By Tim Graham
PITTSFORD -- Kevin Mawae was quick to praise the Buffalo Bills when they hired Doug Marrone as head coach in January.
Mawae was a star center with the New York Jets when Marrone was their offensive-line coach from 2002 through 2005.
Now retired, Mawae wants to keep learning from Marrone. The Bills today announced Mawae is among their five recipients of the Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship and will work with the team through training camp.
Mawae, an eight-time Pro Bowler, joined the O-line staff Monday.
Marrone "did a great job of teaching concepts," Mawae told me in January. "As a young player, a lot of times you worry just about your assignment and who's in front of you. But Doug taught us concepts of, 'We're doing this slide protection because it's going to complement the running game in this way. We're going to run this protection and show this kind of front so we can get the defensive backfield to react certain ways.'
"And he would be able to teach it to you in a way where you understood it, where it wasn't complicated physics.
"He coached tight ends and he knows the passing game. When we would talk X's and O's about pass-protection schemes, he would be able to teach you about coverages, Cover 2, rolling coverages, what to expect. He opened the game up for a lot of the guys on the offensive line beyond the" line of scrimmage.
This year's other Walsh Minority Coaching Fellows are former Syracuse running back Antwon Bailey, North Texas assistant Michael Grant, SUNY-Albany assistant Matthew Scott and former NFL interior lineman Jamar Nesbit.