7:43pm: The Bills have yet to decide on whether they’ll bring in a football czar and who it might be, whether it’s Polian or Mike Holmgren or someone else, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Marrone could have worked out a lucrative extension with the Bills, but he was nervous about signing on without knowing who the top boss would be (link).
5:39pm: The Bills will hire Bill Polian as their team president, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). The move may not be announced until January, however, due to his other commitments. Polian currently serves as an NFL analyst for ESPN and presumably will tie up some loose ends in Bristol.
5:38pm: Bills owner Terry Pegula has issued a statement on Marrone’s departure:
“Doug Marrone informed me late today that he has decided to exercise the option clause in his contract and relinquish his responsibilities as our head coach. “We are disappointed that Coach Marrone will no longer be an important part of our organization. We thank him for all of his hard work and leadership during his tenure and wish him and his family the best with the next chapter in their lives. We will now begin the important process of conducting a thorough search for a new head coach as we continue to strive to reach our goal of returning to the playoffs and bringing a championship to Buffalo for our fans.”
5:29pm: Bills coach Doug Marrone has opted out of his contract, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Marrone, surprisingly, gets to pocket his 2015 salary even though he’s headed elsewhere (link).
Marrone asked the Pegula family for an extension and was rebuffed, leading to his exit, according to Tim Graham of The Buffalo News (on Twitter). Marrone also asked for extensions for his assistant coaches and was shut down. While he didn’t get what he wanted, the former Syracuse coach did get to walk away with his full $4MM paycheck thanks to a very advantageous contract clause negotiated by agent Jimmy Sexton.
Marrone is now a free agent at a time when several NFL teams are looking for new head coaches. The Jets will have strong interest in him, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network (on Twitter). Meanwhile, the Bills will have their eye on Chargers offensive coordinator Frank Reich. The Jets already satisfied the Rooney Rule by interviewing Anthony Lynn earlier today, so they could theoretically hire Marrone right away.
The Bills went 9-7 this year under Marrone – their first winning season since 2004 – and 6-10 in 2013. In total, he has a 15-17 record as an NFL coach. Marrone, of course, first made a name for himself as the head coach at Syracuse, where he guided the lowly Orange to a 25-25 mark and two bowl appearances over the course of four seasons. While his win-loss totals may not be the prettiest, Marrone found success with a very hard-nosed defense this past season and should draw widespread interest from around the NFL. One has to imagine that he could already have his next opportunity lined up.
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