Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

December 31, 2012

Buffalo Bills fire coach Chan Gailey

JOHN WAWROW AP Sports Writer
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Eds: Will be updated. With AP Photos.

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Chan Gailey has been fired by the Buffalo Bills after three losing seasons.

The announcement was made Monday, a day after the Bills closed out another disappointing season with a 28-9 win over the New York Jets.

Buffalo finished 6-10, and Gailey leaves with a 16-32 record. There was no immediate word on the status of general manager Buddy Nix.

In a hopeful season after signing star defensive end Mario Williams to a $100 million contract, the Bills reverted to their ways of the past, failing to make the playoffs for a 13th straight year, the NFL's longest active drought.

Gailey met with his players during the team's annual exit meetings and informed at least one of his players that he expected to be fired.

Gailey addressed reporters for a little over a minute, and declined to take questions.

He thanked both Nix and team owner Ralph Wilson for the opportunity, and said he understood the reasons behind the decision. Gailey also announced that his entire staff had been fired.

"I understand this is a business. We didn't get the job done," Gailey said, reading from a Bills pad on which he had jotted down a few notes. "I've been called two other times to get things turned around, was able to do it. We weren't able to get this one done soon enough and I understand that completely."

Gailey's eyes then welled with tears when he credited Bills fans for their loyalty, and Buffalo for being a passionate football city.

"I think that the next staff will have a great opportunity for success, and make this another great football franchise," Gailey said. "This will probably be, and I say probably, but I think it will be the first place that's ever fired me that I'll pull for."

Gailey had at least one more season left on his contract.

It's the latest twirl of the coaching carousel in Buffalo.

The Bills are on their fifth coaching search since Wade Phillips was fired following the 2001 season. Phillips, who took over in 1998 after Hall of Famer Marv Levy retired, was the last coach to get the Bills to the playoffs. That was in the 1999 season, when Buffalo lost the AFC wild-card playoff to Tennessee on a last-second kickoff return, the "Music City Miracle."

Gailey took over in January 2010 after a tumultuous season in which Dick Jauron was fired in November, leaving defensive coordinator Perry Fewell to finish out the season on an interim basis.

It's unclear whether Nix will be overseeing the next coaching search. Nix was at the Bills' facility on Monday.

This was Gailey's second NFL head coaching job. He went a combined 18-16 in two seasons at Dallas before being fired following the 1999 season despite leading the Cowboys to the playoffs each year. He spent six years as head coach at Georgia Tech, where he had a 44-32 record before being fired after the 2007 season.

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