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Thursday, January 3, 2013
Lovie Smith ideal or another Bills retread?

By James Walker

The Buffalo Bills are interested in former Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith and the feeling is mutual. Both sides reportedly will meet this weekend, as Smith will become the most accomplished NFL coach on Buffalo's interview list so far.

Whether Smith is at the top of Buffalo's wish list remains to be seen. But the idea of Buffalo hiring Smith may open up old wounds with Bills fans left by previous head coaches Chan Gailey and Dick Jauron.

Buffalo's last two coaches were NFL "retreads," which are coaches who were fired by one NFL team but given a second chance in Buffalo. Gailey's failed stint with the Dallas Cowboys and Jauron's failed stint with Chicago were warning signs that neither were good head coaches. The Bills took that chance anyway and ruined the past seven seasons for the franchise.

Smith now has that infamous "retread" label after getting fired this week by Chicago. But if you look deeper at the numbers, Smith is as intriguing a candidate as he is polarizing.

There are plenty of reasons to believe in Smith, such as his 81-63 record, 6-3 mark in the playoffs and one Super Bowl appearance. There also are reasons not to believe in Smith, such as his six non-playoff seasons in nine years and his consistently horrendous offenses in Chicago.

How polarizing was Smith in Chicago? Look no further than the fact that he was recently fired after a 10-6 season. That rarely happens. But the spectrum of opinions was so wide with Smith that the Bears decided it was best to start over.

There are good NFL retreads and bad NFL retreads. The Bills had a pair of misses recently with Gailey and Jauron. But if Buffalo goes the same retread route this year with a coach like Smith or former Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt, the Bills better get this call correct.