It had been raised as a possibility before, but as recently as the 2013 NFL draft, Bills GM Buddy Nix said he'd like to "see this thing through" when it came to turning the Buffalo franchise back into a contender.
"That has not changed," said Nix when asked if he would retire following a draft in which he took a quarterback. "When it does, one of these days I will shock you and tell you then."
Then has turned out to be now. Less than three weeks after the draft, Nix will transition from the general manager's role to that of Special Assistant with the Bills. Nix will continue to play a significant role with the organization assisting in a variety of football related activities.
"I've made this decision to step away from the General Manager's position because I feel it is the right time," said Nix in a team statement. "By the 'right time' I mean I think we have a good young roster, an excellent head coach with a good staff, and it's time to let someone else handle these responsibilities and move forward together. Timing is the main thing, but there are other benefits as well. This job is very demanding with a 24-7 schedule of responsibilities. This new position will enable me to spend more time with my family. I appreciate the opportunity given to me by Mr. Wilson and Russ (Brandon) and I'm fortunate to step away from the job and still remain a part of the team."
At the NFL Combine this past February Nix indicated his commitment to the requirement of the job was still up to snuff, but did leave the door open to a transition in job title.
"My energy level or anything hasn't changed," said Nix. "Look, I'm not going to do this until I'm 100, I promise you. I'd like to know I'll be around until then, but I'll decide that. I'll sit-down with Russ (Brandon) and we'll do what needs to be done, but to put a timetable on it… I started something and I'd like to see it through."
Nix explained where he sees the state of the club as he steps aside.
"I feel strongly that the team is on the right course for success," Nix said. "We have some excellent talent on our team and coach Marrone and his staff are doing a terrific job in leading and teaching the players we have on our roster. I was very impressed with the 24 rookies we had in this past weekend and I'm very excited about the upcoming season. I think this is going to be an exciting time for our team and our fans."
All told Nix served just over three years as the team's general manager. His most important task when he was hired on Dec. 31st, 2009 was to re-stock the roster with improved talent and depth. A club formerly devoid of top flight defensive line talent now boasts one of the better front lines in the league.
Nix is also responsible for drafting one of the most electric players in the NFL in C.J. Spiller and in the Bills most recent draft chose a future franchise quarterback prospect in EJ Manuel.
The general manager's post was not Nix's first job with the Bills. He had previously served for eight seasons as an area scout for Buffalo under the late former GM John Butler. Nix then returned to the Bills in 2009 to serve as a National Scout before assuming the GM post.
With Nix stepping down it stands to reason that Assistant GM Doug Whaley could be in line for the GM post after serving as the direct understudy to Nix the past three years. Nix has given indication that he hired Whaley as his eventual replacement.
"I think you're maybe less than confident in what you do if you can't put your replacement in place, and we did ours," said Nix this past February. "I was on the job three months when I hired Doug and nothing's changed with him."