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Bills-Steelers connections start with Whaley

Posted Nov 10, 2013

Bills GM Doug Whaley spent 11 seasons in the Steelers organization before coming to Buffalo.

The connections between the Bill and Steelers are many. Here's a rundown of some of the links between the two franchises, inlcuding comment from GM Doug Whaley on a return to his hometown.

WHALEY’S FEELINGS ON GOING BACK TO PITTSBURGH
“It’s going to be an intense feeling. I’ve never been an opponent in that stadium, I’ve never been to the visitor’s locker room. It’s going to be strange. All homecomings are nice; I’m going to see a lot of people. My wife’s family is still there. But it’s going to be an interesting feeling to walk on that field and be an opponent.

WHALEY: PITTSBURGH IS LIKE BUFFALO
“It’s very similar to here in Buffalo. It’s all they think about-their sports teams. And football is one of their major sports teams, and they’ve had a lot of success there. When you’re little, it’s all about football, baseball and hockey, the black and gold, and all of their teams are black and gold.”

WORKING WITH STEEELRS
“A lot of ticket requests. Besides that, it’s a dream come true. You have something truly invested every time you walk through those doors. I had invested not only my heart, but my head, but I felt like I needed to do my best for everyone who looked out for me and supported me since I was in high school.”

WHAT HE LEARNED FROM WORKING IN THE STEELERS ORGANIZATION
“That’s the one thing - be under the radar. Be behind the scenes. Don’t make it about yourself. And the other thing I learned was pay attention to details. And that’s a thing that Coach [Marrone] talks about. If we pay attention to the details on and off the field, it’s going to make those times when you need a big play easier to make.”

NOTABLE CONNECTIONS
FORMER BILLS/STEELERS
• Bills GM Doug Whaley was a Pro Personnel Assistant for the Steelers in 1995 and then Pro Scouting Coordinator (1999-09).
• Buffalo RB Coach Tyrone Wheatley was an NFL Minority Coaching Fellow intern with the Steelers in 2008.
• Bills Director of College Scouting Kelvin Fisher was a College Scout for Pittsburgh from 2000-12.
• Buffalo College Scout Theo Young played TE for the Steelers (1987-88).
• Several members of the Bills spent time with the Steelers: OL Kraig Urbik (2009),OL Doug Legursky (2009-12), FB Frank Summers was a fifth-round draft pick of Pittsburgh (2009), P Brian Moorman spent the 2013 Training Camp with the Steelers.
• Pittsburgh DC Dick LeBeau was the AHC for the Bills (2003).
• Steelers STC Danny Smith held the same position with Buffalo (2001-03).
• Ray Jackson, a member of the Steelers Player Development department, played cornerback for the Bills from 1995-98.

AREA CONNECTIONS
• Bills GM Doug Whaley is a native of Pittsburgh and was a four-year letterwinner as a safety and linebacker at the University of Pittsburgh from 1990-93. He led the Upper St. Clair High School football team to its 1989 AAAA Pennsylvania state championship
• Bills DC Mike Pettine was a defensive graduate assistant at the University of Pittsburgh from 1993-94.
• Buffalo STC Danny Crossman was a three-year letterman at the University of Pittsburgh.
• Bills LB Coach Chuck Driesbach was the defensive coordinator at the University of Pittsburgh from 1993-96.
• Bills Director of Pro Personnel Tom Gibbons was a graduate assistant at the University of Pittsburgh from 1990-91 and was a four-year letterwinner at Indiana (PA) University.
• Buffalo Asst. Equipment Manager Randy “Woody” Ribbeck was inducted into the Minor Pro Football Hall of Fame (Pittsburgh) in May.

NFL CONNECTIONS
• Bills P Brian Moorman spent his first three seasons learning under Steelers STC Danny Smith while he was with Buffalo
• Buffalo S Jim Leonhard and LB Jamaal Westerman and Steelers WR Jerricho Cotchery played for the Jets (2009-10).
• Bills RB Tashard Choice and Steelers RB Felix Jones shared the backfield in Dallas from 2008-11.
• Bills OL Coach Pat Morris held the same position in Minnesota (2006) when Steelers HC Mike Tomlin was the Defensive Coordinator.

COLLEGE CONNECTIONS
• Steelers S Shamarko Thomas played under Bills HC Doug Marrone at Syracuse (2009-12). He also played under Bills DB coach Donnie Henderson in 2012.
• Buffalo C Eric Wood and Steelers CB William Gay played on opposite sides of the ball for the Louisville Cardinals from 2004-06.
• Bills LB Manny Lawson and Steelers WR Jerricho Cotchery were teammates at NC State in 2002. Bills DE Mario Williams joined them in 2003.
• Bills RB C.J. Spiller and OL Antoine McClain played at Clemson with Steelers TE Michael Palmer.
• Bills OL Cordy Glenn and Steelers LB Jarvis Jones were both Georgia Bulldogs in 2010 and 2011.
• Bills DB Aaron Williams and Steelers DB Curtis Brown teamed up in the Texas secondary from 2008-10. Bills WR Marquise Goodwin played on the opposite side of the ball for Texas from 2009-10.
• Bills DL Alan Branch and Steelers LB LaMarr Woodley anchored one of the top defenses in college football at the University of Michigan from 2003-06.
• Bills LS Garrison Sanborn and Steelers LB Lawrence Timmons shared a locker room at Florida State from 2004-06.
• Bills CB Leodis McKelvin and Steelers DT Steve McLendon helped lead the defense for Troy from 2005-07.
• Bills LB Nigel Bradham and Bills QB EJ Manuel were teammates with Steelers LB Vince Williams at Florida State from 2008-11.
• Bills RB Tashard Choice and Steelers RB Jonathan Dwyer formed a dynamic backfield at Georgia Tech during the 2007 season.