It appears Buffalo Bills coach Dick Jauron has been given a reward for his work the past 2 1/2 years.
A league source indicated to The News that the Bills have reached an agreement on a contract extension with their head coach. However, the Bills declined to confirm the report, despite the fact it would appear to be very good news for the organization.
The deal is believed to be for three years, which would keep Jauron in the fold through the 2011 season.
Jauron is fiercely private about his own affairs. He declined to confirm or deny after Sunday's game that he has struck a deal.
"I'm willing not to talk about it, but thanks for asking," he said.
Negotiations with Jauron's representatives have been handled by Bills owner Ralph C. Wilson Jr.
Asked after the game if it was obvious Jauron would be sticking around after this year, Wilson said: "I don't talk about contracts or about whether he's going to be sticking around or not."
There has been confidence within the organization that the two sides would come to an agreement. The Bills consider their relationship with Jauron an ideal marriage. Wilson is keen on maintaining continuity and stability in the organization after running through three head coaches between 1998 and 2005.
Jauron has a good working relationship with Wilson and the rest of the Bills' football department, which includes Chief Operating Officer Russ Brandon, Senior Vice President of Football Administration Jim Overdorf, Vice President of College Scouting Tom Modrak and Vice President of Pro Personnel John Guy. It was extremely unlikely Jauron would have been interested in testing his value on the open market at the end of this season, when his initial contract was due to run out.
Jauron has a record of 19-20 with the Bills. He was widely credited with doing a good job last season in leading the Bills to a 7-9 record despite seeing a league-high 19 players land on the injured reserve list.
Jauron, who turned 58 this month, is in his 24th season as an NFL coach. He was head coach in Chicago from 1999 through 2003 and in Detroit for five games in 2005.
Next season he will become the first Bills head coach to last into his fourth season since Marv Levy left the Bills after the 1997 season.