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Gailey leaves with respect of players

Posted Dec 31, 2012


On the offensive side of the ball, there were a handful of players that benefited greatly from head coach Chan Gailey’s tutelage in his time with the Bills. Players that otherwise might not have been given an opportunity to excel in the National Football League. On Monday it was those players that expressed their outright respect for the now former Bills coach.

For players like Stevie Johnson, a former seventh-round draft choice that couldn’t get time on the field, the faith that Gailey put in him instilled a measure of loyalty in the receiver.

“It was a great offense to be in. It was a great offense for me,” said Johnson, who just posted his third consecutive 1,000-yard receiving season. “I’m happy that I was here. I’m happy that he came here and I was able to get that opportunity from him. My feelings for Coach Gailey are always good. He gave me my opportunity and gave me my chance and I pretty much took advantage of it. But if it wasn’t for him who knows what would’ve happened with it?”

David Nelson, an undrafted rookie, and Scott Chandler who had bounced from team to team, also got prime opportunities to carve out careers under the Bills former sideline boss.

“I owe everything I have so far and what I’ve done so far to Chan,” said Nelson, who was second on the team in receptions in 2011 with 61. “He brought me in when not a lot of people would and gave me an opportunity. He’s continued to stick behind me when a lot of people doubted me.”

“I owe so much to Coach Gailey,” said Chandler, who put up back-to-back seasons with six touchdown catches. “They pulled me off the trash heap here and that guy gave me a chance to play. He’s a guy who is pretty special to me who I have a lot of respect for.”

“Chan means a lot to me as a person, as a coach,” said Ryan Fitzpatrick, a former seventh-round pick. “Before he took over here, I was kind of the lost journeyman bouncing around from team to team.  He was the guy that gave me my first real shot. The guy that showed a lot of confidence in me and has stood by my side for the last few years. He means a lot to me as a coach and a person, and he’s somebody that I’ll always respect.”