Had an opportunity this week to sit down with Buffalo Bills President Russ Brandon which you will be able watch on Tuesday night, April 16th at 6:30 on WBBZ-TV. It was the first face to face meeting I’ve had with Russ since his promotion, but not much has changed. Russ is still the same smart, affable guy who has worn several hats at One Bills Drive.

I met Russ back in 1997 when he came to Buffalo to work for the Bills in sales and marketing. Russ was a sharp guy who came from baseball having been with the Florida Marlins and was on a mission from the start.

Russ became very close to then General Manager John Butler and dearly wanted to learn the football side of the business. I once refrerred to Russ as “slick” to John Butler and he roared and then quickly relayed the conversation to Russ to bust his chops. Russ never appreciated the “slick” reference.

Russ Brandon always had a desire to become the President of a National Football League team, but as Brandon put it “I never thought my goal of becoming a President would happen in my own region.” Russ is originally from the Syracuse area and went to college at St. John Fisher so this is truly his region and he has continued to use those connections in his career with the Bills.

Sitting down with Russ Brandon today was no different than the many conversations we had over the years, except for the fact of course that he now rules over the entire domain. It’s a subtle difference from being CEO to team President, but there certainly is a difference.

I asked Brandon if the Bills would draft a quarterback with an early pick? Brandon gave me the status quo “Buddy Nix will draft the best player available.” I laughed at his rehearsed response and drew a broad smile from Russ. I then said “so if the best available player at the 8th pick is a quarterback, that’s who the team will draft?” “I’ll let Buddy Nix decide who that will be,” said Brandon.

I asked Brandon about the realistic expectations for the new coaching staff and he wouldn’t bite on number of wins, just that a “winning culture” needed to exist. Russ spoke highly of Coach Marrone and acknowledged that new offensive coordinator Nate Hackett is an extremely bright individual who has football wisdom beyond his years.

The one snippet of news I did get out of the interview was that the stadium lease process is almost complete with just one small financial hurtle to jump, but no snags expected.

For the entire interview and your own take on the Russ Brandon interview tune in to WBBZ-TV Tuesday night at 6:30.


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