Bills fire Ryan ahead of sea­son’s last game

De­ci­sion comes af­ter Mi­ami loss

The Denver Post - - OFF & RUNNING - By John Wawrow

or­chard park, n.y.» Rex Ryan’s in­abil­ity to back up his boasts of build­ing a bully — par­tic­u­larly on de­fense — in Buf­falo led to the Bills fir­ing their high-pro­file coach one game short of com­plet­ing his sec­ond full sea­son.

Terry Peg­ula, who made Ryan’s hir­ing his first big splash as owner, was the per­son who in­formed Ryan of his dis­missal Tues­day. The de­ci­sion came three days af­ter a 34-31 over­time loss to Mi­ami which elim­i­nated Buf­falo (7-8) from con­tention, and ex­tended the NFL’s long­est ac­tive play­off drought to 17 years.

“We mu­tu­ally agreed that that the time to part ways is now,” Peg­ula said in a state­ment re­leased by the team. “These de­ci­sions are never easy.”

Peg­ula then noted his wife in say­ing: “Kim and I and our en­tire Bills or­ga­ni­za­tion share in the same dis­ap­point­ment and frus­tra­tion as our fans, but we re­main com­mit­ted to our goal of bring­ing a cham­pi­onship to west­ern New York.”

Ryan had three years re­main­ing on his contract.

Gen­eral man­ager Doug Wha­ley’s job ap­pears se­cure af­ter be­ing put in charge of the Bills coach­ing search, the team’s third in four years. Buf­falo is also mov­ing on to its eighth coach since the play­off drought be­gan dur­ing Wade Phillips’ fi­nal year as coach in 2000.

Ryan re­placed Doug Mar­rone, who opted out of his contract fol­low­ing a 9-7 fin­ish in 2014, and three months af­ter the Peg­u­las pur­chased the Bills from the es­tate of Hall of Fame owner Ralph Wil­son.

As­sis­tant head coach and of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor An­thony Lynn will coach the Bills in their sea­son fi­nale at the New York Jets (4-11) on Sun­day. Lynn is also con­sid­ered a can­di­date to re­place Ryan per­ma­nently be­cause of his fa­mil­iar­ity with an of­fense that is clos­ing in on lead­ing the NFL in rush­ing for a sec­ond straight sea­son.

Lynn, a long­time Ryan as­sis­tant, was pro­moted to co­or­di­na­tor in Septem­ber, when Ryan fired Greg Ro­man af­ter an 0-2 start.

The 54-year-old Ryan ap­peared emo­tion­ally drained dur­ing a 20-minute news con­fer­ence on Mon­day.

He called the loss to Mi­ami his most painful as a Bills coach, and the sec­ond­most painful in his 20 NFL sea­sons as a coach or as­sis­tant.

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