, Coach Marrone and the next general manager in projects that we all work on together and discuss. He means more to me than I can say and has been a significant part of this organization and has helped raised me in this business. When we talk about projects moving forward with Coach Marrone and the next general manager, Buddy will be involved in a lot of that activity.
Q: What will be Buddy's role going forward?
RB: He has done football his whole life in a variety of capacities. He is a decorated coach and scout. We have a very close relationship between everyone involved, and when we go through OTA's and training camp, where Buddy will be for the majority, he will play a vital role in the organization.
Q: What are your plans for the GM position going forward?
RB: We have a plan and we are going to execute that plan. But today is about Buddy. When I am ready to address the other situation at some point, we will all be sitting here again together and we'll go through that process. I won't go through that today or at any time in the near future. We have a plan in everything we do.
Q: What is the legacy that Buddy leaves?
RB: He brought instant credibility to the GM role. He has a decorated career and is a pure football man. He brought honesty and conviction in his beliefs to this football organization and community. His legacy here is as a long-time scout and GM is crucial to what we have achieved.
Q: Do you regret not addressing the young franchise quarterback?
BN: Hindsight is 20/20. But I don't really...We went about it in the way it presented itself. We won just enough games to be picking at a bad time. When we are talking about one, two or three guys that we were thinking of franchise guys, you would have felt worse on passing up on a C.J. Spiller. That would be a worse feeling for us. The way it worked out for us reflected that we had the right idea. If we could have played defense and made more plays, I think we were good enough to have a winning season and go to the playoffs. And at that time, we could have seen the young guy develop.
Q: Do you have any regrets about the "labor pain" comment?
BN: I thought we would have gotten it done in the third year. I knew the first two (years) were going to be struggles, but we thought we had things in place to win more games. And I think we did, but we just didn't get it done for whatever reason.
Q: How did you feel going through your last draft?
BN: I didn't think about that as my last draft. We were so focused on the draft, and after that, we then started thinking about timing. If you think about waiting for the end of the season, you already go through a full fall of scouting and personnel matters. So when you are in the middle of that, you do not want to leave before the draft. This is the best timing for the organization and to move on with somebody new. We will go through the process together.
Q: Was Doug Marrone aware of a transition at GM in the future during the head coaching interview process?
BN: He knew because he has read so many times when you guys print about me. He figured it wasn't going to last forever.
This is my advice for the new GM, and have your answers ready: 1. When are you going to retire? 2. What's the progress on the free agent negotiations? 3. Who has the final say? If he can answer those three, he will last a long time.
Q: What is the progress on develop the analytics program?
RB: That is a process that we are looking at now. We already do a lot of that already and we are looking to add different elements to that. But we never want to override the scouting procedures that we have in place. As we are looking at everything on the football side and the business side, over the next calendar year, we will have more of that in place as we move forward.