Doug Marrone is set to try to turn around an NFL team after improving a college program down the road.
Marrone reached an agreement to become the Buffalo Bills’ new coach Sunday, three people familiar with the negotiations told the Associated Press. One person said the sides were still putting the finishing touches on the contract for Marrone to sign.
The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because there has not been an official announcement.
Marrone will replace Chan Gailey, who was fired Dec. 31, a day after the Bills closed their second consecutive season with a 6-10 record and extended the NFL’s longest active playoff drought to 13 seasons. The 48-year-old Marrone, who is from the Bronx, went 25-25 in four seasons at Syracuse.
ESPN.com first reported early Sunday that Marrone would be leaving the Orange to become the Bills’ next coach.
Syracuse was 26-57 over a seven-year period before Marrone took over at his alma mater. The Orange finished this season 8-5, winning six of their last seven games, including a 38-14 victory over West Virginia in the Pinstripe Bowl.
A person who had a role in hiring Marrone in Syracuse, speaking on condition of anonymity because the move had not been announced, said Orange officials had been made aware the coach was leaving for the NFL.
Now, he’s set for another challenge two hours down the New York State Thruway. He’ll be taking over a team that has not had a winning record since 2004, is on its fifth head coach since 2001, and closed last season by losing seven of its final 10 games.
The Syracuse job was Marrone’s first as a head coach. He has seven years of NFL experience
Gamble front-runner for Jets
The New York Jets were moving forward with their search for a new general manager, with San Francisco 49ers executive Tom Gamble appearing to be the front-runner to replace Mike Tannenbaum.
Gamble, the 49ers’ director of player personnel, met with the Jets over the weekend. He also canceled a second interview with Jacksonville and postponed a meeting with San Diego for their GM vacancies, according to published reports.
New York also spoke with Atlanta director of player personnel David Caldwell this weekend.
The Jets were still expected to interview Marc Ross, the Giants’ director of college scouting, and in-house candidate Scott Cohen, the team’s assistant GM under Tannenbaum. The meeting with Ross will satisfy the NFL’s “Rooney Rule,” which mandates that teams must interview at least one minority candidate for front-office and head coaching jobs.
But Gamble seemed to have the clear edge as of Sunday night.
Eagles interview McCoy
The Philadelphia Eagles took their coaching search to Denver to interview Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy on Sunday after a lengthy meeting with Oregon coach Chip Kelly a night earlier in Arizona.
The Eagles only confirmed their meeting with Kelly after it ended. A person familiar with the situation said Kelly was nearing a deal with the Cleveland Browns on Friday before he went ahead with his scheduled meeting with the Eagles on Saturday afternoon. Kelly’s interview with the Eagles lasted several hours, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity.