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Kevin O'Connell revises forecast, hopes for longer stay at Channel 2

It is almost as tough to predict the future of WGRZ-TV weathercaster Kevin O'Connell as it is to predict whether Josh Allen is going to become the Buffalo Bills' franchise quarterback.

But the odds are that O'Connell is going to stay at the NBC affiliate beyond mid-July, which was supposed to be the end of his final contract.

We ran into each other Saturday night at a charity event O'Connell was emceeing, which led to a telephone interview Sunday.

In the interview, O'Connell sounded like he isn't ready to join his buddy John Beard in retirement.

"I've had discussions with the station about extending but not for a determined amount of time," said O'Connell.

By the station, he means he has had discussions with General Manager Jim Toellner.

"The ball is in Jim's court," said O'Connell.

His current extension actually came after O'Connell announced in 2015 that he was scaling back before another contract ended in 2017.

Toellner actually hired Patrick Hammer in 2015 to be O'Connell's eventual replacement on the assumption the Buffalo Broadcasting Hall of Famer would be leaving in January of 2017.

Hammer and O'Connell are part of a large weather bench at Channel 2 that also includes Maria Genero, Heather Waldman, Kevin O'Neill and Jennifer Stanonis.

Whether O'Connell stays or leaves will impact them all. O'Neill and Stanonis rarely do weather anymore.

O'Connell, who turns 70 in October, said he expects the discussions with Toellner to end after the conclusion of the May sweeps.

A year after a health scare resulted in him being off the air for an extended period, O'Connell wants to continue working the same four-day schedule he has been working under his present contract.

"As long as I feel good – and I do – and I would like to work," he said.

He appears to have an end date in mind. Again.

"Maybe 18 months," said O'Connell. "That would get me to 2020, which would be my perfect vision."

By then, the Bills may even know if Allen is going to be the franchise quarterback they envision him to be.

Retirement? Kevin O'Connell, Don Paul can't stay away

Email: apergament@buffnews.com

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