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Bills

May 17, 2013

Bills make expected move

Promotion of assistant Doug Whaley to take over as GM no surprise to anyone

(Continued)

ORCHARD PARK —

Among Whaley’s first priorities will be negotiating to sign star safety Jairus Byrd. Though the Bills secured Byrd’s rights by placing a franchise tag on him this offseason, the player has yet to sign his contract.
Byrd is instead holding out in a bid to secure a long-term deal.
“He’s a good player. We want to keep him, and we’re going to negotiate with him,” Whaley said. “Hopefully, everything will be where we need it to be, when we need it to be.”
He’s also preparing to open talks in a bid to re-sign center Eric Wood, who is entering the final year of his contract.
Whaley, who is black, snaps an NFL trend this offseason during which no minorities were hired to fill eight coaching and seven general manager vacancies. He becomes the Bills first black GM and the league’s sixth.
From Pittsburgh, he spent 12 seasons working in various capacities as a scout with the Steelers.
Whaley played both linebacker and safety at Pitt and broke into the NFL in 1995 as a Steelers pro personnel assistant. He then spent three years as a scout with the Seattle Seahawks, before returning to Pittsburgh.
He’s leaning heavily on his experiences with the Steelers, one of the NFL’s most stable and competitive franchises.
“My formative years in this business were being part of the Steelers, and the one thing that the Steeler organization is all about is championships,” Whaley said. “They don’t accept losing. They set the standard of winning and competing for championships. And I think if we instill that here, we’ll be in the right direction.”
Whaley’s promotion comes at a time when the Bills are essentially starting from scratch in rebuilding what Brandon described as having a “tarnished” reputation.

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