Bills’ brass discusses Manuel’s development, Byrd’s status and more - The Buffalo News

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Bills’ brass discusses Manuel’s development, Byrd’s status and more

The Buffalo Bills wrapped up their third straight 6-10 season with a season-ending news conference today featuring Team President Russ Brandon, General Manager Doug Whaley and coach Doug Marrone.

Among the highlights:

• Brandon said the Bills have made significant progress under Marrone. “We are on the path to success under his leadership,” Brandon said. “What we don’t feel good about is sitting here at 6-10, and that needs to change. … Obviously, we had transition at the quarterback position. … That’s very difficult in this league.”

• Whaley said the Bills will make an offer to safety Jairus Byrd and attempt to keep him.

• Ike Hilliard is out as Bills wide receiver coach. Marrone said he and Hilliard had a “difference in philosophy.”

• Kevin Kolb will go through a season-ending medical evaluation with the team, and his status will be determined at that time. The Bills will attempt to bring back both kicker Dan Carpenter and punter Brian Moorman, but Marrone stopped short of saying special teams coach Danny Crossman will return: “We’ll evaluate everything.”

• Speaking of evaluation, Brandon said the Bills remain in that mode on the Toronto series.

• Whaley says he was “taken aback” by the question regarding receiver Stevie Johnson’s future with the team, maintaining the team is behind Johnson. There has been speculation the Bills may release the receiver, who has three years left on his contract, this offseason.

• Whaley did not rule out adding a quarterback, whether it be through the draft or free agency.

• Brandon says owner Ralph C. Wilson Jr. is doing well and that he talks to Wilson every day about every aspect of the organization.

Earlier in the day, players met with the media as they cleaned out their lockers. Quarterback EJ Manuel initially did not meet with the media, and reporters were told he would not be available any time this week, but the team shortly thereafter reversed course and Manuel spoke at a news conference with running back C.J. Spiller. Manuel revealed at the time that Marrone has informed him he will be the team’s starting quarterback in 2014.

Byrd, an impending free agent, did not speak with reporters. Fellow safety Aaron Williams left a signed jersey in Byrd’s locker with a message that read very much like a goodbye note: “To Byrd Man: Preciate everything you’ve done for me. Wish you the best of luck.”

Johnson, who missed the last two games of the season while grieving the death of his mother, also did not speak to reporters today.


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