Many kids dream to one day play or coach for their hometown team. Jason Rebrovich has made that dream a reality.
Bills outside linebackers coach Jason Rebrovich is a testament for aspiring football coaches around the country. Just six years ago, he was the defensive coordinator at his alma mater, Cortland State, located in central New York. After being hired by Doug Marrone at Syracuse in 2011, Rebrovich was brought 'home' in 2013, when he joined the Buffalo Bills as a defensive quality control coach. Reflecting back, Rebrovich is quick to credit and thank those who have helped him succeed, especially Cortland State head football coach Dan MacNeill, whom he both played for and coached with.
"Coach MacNeill is my number one mentor," said Rebrovich. "He's helped me understand who I am as a coach. While at Cortland, I was truly able to gain a thorough understanding of my strengths and weaknesses. I became honest with myself, and was able to properly develop my coaching philosophy."
After spending last season as the assistant defensive line coach, Rebrovich was one of the few retained by Rex Ryan. Although the area and facility will remain familiar, Rebrovich will transition to the linebackers, a challenge he is eager to tackle.
"I've tied my roots around the defensive line for so many years, so for me to transition from a learning experience standpoint is great," said Rebrovich. "Really the biggest transition is just incorporating yourself with some coverage terms. Guys getting after the quarterback from my standpoint is going to be no different from coaching the defensive ends."
In a defense that will likely feature many 3-4 alignments, Bobby April III will coach the inside linebackers. April enters his fifth NFL season and spent the last two working with the linebackers in New York, under Rex Ryan. Although their working relationship is fairly new, Rebrovich is excited about April's body of knowledge and passion for football.
"He is one heck of a coach," Rebrovich said. "He's organized and meticulous. With him and I tag-teaming this thing together, from an outside and inside standpoint, I'm really excited about it."
Both Rebrovich and April will have the pleasure of coaching a proven, young linebacking core that features Nigel Bradham and Preston Brown among others. Mario Williams, Jerry Hughes, and Manny Lawson will likely be featured as stand-up linebackers as well. Rebrovich can already sense that his players have totally placed their focus on winning.
"We've got some young guys who are very smart," said Rebrovich. "These guys are so eager to learn and win just through the energy of Rex and the transition going on here. Everyone is having a lot of fun, too."
Although his quick climb through the coaching ranks has been unique, it hasn't been without warrant. The story of Jason Rebrovich demonstrates that with strong work ethic and a proper mentality, anything is possible.
"Understand that the biggest room in the world, is the room for improvement," Rebrovich said.
He also encourages everybody to take advantage of every opportunity available.
"Never close a door. You never know what type of impression you can make."