The Buffalo Bills announced they have relieved Tom Modrak from his duties as vice president of college scouting. Modrak served the Bills since June 2001 as a top executive in the football department.
His departure is not a shock, given the team's lack of success on the field the past decade. In addition, any changes NFL teams make to their scouting lineup most often come at the start of May, after the draft.
“This is the time of year when we evaluate every element of our football operation and with the draft now completed, we have decided to reorganize our personnel department," said Buddy Nix, Bills executive vice president and general manager, in a statement. "We have begun that process and made a decision to head in a different direction. We thank Tom for his 10 years of dedication to our organization and wish him the best in his future endeavors."
Modrak was intimately involved in the scouting and preparation for last weekend's NFL Draft. However, the Bills have added to their football administration since Nix was hired at the end of the 2009 season. Doug Whaley is the Bills' assistant general manager and director of pro personnel. He scouts top college prospects across the country throughout the college season, as does Nix. The Bills also added Darrell Moody, hired from San Diego, as a national scout last year.
The surprise, for a lot of Bills fans, is Modrak lasted as long as he did with the Bills’ organization.
He survived the firing of former team president Tom Donahoe after the 2005 season, even though Modrak opted not to succeed Donahoe as general manager. He survived through four-plus years of the Dick Jauron regime.
It wasn’t a shock he stayed on for the start of Nix’s GM tenure, because Modrak was a big reason Nix returned to the Bills as a scout in January 2009. Modrak had been wooing Nix to join the Bills for a months after Nix was relieved of his duties from San Diego in 2008.
Through the past 11 seasons of non-playoff football, the Bills have had some big misses at the top of the draft, including Mike Williams, J.P. Losman, John McCargo, Marshawn Lynch, Donte Whitner (a solid player taken ahead of star defensive tackle Haloti Ngata), James Hardy and Aaron Maybin.
“Certainly, we've had our misses up at the top," Modrak said a week before the draft. “We've done pretty well in the middle and at the end, the non-glamour kind of picks. But we've missed some. That is regrettable."
Wilson, who has maintained a good relationship with Modrak through the years, defended him in an interview with The News in January.
“He’s a hard worker," Wilson said of Modrak. “He knows the game. In the draft, there’s no question it’s a big disappointment that we haven’t had more impact players, players that make a big difference, go to the Pro Bowl. Tom does a good job, but he doesn’t make the last call. He puts the (draft) board up. We have a lot of hard-working scouts. But it comes down to making the last decision. That’s not Tom."