ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Bills players praised their head coach before and after they found out Chan Gailey had been fired.
As they cleaned out their lockers Monday morning, several players were asked about Gailey's future with the team and their thoughts of the coach.
"He (Gailey) means a lot to me as a coach and a person, and he's somebody that I'll always respect," said Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
"He's a great man," Running Back C.J. Spiller said. "He gave me an opportunity."
Tight End Scott Chandler said, "He's a guy who's pretty special to me, who I have a lot of respect for, and I really think that we built here, and I hope we get to continue to build it."
"I'm always going to stand behind Coach Gailey," Running Back Fred Jackson said. "He's a guy that goes to war for us. He does everything he can to put us in the best opportunity to win a football game."
"Hopefully we get that one more season with our coaching staff," Wide Receiver Stevie Johnson said.
However, just minutes later, the Bills sent out a release to the media confirming that Gailey had been "relieved of duties as head coach."
Defensive End Kyle Williams was the only player remaining in the locker room after the announcement of Gailey's firing.
"I think everybody in here has a tremendous amount of respect for Chan," Williams said, adding, "Obviously we haven't won enough, which is what it's all about."
Other players reacted after the firing by posting to Twitter.
Wide Receiver Donald Jones said, "Like to thank chan gailey n his staff for giving me the opportunity to b in this league. Sorry things didn't work out."
Wide Receiver Stevie Johnson posted, "million thanks to you Coach Gailey. life lessons and the opportunity you've giving me here in buffalo. i'll be a better me.. thx coach!"
Running Back C.J. Spiller said, "Just wanna say thanks to coach gailey for believing in me 3 yrs ago with that 9th pick in draft made my dream as a kid become a reality."