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Buffalo Bills eye John Blake for defensive line coach job

More than five years removed from a scandal that caused his resignation from UNC, is John Blake going to be the Buffalo Bills' next defensive line coach?

Buffalo Bills fans have the name John Blake on their minds this Tuesday morning, and for good reason: FootballScoop.com reported on Monday evening that he will be joining the Bills' staff as the defensive line coach, where he would replace Karl Dunbar, who was fired on Monday.

The news has not, however, been confirmed yet; Blake is currently the defensive line coach at Lamar University, whose head coach would only confirm on Monday that the Bills had requested permission to interview Blake for the job. If the initial report does turn out to be true, however, it'll be the latest in a long line of interesting hires made by Rex Ryan.

Blake, 55, was a nose guard at Oklahoma from 1979-82, and has coached at the pro and college levels since 1987. While serving as the head coach at Oklahoma from 1996-98, Blake hired Ryan to be his defensive coordinator, a union that lasted until Blake was fired after the 1998 season.

His only stint at the pro level came from 1993-95, when he served as the defensive line coach for the Dallas Cowboys. He won Super Bowl rings in the first (against the Bills under Jimmy Johnson) and last of those seasons, under two different head coaches.

Blake was hired last month to be the defensive line coach at Lamar, which would have been his first coaching job since his resignation from North Carolina after the 2010 season. That move was prompted by his involvement in a scandal involving now-deceased former NFL agent Gary Wichard; the NCAA found that Blake received compensation for providing Wichard with access to players as potential clients, resulting in a three-year show-cause penalty against him.

This would likely be viewed as another controversial Ryan hire if it went through, but athlete eligibility and potentially illegal benefits would no longer be a part of Blake's job description at the NFL level, either.

Meanwhile, the aforementioned Dunbar released a statement on his abrupt and unexpected firing, saying that he was "completely surprised and disappointed" by the decision.

It's not often that NFL teams make assistant coaching changes this deep into the offseason, which is precisely why a swap of this nature would open Ryan up to more criticism.