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April Reign: Special Teams Coach Won’t Return to Bills

As the Bills prepare for an offseason filled with uncertainty, one thing we know for certain is that Bobby April will not be returning to Western New York next season.

April’s tenure as the Bills special teams coach ended on Tuesday when he exercised a clause in his contract that terminates his deal that has two years remaining on it, according to ESPN’s John Clayton. April exits after spending the last six seasons heading the Bills special teams unit and served as Assistant Head Coach the past four years.

Under April, Buffalo’s special teams unit has consistent been the best unit each year. April helped transform the Bills into one the league’s top special teams, producing three No.1 rankings in the past five seasons in the Dallas Morning News’ special teams rankings. This season, the Bills are likely to finish among the top five special teams in the NFL once again. April has produced special team standouts such as kick returners Terrence McGee, former Bill Nate Clements and Fred Jackson. Roscoe Parrish became an electrifying punt returner. Rian Lindell has been one of the league’s most dependable and consistent kickers. Brian Moorman has blossomed into one of the league’s top punters.

This past season, Moorman had the best season of any punter in Bills history, while Lindell made the fifth-most field goals in the NFL. Jackson amassed more than 1,000 kick return yards and became the first player in NFL history to have 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 kick return yards. But this season wasn’t all sunshine and puppy dogs for April.

In the season opener against New England on Monday Night, Leodis McKelvin fumbled a crucial kick off return and the Patriots capped off the night with a victory after trailing by double digits in the fourth quarter. With the Bills and Browns tied 3-3 in the closing moments of the fourth quarter, Parrish muffed a punt return deep in Buffalo territory. The Browns recovered and kicked the game winning field goal in the waning seconds. Parrish found himself on Dick Jauron’s bad side and vanished from the game plan.

When the Bills fired Dick Jauron, the opted to give the interim head coach title to defensive coordinator Perry Fewell over April. Now it’s unknown the full extent of April’s unhappiness over the decision, however the ESPN report claims April was livid by the decision. April has said he’s leaving on good terms with the Bills and he has no problems with anyone in the organization.

It’s definitely understandable if April felt burned by the decision. After all, he held the title of Assistant Head Coach not Fewell. Once the Bills announced the firing of Jauron, I thought it was a slam dunk that April would be taking over as head coach for the remaining seven games. April probably saw the writing on the wall back in November, which factored into his decision to leave Buffalo. If the Bills didn’t promote him to interim head coach then, he probably wouldn’t be given the opportunity to interview for the job in the offseason.

This is a huge blow for Buffalo. If there was one coach I was desperately hoping for the Bills to retain it was April. He’s highly regarded around the NFL as one of the best special teams coordinators. April won’t be unemployed for long. Don’t be surprised if he lands with a new organization by week’s end. April has been nothing but outstanding in his six years in Buffalo. Whoever replaces April has their work cut out for them.

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One Response to “April Reign: Special Teams Coach Won’t Return to Bills”

  1. buffobob says:

    Definitely a huge mistake not naming April Interim coach. Even stupider to let him get away as special teams played a huge role in every win this year. Mr. Wilson, what the hell are you thinking?

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