Anthony Lynn says he doesn’t allow himself to think about the what-ifs.
What if the Buffalo Bills hired Lynn, their former offensive coordinator/running backs coach who served a one-game stint as interim coach, to take over for Rex Ryan as the franchise’s newest coach?
What if the Bills brass didn’t do a 180 from the boisterous Ryan, who Lynn was closely connected to as a trusted assistant coach both in Buffalo and with the New York Jets?
While Lynn’s name was in the running to replace Ryan, Terry Pegula decided to instead hire Sean McDermott to become Buffalo’s next head coach, and Lynn landed on his feet as the head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Bills (5-4) travel to Los Angeles for a 4:05 p.m. showdown with the Chargers (3-6) Sunday in a game with huge AFC Wild Card implications.
"I'm where I want to be," Lynn said. "I interviewed there [in Buffalo] and they went a different direction. I didn't think I was the favorite there anyway because how many times do you hire a guy from the staff when you fire the head coach? It doesn't happen too often. I did appreciate the interview, but I'm where I want to be."
Lynn was the team’s interim head coach for a season-ending loss to the New York Jets in the Meadowlands. Before that, he was the team’s offensive coordinator for 2016, and also served as the running backs coach for two seasons.
The players in Buffalo’s locker room were said to be close to Lynn, and Lynn certainly possesses a familiarity with the Bills. How big of a role will that play when it comes to preparing to face Buffalo, which enters on a two-game slide?
"It definitely helps, understanding that personnel and the psyche of some of those players," Lynn said. "All of that definitely helps, so when we start game planning, I'm sure there will be some tweaks based on just their personnel alone."
Lynn isn’t the only member of the Chargers with a connection to Western New York. Pat Meyer (offensive line coach) and Giff Smith (defensive line coach) both served in that capacity while at One Bills Drive, while D’Anton Lynn, Anthony Lynn’s son, was a defensive assistant for Buffalo before making the move to Los Angeles.
Tom Telesco, the Chargers’ general manager, hails from Buffalo, while running back Branden Oliver was a standout football player for the University at Buffalo.
Additionally, both quarterback Cardale Jones and offensive tackle Michael Ola played for Buffalo during the 2016 season. Tackle Chris Hairston is with the Chargers, too, but on the Non-Football Illness list and won’t play.
Lynn did say he missed one thing about Buffalo; the restaurants.