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Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Jauron meets with Bills owner

ESPN.com news services

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Dick Jauron traveled to Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson's home in suburban Detroit on Tuesday to discuss his future as Bills coach, The Associated Press is reporting.

Whether Jauron, who apparently already has a signed contract extension in hand, will remain coach will be decided Wednesday, team owner Ralph C. Wilson Jr. told The Buffalo News for Tuesday's editions.

Low as you can go

After yet another 7-9 season in Buffalo, Dick Jauron's stock in ESPN.com's SportsNation NFL coach approval ratings lies where you might expect it.
Jauron's rating | All coaches

Before leaving Tuesday for the airport, Jauron met with Bills chief operating officer Russ Brandon at the team's Orchard Park headquarters, a person familiar with the meeting told AP. Jauron and Brandon then flew together to Detroit, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss it.

Wilson, who met with Brandon on Monday, also was expected to get input from Brandon and team vice president and chief scout Tom Modrak.

Jauron, in the final year of a three-year contract, coached the Bills to a third consecutive 7-9 record, a disappointing finish for a team that opened the season at 5-1.

Buffalo's season ended with a 13-0 loss to New England on Sunday. In losing eight of their final 10 games, the Bills went 0-6 against their AFC East rivals and failed to make the playoffs for a ninth consecutive season.

Several media outlets, including ESPN, reported this fall that Jauron and the Bills had reached agreement on a three-year extension. In December, ESPN and the NFL Network reported that the coach had signed the deal, which runs through the 2011 season.

At the time the deal was agreed upon, the Bills were 5-2 and in contention in the AFC East.

Wilson would not comment on the reports of Jauron's extension when asked by the News on Monday.

Jauron has been the target of heavy criticism for the Bills meltdown, and was particularly faulted for the team's numerous on-field blunders. The Bills earned a reputation for botching scoring opportunities this season, including a blown chance at a field goal before time ran out in the first half against New England.

The Bills showed improvement on both sides of the ball compared to the 2007 season.

In quarterback Trent Edwards' first season as starter, the offense scored 10 more touchdowns and gained 4,882 yards -- the most since 2002. On defense, the unit allowed nearly 600 fewer yards than last year and in seven games held opponents to 16 or fewer points.

Bills defensive coordinator Perry Fewell and the rest of the defensive coaching staff are signed through the end of next season, as are first-year offensive coordinator Turk Schonert and most of his staff.

Should Jauron return, he'd become the first Bills coach to reach his fourth season since Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Marv Levy retired following the 1997 season.

Wade Phillips lasted three years before he was fired following the 2000 season. Gregg Williams wasn't rehired after three seasons. Mike Mularkey lasted two years before he resigned suddenly during a front-office upheaval following the 2005 season.

It was Levy's decision to hire Jauron in his first act as general manager after being lured out of retirement to succeed team president Tom Donahoe, who was fired following the 2005 season. Levy, a Harvard graduate, saw similarities in the Yale-educated Jauron, who earned a second shot at being a head coach after a five-year stint with the Chicago Bears, which ended with his dismissal following the 2003 season.

Levy stepped down following the 2007 season, citing a lack of interest in keeping a front-office job, while also expressing confidence that he had helped steer the Bills in the right direction.

With Chicago, Jauron went 35-46, including a playoff loss, and was the NFL's 2001 coach of the year following a 13-3 finish. He also went 1-4 as an interim coach in Detroit, closing out the 2005 season after Steve Mariucci's dismissal.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.