Last night, WIVB-TV in Buffalo reported that the Bills’ first choice to replace coach Dick Jauron was former Bucs and Raiders coach Jon Gruden.
But while the initial report indicated that a face-to-face meeting occurred with Gruden, WIVB now reports that there were only “back channel” communications with a source close to Gruden.
The thrust of the report is unchanged, however. The Bills wanted Gruden, and Gruden wasn’t interested.
WIVB also reports that the Bills will have “informal conversations” with potential candidates in the coming weeks, but that no hire will be made until after the season.
As a practical matter, no hire can be made until after the season. An interim coach already has been named, and it would be unconvential to the point of awkward to bring in an outsider to take the reins through the end of the season — and then to conduct a Rooney Rule-compliant search from scratch after the season, with the outside hire suddenly a mere candidate for the job for which he already has been hired.
Coincidentally, Peter King of NBC reported during halftime of Saturday’s UConn-Notre Dame game that the presumed top choice of the job, Mike Shanahan, won’t make any decisions until after the season, either.
King also pointed out that it’s possible owner Ralph Wilson will “blow up” the organization, cleaning house and starting from scratch with new leadership of the entire football operation.