Leslie Frazier’s decision to leave the Buffalo Bills and take a year away from football came as a surprise to many and led to speculation that he may have been quietly forced out of his role.
While Frazier has never publicly explained his decision to step away from football, one insider has quashed rumors that he was pushed out by head coach Sean McDermott or general manager Brandon Beane. The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia shed some light on the departure of the longtime defensive coordinator, noting that Beane gave a very telling answer about Frazier’s decision to leave.
Leslie Frazier Left on His Own Accord, Insider Hints
In a mailbag column for The Athletic, a fan asked Buscaglia whether there was any chance that Frazier decided to leave after learning that head coach Sean McDermott planned to call defensive plays next season or that the team decided to add Al Holcomb as a senior defensive assistant.
Buscaglia pointed out that Beane never hinted at anything of the sort, saying the Bills general manager would have been forthright if that were the case.
“I know there were quite a few wondering if Frazier’s decision to take a year off had more to it, but Beane is a straight shooter in interview settings,” Buscaglia wrote. “If he didn’t want to shed more light on something, he would say something like, ‘I don’t really want to get into all of that,’ rather than saying something completely untrue. When asked, point blank, if Frazier would have been the defensive coordinator in 2023 if Frazier wanted to, Beane succinctly said the job would have remained with Frazier.”
Buscaglia added that Frazier may have just needed a year off after having faced a long and emotionally draining year with the Bills. He added that Frazier has been passed over for several head coaching vacancies despite his reputation as one of the league’s most highly regarded defensive coordinators.
Leslie Frazier’s Exit May Have Still Made Waves
Despite Buscaglia’s speculation that the Bills did not force Frazier out of his job, there are still hints that his departure made some waves within the organization and left other coaches unhappy with the public reaction. After some fans who’d heaped blame on Frazier celebrated his departure, one unnamed Bills defensive assistant coach told The Athletic’s Tim Graham that it was “embarrassing” to see that reaction.
“It’s embarrassing anybody could get so pumped up about losing Coach Frazier,” Graham quoted the unnamed coach. “He’s a pillar.”
Frazier was known as a popular coach with Bills players, and some expressed surprise and disappointment with his decision to step away for a year. Edge rusher Von Miller told Von Miller told The Buffalo News that he had no idea Frazier was considering leaving the team.
“I didn’t see it coming. I didn’t see it coming,” Miller said on Friday, March 3. “He had a great year with us the last year, and he’s had several great years the whole time he’s been there. So, I didn’t see it coming, especially the timing of it. Usually, you know, coaches, they come to a decision like right after the season, when jobs are available.”