ORCHARD PARK, NY – The Buffalo Bills today announced that Bobby April III, Karl Dunbar, Tim McDonald, Jason Oszvart, Eric Smith, Tony Sparano, Jr. and Jeff Weeks have been hired to the coaching staff.
Bobby April III (Linebackers)
April III enters his first year with the Bills and his fifth season in the NFL. April spent the past two seasons working with the Jets linebackers. Under April III's guidance, Calvin Pace recorded his first career double-digit sack season in 2013 when he tallied 10 quarterback takedowns. In his first season with the team, April served as quality control coach assisting with the linebackers. Prior to joining the Jets, April spent two seasons with Philadelphia (2011-12) as a defensive quality control coach on Andy Reid's staff.
Karl Dunbar (Defensive Line):
Dunbar enters his first year with the Bills and his 11th season in the NFL. Dunbar comes to the Bills from the New York Jets, where he spent the past three seasons as the defensive line coach. Under Dunbar's tutelage, Sheldon Richardson earned Defensive Rookie of the Year honors by the Associated Press in 2013 and Pro Bowl honors in 2014. Prior to joining the Jets, Dunbar worked as the defensive line coach of the Minnesota Vikings from 2006 to 2011. The Vikings rush defense was the best in the NFL each season from 2006-2008, marking the first time since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger that a team had ranked number one in rushing defense in three consecutive seasons. Dunbar's first coaching stint in the NFL was in 2004 with the Bears. Dunbar spent the 2005 season coaching the defensive line at LSU, where he worked with current Bills Pro Bowl defensive lineman Kyle Williams. From 2002-03, Dunbar was the defensive line coach at Oklahoma State where he mentored future Viking Kevin Williams and helped him become the first Oklahoma State defensive lineman to be a first-round selection (ninth in 2003) since Leslie O'Neal (eighth in 1986). He began his coaching career at Opelousas High School in Louisiana in 1996 before advancing to Beau Chene High School in 1997. Dunbar got in to coaching after a playing career that started with him being an eighth-round draft choice of the Steelers in 1990 and played defensive line for three teams in his NFL career: Steelers (1990), Saints (1992-93) and Cardinals (1994-95). During his time with the Cardinals, Dunbar played under Head Coach Buddy Ryan, with Rex Ryan serving as his position coach in 1994 and on the defensive staff in 1995.
Tim McDonald (Defensive Backs)
McDonald enters his first year with the Bills and his third year in the NFL. McDonald spent the 2013 and 2014 seasons as the Jets Defensive Backs coach. McDonald got his start in coaching at Fresno State as he was hired as a secondary coach on January 4, 2012. McDonald played safety for 13 seasons in the NFL from 1987-99 with the St. Louis/Phoenix Cardinals (1987-92) and the San Francisco 49ers (1993-99). He was selected to six Pro Bowls, including five-straight from 1991-95, and was named All-Pro six times. McDonald helped the 49ers win Super Bowl XXIX with a 49-26 victory over the San Diego Chargers. Over his 13-year NFL career, he played in 191 games, making 187 starts. McDonald finished his pro career with 1,063 tackles, 40 interceptions and he recovered 16 fumbles. McDonald was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the second round (34th overall pick) of the 1987 NFL Draft.
Jason Oszvart (Strength and Conditioning Assistant)
Oszvart enters his first year with the Bills and his third year in the NFL. Oszvart spent last season with the Jets as an assistant strength and conditioning coach after joining the team in 2013 as an intern with the strength and conditioning staff.
Eric Smith (Special Teams Assistant)
Smith enters his first year with the Bills and his second year in the NFL. Smith began his coaching career last season with the Jets--the same team with which he began his professional playing career. The Jets selected him in the third round (97th overall) of the 2006 draft, and he remained with the team until he was released last February. In his seven seasons with New York during his playing career, Smith recorded six interceptions and 3.5 sacks. The 6-foot-1, 209-pound Michigan State product started 36 of his 96 NFL games and was a major special teams contributor as well.
Tony Sparano, Jr. (Tight Ends)
Sparano, Jr. enters his first season with the Bills and his fourth season in the NFL. Sparano Jr. spent last season as the New York Jets offensive assistant after initially joining the staff as a seasonal intern in 2012. Sparano, Jr. joined the Jets after spending one season as the offensive quality control coach for the Miami Dolphins, helping coach an offense in Miami that gained 1,987 yards on the ground and saw Reggie Bush rush for 1,000 yards for the first time in his career. He began his coaching career in the UFL with the Hartford Colonials as their assistant defensive line coach in 2010.
Jeff Weeks (Assistant Defensive Line)
Weeks enters his first year with the Bills and his eighth year in the NFL. Weeks spent six seasons with the Jets in a variety of roles on the defensive side of the ball. From 2013-2014 Weeks served as a defensive assistant and defensive line/linebackers coach. In his second season (2010) on the Jets staff, Weeks worked under former assistant head coach/linebackers coach Bob Sutton with the specific task of tutoring the outside linebackers on their assignments and techniques. Weeks originally joined the Jets in 2009 and helped the team advance to the AFC championship game. Initially a defensive assistant, he focused on the de¬fensive line for the second half of the season. He served as a defensive assistant during the 2008 season with the Raiders. Weeks coached with Rex Ryan in college at Morehead State (1990-91) and at Oklahoma (1998). He also coaching collegiately at Texas A&M-Kingsville (2005-06), Southeastern Oklahoma State (2005), Trinity Valley (Texas) CC (2000-04), Fort Scott (Kansas) CC (1999), Glendale (Arizona) CC (1997) and Phoenix (Arizona) CC (1996).