Bills new GM Brandon Beane foresees smooth transition
By JOHN WAWROW, AP Sports Writer
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Though he still has a scouting staff to hire, Brandon Beane foresees making a smooth transition into his new role as the Buffalo Bills general manager.
The biggest plus Beane outlined during his inaugural news conference on Friday was the presence of a familiar face in rookie coach Sean McDermott. The two spent the previous six seasons developing a bond with the Carolina Panthers, where Beane was the assistant GM and McDermott the team’s defensive coordinator.
“I trust Sean and I think Sean trusts me. And I think you’re going to see a heck of a partnership between the two of us,” Beane said.
Beane’s hiring on Tuesday completed a distinct Carolina connection in the Bills’ latest offseason overhaul which began with McDermott taking over in January after Rex Ryan was fired in the final week of the season. Beane replaces Doug Whaley, who was fired along with the team’s entire scouting staff a day after the NFL draft was completed last month.
Beane particularly recalled the times he spent in McDermott’s office discussing approaches to address defensive needs.
The only difference in Buffalo, Beane said, is they will be overseeing the entire roster.
The 40-year-old Beane has 19 years of NFL experience, all of it with the Panthers. He worked his way up the team’s executive ranks and was groomed by current GM David Gettlemen and his predecessor Marty Hurney.
In Buffalo, he takes over a franchise in ushering in yet another new era while in the midst of a 17-season playoff drought — the longest active streak in North America’s four major professional sports.
Beane’s ties to McDermott were considered one of the keys for Bills owner Terry Pegula in his objective to establish a collaborative approach between his coach and personnel staff.
Whaley had differences with Buffalo’s previous two coaches, including Doug Marrone who abruptly opted out of his contract following the 2014 season. And though Whaley was involved in the search to replace Ryan, the decision to hire McDermott was made by Pegula and his wife Kim.
Pegula played down Beane’s connections to McDermott, and instead credited the new GM for the vast experience he gained in negotiating contracts, player evaluation and scouting.
The Bills’ search lasted just nine days, during which the Pegulas interviewed four candidates.
Beane has brief GM experience. He was the Panthers interim general manager over the final 10 games of the 2012 season after Hurney was fired.
In Buffalo, Beane’s first priority is hiring a scouting staff and getting a grasp of the team’s roster and its short- and long-term needs.
Beane immediately got to work as the Bills opened a three-day rookie minicamp shortly after the news conference ended.
“Beginning today, I’m a Buffalo citizen and I can’t wait to get started,” said Beane, who is from Stanly County, North Carolina, graduated from University of North Carolina-Wilmington and joined the Panthers as a communications intern in 1998.
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