In an unsurprising move, the Buffalo Bills announced in a statement today that the team has parted ways with all of Rex Ryan’s former assistants except for the strength and conditioning coaches. They still have several openings they need to fill on the 2017 staff.
Bobby April (linebackers), John Blake (defensive line), Aaron Kromer (offensive line), David Lee (quarterbacks), D’Anton Lynn (defensive assistant), Tim McDonald (defensive backs), Pat Meyer (offensive assistant), Chris Palmer (senior offensive assistant), Ed Reed (assistant defensive backs), Eric Smith (assistant special teams), Kathryn Smith (special teams quality control), Dennis Thurman (defensive coordinator), Jason Vrable (assistant quarterbacks), and Jeff Weeks (outside linebackers) were all officially relieved of their duties. The team wished them “the best of luck” via the statement linked above.
Some of the coaches terminated today came with stellar pedigrees, while others came with historic implications. Reed was quite possibly the best safety ever to play the game, and 2016 was his first foray into coaching. McDonald was also a fairly accomplished player, intercepting 40 passes in 191 games as a member of the Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals (1987-1992) and the San Francisco 49ers (1993-1999). Palmer was a former NFL head coach (with the expansion Cleveland Browns in 1999-2000) and longtime assistant in the NFL; his coaching career dates all the way back to 1972, when he coached at the University of Connecticut. Aaron Kromer may best be remembered for his legal troubles with Buffalo, earning himself a six-game suspension for an altercation over a beach chair; charges were eventually dropped, but Kromer was still suspended for the first six games of the 2015 season. Kathryn Smith was the first full-time female coach in NFL history. D’Anton Lynn is the son of former running backs coach/offensive coordinator/interim head coach Anthony Lynn, so it was highly unlikely that he would remain in Buffalo when his father took the head coaching job in San Diego.
Many of the positions held by Ryan’s former assistants had already been filled, as well. Check our coaching staff tracker for the latest updates.