DETROIT — General manager Doug Whaley insisted Thursday night that he didn't act alone in the release of Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson.
After the 17-10 loss, Whaley said he consulted several others before making the decision to cut the longtime back.
“Let’s put it this way,” Whaley said. “I gather information from everybody, from the running backs coach to the offensive coordinator to the head coach and the owners. I wouldn’t be in this position... Especially with new ownership, I’m going to include them.
“That’s my boss. We wouldn’t make a decision without them.”
Of course, Jackson's release sent a shockwave through the city this week. And sources told The News that Whaley went rogue in releasing Jackson.
In addition to head coach Rex Ryan, offensive coordinator Greg Roman and running backs coach Anthony Lynn, Whaley said that he talked to owner Terry Pegula before making the decision and assumed that Pegula's wife and co-owner, Kim, was also present. Whaley added that head coach Rex Ryan actually was with him to inform Jackson of the release.
“So he was in there with me when we told him together,” Whaley said. “Talked to the running backs coach. So it wasn’t just me waking up one day and deciding, ‘Hey, I want to do this.’”
Jackson, 34, has been the face of the franchise for nearly a decade, finishing as the Bills’ third all-time leading rusher.
Whaley reiterated that the decision “wasn’t an easy one.”
As for his reasoning, Whaley would not get into details. He did indicate that no guarantees were ever made to Jackson before training camp. When asked if the presence of Bryce Brown, who he traded a fourth-round pick for prior to the 2014 season, was a factor Whaley declined to get into details.
“It was the decision we felt we had to make,” Whaley said, “and the timing we thought was best to make it then so he could obviously get a look from Seattle and get out there and talk to other teams.”
Jackson also told The News that Whaley "was behind" the decision and that he "wasn’t honest with me the entire time that I’ve known him."
There is a possibility that people within the Bills organization were kept out of the loop. And maybe there was disagreement in house --- there certainly is a greater spotlight on the team's front office structure through all of this.
But before leaving Ford Field Whaley said he “never” makes personnel decisions alone.
“Let me ask you this,” Whaley said. “Can you make a decision without informing your boss? I’ll let you write the rest.”