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MUM IS STILL THE WORD SURROUNDING BILLS

Another day passed with still no word on the future of Buffalo Bills head coach Marv Levy or any of his assistant coaches.

The Bills remained mum Monday on their plans for the 1998 season, which were presumably addressed over the weekend when Levy and general manager John Butler met with team owner Ralph Wilson in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Levy met with the staff Monday for about an hour at Rich Stadium. According to sources close to the team, he covered some topics that were discussed in Florida, but did not shed any light on his future or on whether any changes would be made on the staff. The assistants then were given the rest of the week off.

It is known that anxiety is growing among the coaches and their families.

"It's still totally up in the air," one source said.

The delay could be a matter of Levy, 72, agonizing over whether to accept Wilson's recommendation to make changes on the offensive staff, or retire and let someone else make the changes. Offensive line coach Tom Bresnahan and tight ends coach Don Lawrence are considered the most vulnerable of the assistants.

It is also possible that Wilson wants Levy to purge the entire offensive staff, which also includes coordinator Dan Henning and receivers coach Charlie Joiner.

Levy and Butler might very well have to return to Florida later this week for another meeting with Wilson.

If Levy does make any changes to the staff, it would mark the third time he has done so since after the 1994 season, which was last time the Bills missed the playoffs.

Back then, Levy dismissed defensive coordinator Walt Corey, and later hired Wade Phillips. After last season, Bresnahan was demoted from coordinator to offensive line coach and quarterbacks coach Jim Shofner was reassigned to the scouting department to make room for Henning.

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