Back in 2010 when the Buffalo Bills were in search of a new head coach, then Minnesota defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier was interviewed by Bills’ general manager Buddy Nix.
Nix ultimately passed on Frazier and several other candidates in favor of hiring Chan Gailey, and Frazier went on to become the Vikings head coach the following year.
Seven years later, Frazier is finally coming to Buffalo, this time as the Bills defensive coordinator to work under new coach Sean McDermott. Multiple reports Thursday night indicated it’s already a done deal.
Frazier played five years for the Chicago Bears of Mike Ditka, and was a defensive back who won a Super Bowl ring in 1985 playing in Buddy Ryan’s famed 46 defense. In Chicago, Frazier was a teammate of Ron Rivera, head coach of the Panthers where McDermott has worked the previous six years. Rivera reportedly gave Frazier a glowing recommendation to McDermott.
He turned to coaching when his career ended, and after nine years as head coach at Trinity International University and two years as an assistant at the University of Illinois, he entered the NFL in 1999. He worked as the Eagles defensive backs coach, which is where he first met McDermott, then a scouting assistant in Philadelphia.
Frazier left after the 2002 season and went on to become a defensive coordinator with the Bengals and Vikings before getting the head job in Minnesota where he went 21-32-1 (he actually was the interim head coach for six games in 2010). After being fired in Minnesota, he spent two years as Lovie Smith’s defensive coordinator in Tampa Bay, then spent the 2016 season coaching defensive backs in Baltimore.
In addition to Frazier’s hiring, there are reports out of Baltimore that Ravens’ offensive line coach Juan Castillo has agreed to come to Buffalo to coach the Bills’ line and serve as running game coordinator. That apparently means current line coach Aaron Kromer, who has done a fine job in his two years in Buffalo, will not be retained.
Castillo and McDermott coached together for 12 years in Philadelphia. Castillo was the line coach there, too, but oddly he became the defensive coordinator (he’d never coached defense) when McDermott was fired after the 2010 season.
With the hiring of Anthony Lynn by the Chargers, this might mean that several current Buffalo assistant coaches who are under contract may follow him to the West Coast if they are not retained by McDermott.
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