By Sal Capaccio
Buffalo Bills co-owner Kim Pegula told WGR Monday evening that even though Anthony Lynn is a candidate for the team’s vacant head coaching position, he is certainly “not a lock” to be named Rex Ryan’s permanent replacement.
I spoke with Pegula in an exclusive interview just hours after General Manager Doug Whaley met with the media to answer questions regarding the firing of Ryan and the search for his replacement.
“We are going to do a fair and compete interview process,” Pegula told me. “He is one of our candidates, but we aren’t going to just hand it over. It wouldn’t be fair to other possible candidates or to Anthony to just assume it’s a fake search.”
Pegula said she expects “five or six” candidates to have formal interviews with the club, as opposed to the twelve the team interviewed two years ago before hiring Ryan. Whaley confirmed Monday the team has requested permission to to speak to Arizona Cardinals offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin. The Associated Press reported Monday that Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott is also scheduled to interview for the position, while NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport says the team has requested permission from the Miami Dolphins to speak with their defensive coordinator, Vance Joseph.
A person familiar with the coaching search, speaking on condition of anonymity, told me the team has no plans as of right now to speak with Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who the team interviewed two years ago. However, that person said things could change based on how the search begins to unfold.
Pegula said ownership and front office personnel will begin meeting Tuesday to further discuss candidates, as well as player evaluations and the off-season direction of the orgnization.
When it came to the dismissal of Ryan, Pegula denied reports that said the decision had been made weeks prior to the announcement, saying there are always different discussions after every game involving what went right and what went wrong. She said firing Ryan was not an easy decision for her or her husband Terry, but one they ultimately felt was right for the organization. ”I believe in continuity and really wanted to make that happen,” she said. “But, we just realized team wasn't going in the direction we wanted.”
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