It appears the honeymoon is over for Chan Gailey and the Buffalo Bills. Just days after Gailey’s hiring, players on the team are already tuning him out, with one veteran reporting that “he has totally lost the team.”
While ownership has yet to comment on the Gailey situation, it appears that his days as Buffalo Bills coach could be numbered.
“Chan has totally lost this team,” said one player, who asked not to be identified. “People just aren’t buying into anything he’s saying. Yes, he just started and he hasn’t really done any coaching and he hasn’t even met most of the players, but there’s a feeling among the team that his message is getting a little stale. This is the fastest I’ve ever seen it happen, except when Cam Cameron was tuned out by the Dolphins before he was even hired.”
One piece of evidence that the Bills have turned on Gailey is the fact that none of the team’s veterans have returned the new coach’s phone calls.
“He’s tried to reach out to some of the veteran guys who have been here a long time and he hasn’t had any luck,” the player said. “It’s not that they don’t respect him or anything. It’s just that they don’t really believe in what he’s trying to do. Or, in the case of Trent Edwards, they’ve never heard of him and thought he was a telemarketer.”
One player who would go on record was wide receiver Terrell Owens. Owens said he didn’t feel Gailey was able to relate to his players and criticized him for refusing to listen to his players’ input.
“Some guys just don't have the ability to communicate well with players and I think that’s what’s happening with Chan,” Owens said on the Dan Patrick radio show. “Plus, he won’t listen to any suggestions. I left him a voice mail saying ‘Get me the ball, motherfker!’ and he never even returned my call. It was Dick Jauron's number, but I assume he's living in the same place. So I’m tuning him out. Usually it’s the coach tuning me out, so I’m turning the tables here.”
New Bills GM Buddy Nix is standing by his head coach, insisting that it’s way too early to judge him on his job performance. He also doesn’t believe he’s losing his players.
“I think that’s bunk. I really do,” Nix said yesterday. “Chan has been our coach for three days and people are already saying he’s lost the team? He hasn’t even had a training camp yet. He’s still moving into his office. In my experience, it usually takes at least one season for a coach to truly lose his players, which would work out fine for us, because about the amount of time we need to convince Bill Cowher to come here.”