Insider Reveals Leslie Frazier’s ‘Tough’ Situation After Bills Exit

Leslie Frazier

Getty Former Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier at Highmark Stadium on October 30, 2022.

After the Buffalo Bills announced that defensive coordinator and assistant head coach Leslie Frazier was stepping away for the 2023 NFL season, there was initial confusion over whether he’d return to Orchard Park after the one-year sabbatical.

However, Frazier’s participation in the NFL’s Coach Accelerator program in late May indicated that he was committed to making a comeback to the NFL as a head coach, and his recent actions strongly suggest that the 64-year-old will not be back on the Bills’ sidelines.

CBS Sports analyst Josina Anderson reported on June 1 that Frazier spent two days with the Green Bay Packers after attending the NFL’s Coach Accelerator program, followed by two days with the Washington Commanders, and was set to make a two-day visit with the New York Giants “to maintain dialogue,” as he has close relationships with head coach Brian Daboll and general manager Joe Schoen from his six-year tenure in Buffalo.

While it’s wonderful for Frazier to be getting face time with these franchises, The Buffalo News‘ NFL insider Jay Skurski wrote in his June 4 mailbag column that visiting different teams during the offseason “is not something a coach with any intention of returning to his old role would do. I also don’t think the Bills would be cool with Frazier spending time with other teams if they had any idea he’d return in 2024.

“His stated goal is to become a head coach again, but spending a year out of football at 64 years old, when by his own admission, teams continue to hire younger head coaches could make that a tough sell.”

Skurski noted that if Sean McDermott thrives as defensive coordinator, and “shows he can balance being the defensive play caller with his other game-day duties as head coach,” there’d be no reason to reverse course.

Leslie Frazier’s Visit With the Packers Raised Some Eyebrows

Matt LaFleur

GettyPackers head coach Matt LaFleur (R) speaks with general manager Brian Gutekunst during an OTAs on May 31, 2023.

Three months after his exit from Buffalo, Frazier opened up to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer to discuss the mysterious departure. “I think my reasons for stepping away were the right reasons; I feel good about it,” he said.

As for why he’s visiting various teams during organized team activities (OTAs) and training camp, “It just gives me a chance to see things from a different perspective, get recharged again and reenergized,” Frazier said in the May 30 story. “And then in the fall, I will really begin to take a look at what’s happening around the league, make sure I stay up on any new trends, anything that’s changing.”

While Frazier may face an uphill battle to become a head coach in 2024, his recent visit with the Packers definitely raised some eyebrows since the team’s current defensive coordinator, Joe Barry, is firmly in the hot seat.

SB Nation‘s Justis Mosqueda wrote, “The elephant in the room is that the Packers might be in the mix for a new defensive coordinator next January, a role that Frazier could fill — if things don’t pan out for him on the head coaching front. As we’ve all noticed over the years, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur typically brings in coaches he has ties to in some way and now Frazier has been added to the list.

“If trends continue, [Packers head coach Matt] LaFleur will want someone familiar in the foxhole with him and Frazier’s short visit to Green Bay could have provided some answers to questions he had.”

Leslie Frazier Is ‘Hoping’ an Owner Gives Him a Shot at Head Coach

Leslie Frazier

GettyLeslie Frazier in 2013 as head coach of the Minnesota Vikings.

As for whether he gets hired to be a head coach next year, Frazier told Breer that he’s at peace either way. “I really feel good about where I am.”

“Hopefully, an owner will give me a chance to talk to him about an opportunity,” the ’85 Bears legend said. “If that doesn’t happen, I’m good. I’ve had a good career. I’m good. My goal is to be a head coach. I know I don’t have much time left. I’m at an age where it seems like owners are going younger and younger, but I think I have some things I can bring to the table. We’ll see what happens.”

Frazier didn’t comment on the possibility of returning to his old job, accepting an offer to become a team’s defensive coordinator for what would he 25th season coaching in the NFL.

In 2010, Frazier became the interim head coach for the Minnesota Vikings after Brad Childress was fired, a position he held through December 2013. Frazier told ESPN in September 2022 that despite his success with the Bills, he believes his experience as a defensive coordinator has been a deterrence.

“I don’t want to say that I’m OK with it where it doesn’t matter anymore,” Frazier said when asked young coaches with offensive backgrounds getting hired over veteran coaches with defensive backgrounds. “You’re disappointed that people get that narrow-minded and only believe that I gotta hire this young offensive mind to lead my team because I’ve got this young quarterback, but [it’s the owner’s] team.”

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