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Wannstedt meets with Bills' Gailey about job

Former NFL and college head coach Dave Wannstedt met with Bills head coach Chan Gailey in Orchard Park on Thursday to discuss the possibility of joining the Buffalo coaching staff.

Wannstedt, who has a close professional relationship with Gailey, recently resigned under pressure as head coach at the University of Pittsburgh after six seasons in that job.

If Wannstedt were to join the Bills, it likely would be in some type of oversight role, probably with an assistant head coach title. Gailey served for two years as offensive coordinator under Wannstedt with the Miami Dolphins in 2000 and 2001. Wannstedt was Dolphins head coach from 2000 to the middle of the 2004 season and compiled a 44-33 record.

Wannstedt, 58, boasts strong credentials as a defensive strategist. He was defensive coordinator for the 1992 Dallas Cowboys team that overwhelmed the Bills in the Super Bowl. He was head coach of the Chicago Bears from 1993 to '98 and defensive chief in Miami in '99 before succeeding his long-time associate, Jimmy Johnson, in the head position with the Dolphins.

The Bills are down one defensive assistant from last season. Inside linebackers coach DeMonte Cross was released last week.

Wannstedt also has been rumored to be a candidate for several other NFL assistant coaching openings this offseason. Carolina, San Diego and Cleveland all reportedly have an interest in speaking with Wannstedt. Wannstedt had new Panthers head coach Ron Rivera on his staff in Chicago. He also has a long history with San Diego head coach Norv Turner, who also was an aide on the Dallas Super Bowl teams. Wannstedt still is employed by Pitt, as special assistant to the athletic director.

e-mail: mgaughan@buffnews.com