Tom Modrak, the Buffalo Bills' vice president of college scouting from 2001 to 2011, died Tuesday at his home near St. Augustine, Fla.
Modrak, 74, worked in player-personnel in the NFL, beginning as a scout with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1970s.
At the time of his death, resulting from a neurological disease discovered in December, he was executive director of the BLESTO scouting service.
“T-Mo was one of a kind," Bills managing partner and president Russ Brandon said in a statement released by the team. "I’m grateful for the relationship we shared during our time in Buffalo. He was a great competitor, had a wonderful sense of humor and had a great perspective on life in the NFL. I always appreciated his text messages reminding me that ‘life is all about making memories.’
"On behalf of the Pegulas and the entire Buffalo Bills organization, I want to extend our deepest condolences to his wife, Sandy, and the entire Modrak family. We are really going to miss him.”
The Pittsburgh native was general manager of the Philadelphia Eagles from 1998 to 2001.
Before entering player-personnel work at the professional level, Modrak was an assistant college football coach at West Point, Utah and Harvard. He also was an administrator at Penn State-McKeesport.
Modrak is survived by his wife, Sandy, and daughters Stephanie Dougherty and Erin Koontz.
Here are more statements from Bills officials on Modrak:
General Manager Doug Whaley: “Tom Modrak led a remarkable career as an NFL personnel executive and influenced the scouting business and a countless number of scouts along the way. Since we met more than 22 years ago in Pittsburgh, he was instrumental in helping me establish a career as an NFL personnel executive. Tom played a pivotal role in recommending me for my first full-time job in Seattle. I will fondly remember our friendship and the memories we shared. Tom was a devoted family man and well-liked by so many people. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Sandy, and their family at this time.”
Coach Sean McDermott: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to Sandy and her family for the loss of a great football man and an even better person in Tom Modrak. He was a great influence on so many of us who were eager to learn anything we could at a young age in Philadelphia. One of my favorite things about Tom was that he was not about the limelight or personal attention. Instead, he always wanted what was best for the team. His legacy will be left on so many people throughout scouting departments and coaching staffs around the NFL.”
Director of Player Personnel Jim Monos: “Today, I lost a friend and one of the most influential mentors in my career in Tom Modrak. While working together in Philadelphia, Tom put me on the right path to learn the foundation of the NFL scouting and personnel business. Throughout my career, I leaned on Tom for advice and he was always there for me along with many of the other scouts he mentored throughout his incredible 40-plus year run in the NFL. Our friendship extended beyond football. Tom and his family always graciously welcomed me into their home and treated me like family every time I would visit them. My heart goes out to his wife, Sandy, and their family during this difficult time.”