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ESPN's Mortensen says Pegulas want Marrone back but he holds all the cards

It is certainly enlightening to see how much more respected Buffalo Bills Coach Doug Marrone is with the national media than he is with fans and certain members of the local media.

And I'm not just talking about CBS' Solomon Wilcots.

On ESPN’s “Sportscenter” this morning, reporters Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter sang the praises of the Bills coach who is criticized locally for being too conservative.

Mortensen said Bills Owners Terry and Kim Pegula want Marrone back and Schefter added he can “walk away any time he wants” from the two years remaining in a contract that gives him three days after this season ended to decide whether to continue with the new ownership.

According to Mortensen, Marrone has the leverage now because there are coaching openings in New York, Chicago, Atlanta and San Francisco.

"He might now be the most qualified candidate, based on winning,” said Mortensen. “He turned around the Buffalo franchise. It’s like almost you have to step up as an ownership and make that longer-term commitment to Marrone and convince him everything is going to be right with the football operation.”

Schefter added that if Marrone decided to walk away from the Bills, “I can promise you there will be other teams interviewing him.”

Mortensen added that today’s retirement announcement by quarterback Kyle Orton and the uncertainty at the position adds to the interest, adding the Bills “obviously don’t believe in EJ Manuel."

If the ESPN speculation is right, we should be able to know whether Marrone’s game decisions will be kicked around here for several seasons by Wednesday or Thursday when his three-day window to leave ends.

apergament@buffnews.com

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