The Buffalo Bills may not be quite ready to begin searching for their next head coach, but there's apparently already a high-profile name interested in the job. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported Monday night that former Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith, fired Monday morning, is interested in coaching the Bills or the Arizona Cardinals in his next gig.
Smith, who will turn 55 next May, is known as a strong defensive mind well-versed in the Tampa 2 style of defense that he's run for years. The existing individual talent on that side of the ball in Buffalo and Arizona is purportedly why both teams rank highly on Smith's list. It's unclear if either team reciprocates that interest.
It's also worth pointing out that Gill Byrd, the father to Bills free agent safety Jairus Byrd, has worked with Smith as his defensive backs coach for the past five seasons. The two worked together briefly when Smith was the defensive coordinator in St. Louis, as well. Theoretically, if Smith were to land in Buffalo, he could bring Byrd with him - and that might significantly increase Buffalo's odds of re-signing their own Byrd to a multi-year contract extension.
Smith coached the Bears for nine straight years after taking over for Dick Jauron in 2004. In that nine-year stretch, the Bears were 81-63 (.563), made the post-season three times, were 3-3 in playoff action and appeared in Super Bowl XLI. Chicago finished 10-6 this season, but missed the playoffs for the fifth time in the last six years, greasing the skid for Smith's departure.