Buffalo Bills' Doug Marrone Nearly Beaten Out By Ken Whisenhunt

USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills hired Doug Marrone as their new head coach - but they were on the verge of making a different hire before choosing Marrone, according to Jason La Canfora.

In the past week, we've seen a lot of misinformation swirling regarding various NFL coaching searches. Most recently, an Adam Schefter report from ESPN, which said that new Buffalo Bills head coach Doug Marrone chose Buffalo after he studied film of every team he interviewed with, was flatly denied by HCDM.

Take this with a grain of salt, then, despite the fact that it's very interesting: Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reports that before the Bills reached an agreement with Marrone, the team was already knee-deep in contract discussions with Ken Whisenhunt for the same position.

"The Bills had reached a point where they were talking about offsets, and some pretty far-along contract language, according to league sources," La Canfora wrote on Monday.

Whisenhunt, reported to be a favorite of Russ Brandon's last Tuesday by Tim Graham of The Buffalo News, was the first coach that the Bills interviewed when they flew out to Arizona on New Year's Day. GM Buddy Nix told reporters at Marrone's introductory press conference that Marrone was the second candidate interviewed, but an article published today indicates that the team interviewed Ray Horton before Marrone, as well.

If La Canfora's sources are accurate - again, take it with a grain of salt - then the high level of interest that Graham reported before Brandon's big press conference was accurate, given the level to which the Bills got before ultimately deciding to go with Marrone. And, given how far into the process the team apparently was with Whisenhunt, that should speak volumes about how impressed they were with the man who eventually became their head coach.

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