INDIANAPOLIS – Over the past few days, Buffalo Bills President Russ Brandon and General Manager Buddy Nix each made vague comments about assistant GM and player-personnel director Doug Whaley sticking around the organization for a long time.
Saturday evening, the Bills announced they’ve signed Whaley to a contract extension. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Whaley, 40, is considered Nix’s heir to the GM office.
“I am happy that we have secured Doug’s services into the future,” Nix, 73, said in a statement released by the club, “and look forward to a smooth transition of the position when the time comes.”
Brandon’s prepared comment emphasized Nix remains in control.
“We are very pleased with the structure of our football operation and look forward to working with Buddy, Doug and the entire staff for many years to come,” Brandon said. “As we have stated previously, there is no timetable for the transition. Our focus continues to be on building the foundation for a winning program.”
At the NFL Scouting Combine in Lucas Oil Stadium, Whaley on Wednesday described his responsibilities to The Buffalo News.
“I always tell people my job is to make Buddy’s job as easy as possible,” Whaley said. “I want to go out there and – for lack of a better term – be the foot soldier to track down all this information and funnel whatever decision he needs to make.”
Whaley joined the Bills’ front office in 2010 after 12 years with his hometown Pittsburgh Steelers.
He was a four-year letterman for the Pitt Panthers in the 1990s and became a pro-personnel assistant for the Steelers in 1995 after working as a retail stockbroker for a year. He was in the Seattle Seahawks’ scouting department from 1996 to 1998. He returned to the Steelers and eventually served as their pro-scouting coordinator.
Earlier in the week, Brandon was asked Thursday about a possible transition from Nix to Whaley.
Brandon said Whaley is “locked into Buffalo for the foreseeable future.”
Whaley’s name was bandied about last month as a possible candidate for various GM openings around the NFL.
Nix said Thursday there was no concern Whaley could depart for another team.
“Doug’s situation hasn’t changed,” Nix said. “I think you’re maybe less than confident in what you do if you can’t put your replacement in place. I was on the job three months when I hired Doug.
“Let me tell you this, just in a matter-of-fact way: He’s here. He’ll be here. So don’t worry about the openings.”
Akron’s J.C. Tretter answered the most pressing question facing him with a solid performance on the bench press.
Tretter did 29 reps of 225 pounds inside Lucas Oil Stadium during the NFL Scouting Combine, a figure that tied for the 11th most of 45 offensive linemen who lifted.
“You’d love to hit the 30 mark. Obviously you always think you can do more,” Tretter said. “But 29, it is what it is. That’s your number. I’m happy with that. It wasn’t a disappointment, so I think it went well.”
Tretter said scouts had expressed a concern about his strength.
“I think the 29 definitely helps to kind of shoo that away,” he said.
The Cornell senior measured in at 6-foot-4, 307 pounds with 33≤-inch arms. He ran the 40-yard dash in 5.09 seconds.
Positional workouts started Saturday for offensive linemen, tight ends and special-teams players, and it didn’t take long for a head-turning performance.
Terron Armstead, a 306-pound tackle from unheralded Arkansas Pine-Bluff, ran a 4.65-second 40-yard dash, the fastest ever turned in at the combine for that position. Armstead shattered the previous record of 4.84 seconds set in 2007 by Allen Barbre.
Oklahoma tackle Lane Johnson also topped that mark, running a 4.75-second 40 on Saturday.
More evidence of Armstead’s freakish athletic ability: his vertical leap of 34½ inches is the same as Cincinnati receiver A.J. Green.
Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan, a potential top-10 pick, announced he will have surgery next week to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder.
The rehab is expected to take three to four months. Jordan, who measured 6-6, 248, said his best position is outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. “It’s the best spot to utilize my athleticism,” he said.
Jordan will be looking to add weight heading into his rookie season, a process that will be slowed because of surgery.
“I feel like I have to improve my strength. Getting to the next level, it’s a big-boy game,” he said. “Not only me, but everybody getting to this point. Strength is key. I feel like it plays a lot into the longevity of playing in the National Football League.”