By Tim Graham
INDIANAPOLIS -- Over the past few days, Buffalo Bills President Russ Brandon and General Manager Buddy Nix each made vague comments about assistant GM and player-personnel director Doug Whaley sticking around the organization for a long time.
This evening, the Bills announced they've signed Whaley to a contract extension. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Whaley, 40, is considered Nix's heir to the GM office.
"I am happy that we have secured Doug's services into the future," Nix, 73, said in a statement released by the club, "and look forward to a smooth transition of the position when the time comes."
Brandon's prepared comment emphasized Nix remains in control.
"We are very pleased with the structure of our football operation and look forward to working with Buddy, Doug and the entire staff for many years to come," Brandon said. "As we have stated previously, there is no timetable for the transition. Our focus continues to be on building the foundation for a winning program."
At the NFL scouting combine in Lucas Oil Stadium, Whaley on Wednesday described his responsibilities to The Buffalo News.
"I always tell people my job is to make Buddy's job as easy as possible," Whaley said. "I want to go out there and -- for lack of a better term -- be the footsoldier to track down all this information and funnel whatever decision he needs to make."
Whaley joined the Bills' front office in 2010 after 12 years with his hometown Pittsburgh Steelers.
He was a four-year letterman for the Pitt Panthers in the 1990s and became a pro-personnel assistant for the Steelers in 1995 after working as a retail stockbroker for a year. He was in the Seattle Seahawks' scouting department from 1996 to 1998. He returned to the Steelers and eventually served as their pro-scouting coordinator.
Brandon was asked Thursday about a possible transition from Nix to Whaley. Brandon said Whaley is "locked into Buffalo for the foreseeable future."
Whaley's name was bandied about last month as a possible candidate for various GM openings around the NFL.
Nix said Thursday there was no concern Nix could depart for another team.
"Doug's situation hasn't changed," Nix said. "I think you're maybe less than confident in what you do if you can't put your replacement in place. I was on the job three months when I hired Doug.
"Let me tell you this, just in a matter-of-fact way: He's here. He'll be here. So don't worry about the openings."
tagged2013 NFL scouting combine | Buddy Nix | Doug Whaley | Russ Brandon