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Bills reportedly head west to interview Seahawks defensive coordinator

The Buffalo Bills’ coaching search is into its second week.

The Bills reportedly were on a plane to Seattle on Sunday to interview Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard, according to FOX Sports. The team has not yet made that interview official, as it has with the first three candidates – Sean McDermott, Anthony Lynn and Harold Goodwin.

NFL rules stipulate that the Bills’ search team – comprised of owners Terry and Kim Pegula, along with General Manager Doug Whaley and Director of Player Personnel Jim Monos – have to meet with Richard in Seattle. As an assistant coach on a team that won on wild-card weekend, there is a window for Richard to interview between now and the divisional round. If the Seahawks win in the divisional round, Richard can’t be interviewed again until the week after the conference championship games.

The Seahawks defeated Detroit, 26-6, Saturday and will face the Atlanta Falcons in the divisional round.

Richard is the youngest of the Bills’ four candidates to this point. The 37-year-old has guided Seattle’s defense for the past two seasons. In that time, the Seahawks have finished second and fifth, respectively, in total defense. They ranked third in points per game allowed (18.3), fifth in yards (318.7), eight in passing yards allowed (225.8) and seventh in rushing yards allowed (92.9) in 2016.

Seattle’s last two defensive coordinators have gone on to land head-coaching jobs. Richard replaced Dan Quinn after he left two take over the Atlanta Falcons after the 2014 season. Quinn helped the Seahawks get to consecutive Super Bowls, with one championship. Before Quinn, Gus Bradley guided the Seattle defense from 2009-12 before becoming the Jacksonville Jaguars’ head coach.

“Honestly to me, it’s a very positive thing,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said last week about his assistant coaches leaving for better jobs, according to Seattle television station KCPQ. “When guys come to this program and we first talk about them coming in here, I tell them I’ll do whatever I can to help get them wherever they want to go and do whatever they want to do with their careers, and I mean that.

“So, when the opportunity comes up and our guys are getting some looks and stuff, I’m the first one cheerleading and working with them in whatever way that I can. Whether it’s getting ready for interviews, staff stuff, whatever they want.”

Richard has been with Carroll for his entire coaching career, starting with a two-year stint as a graduate assistant in 2008-09 at the University of Southern California.

“Very humbled, absolutely very humbling to even be considered,” Richard said last week about being considered as a head-coach candidate. “Again, nothing is official. I don’t know very much about anything, if anything at all.”

Before his coaching career, Richard spent four seasons in the NFL as a player. He was drafted by the Seahawks in the third round in 2002 out of Southern Cal, playing three years in Seattle and one in San Francisco. He finished his career with 46 tackles in 39 games, making one start.

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