Niagara Gazette — ORCHARD PARK — Doug Whaley was promoted to take over as Buffalo Bills general manager, making the team's near top-to-bottom offseason overhaul complete.
The much-anticipated decision to elevate Whaley from his position as assistant GM was announced Thursday, three days after Buddy Nix stepped down as GM.
The 40-year-old Whaley has spent the past three years being groomed for the job. After working in various scouting capacities with the Bills, Whaley's influence grew this offseason. He had input in hiring coach Doug Marrone in January, and in the team's decision to select Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel in the first round of the draft last month.
In becoming the Bills' 12th GM and fifth in 12 years, Whaley's challenge now becomes turning around a franchise that has not finished with a winning record since 2004, and has not made the playoffs in 13 years — the NFL's longest active drought.
"We're not going to run from (the past), but what we're going to do is look forward," Whaley said. "We are very proud of what we've got as a team, as a coaching staff and as an organization. And we're just looking to go onward and upward."
And he wasn't afraid of using the word "championship."
"Our main goal is to give the fans of the Buffalo Bills a team that consistently competes for championships," Whaley said.
Though it was unclear when Nix would step down, the Bills began laying the groundwork for the transition in February by signing Whaley to a long-term contract extension.
"Doug has every quality you look for in a leader," team president Russ Brandon said. "We're committed to one common goal and that is one focus, a laser focus, and that is winning. Period. Nothing else matters to either one of us. Winning is what it's all about."