The Buffalo Bills hired former tight end Pete Metzelaars to coach that position group this week. Metzelaars spoke with the media about the opportunity to come back to Buffalo and what the Bills have done since he left.
"I’m excited," said the coach on being announced. "It’s a lot of fun. It’s a little bizarre. It’s been 18 years or so since I’ve really been back here so to come back it’s neat. It’s neat connecting with good friends."
Metzelaars' old roommate, Steve Tasker, was the first to make the news public and was in the building the day he signed his contract. Several of Metzelaars' old teammates have offered congratulations. The lumbering tight end spent ten seasons with Buffalo including all four Super Bowl trips. He holds every major receiving record for tight ends in Bills annals.
While he's never worked with Chan Gailey before, Metzelaars has worked with a few members of the staff.
"I heard a lot of good things and for me I know a number of the guys on this staff just from being around. Some guys coached me here, some guys were on the staff when I played here, a guy was in Detroit, a guy was in Carolina, other guys I know from FCA camps and stuff. So I’ve met different coaches who are on this staff in my years of playing and now coaching in the league."
After leaving Buffalo, Metzelaars played for the Carolina Panthers and Detroit Lions. When his playing days were over he began coaching at the high school level before splitting time between Wingate University, NFL Europe, and interning with the Indianapolis Colts in 2003. He joined the Colts full time in 2004 and has been on the staffs of Tony Dungy and Jim Caldwell ever since. Caldwell's firing as well as the removal of Metzelaars' front office ally in former Bills General Manager Bill Polian led to his release. He chose Buffalo despite never working with the Bills offensive staff.
"I just heard good things about what they’re doing here, great things about Chan, the type of man he is, the organization that he’s put together and that he’s running here, so I’m excited to be a part of it."
While he hadn't watched any film at the time of his press conference, he was nonetheless familiar with the position groups he will be most intimately involved with.
"I saw a bunch of Bills film last year before [the Colts] played New England, Kansas City, Cincinnati, a number of different teams we played that we saw the Bills play against and saw a lot of good stuff, a lot of really good stuff. They ran the ball like crazy. The offensive line was a good group. The tight ends, they did a lot of neat things and a lot of positive things that I saw on film. We tried doing some of the stuff that they did, down in Indianapolis. They’ve got a lot of good things going on and I think they’re going to improve upon it and get better with it."
One of the first orders of business for the new tight ends coach is a little recruiting. He'd like to see last year's breakout star at the tight end position, Scott Chandler, return as a free agent and is also planning on reaching out to the rest of the tight ends on the roster.
"I will try to talk to him or text him or however they communicate these days, but try to get in touch with the tight ends that I’m going to be working with. Hopefully we can get him back. I know the team would like to have him come back. He had a very good year last year, and try to build upon that. I would like to get some players to break any and all records that I may still be holding around here because well find somebody better than me."
After speaking with the players, Metzelaars intends to get better acquainted with their play on the field. He'll watch film from the 2011 season on Chandler, Mike Caussin, and Lee Smith but he'll also have to do a little more work with the personnel department as the Bills added Fendi Onobun in December.
"[I'm going to] watch the guys play, how they play, what are their strengths, what are their weaknesses, what do they do well, what don’t they do well, and let’s correct the things that they don’t do well and improve upon them and lets build upon what they do well."