The Buffalo Bills have added another Pro Bowler to the team, but he's not a player. Kevin Mawae, 8-time All Pro and Pro Bowl center, is working with the Bills coaching staff as one of the Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship participants.
"It's great to be here, I'm glad I was chosen as one of the interns and fellowship programs," Mawae said. "It's one thing to play on the field but it's another thing to teach what you learn. To be a part of the minority internship program is a pretty cool deal. It's nice to be back around the game, especially to be here with Coach Marrone."
Mawae played professionally for 16 seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, New York Jets and Tennessee Titans. He is of Hawaiian descent. The Louisiana State graduate was also named to the NFL's 2000's all-decade team and is a member of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
The official webpage for the fellowship says its objective is to give "talented minority coaches opportunities to observe, participate, gain experience and ultimately gain a full-time NFL coaching position." Since starting on Monday, he's been working with the offensive line and coach Pat Morris. Mawae said his time with them is going to be as much a learning experience for him as it will be for the players.
"For me it's just being here and learning what their system is and how coach Morris is teaching things," He said. "Pointers where I can help without stepping on any toes, but also learning how other coaches teach the things that you know. Then the years of experience I had as a player, I can tell them little things like about footwork or hand placement or what to be aware of in certain situations."
It's no coincidence Mawae ended up in Buffalo for the fellowship. Mawae and head coach Doug Marrone worked together previously. During Mawae's eight seasons with the New York Jets, Marrone was his offensive line coach for four of them. Mawae said he had no doubts Marrone would someday be an NFL head coach.
"It was just the next natural progression for him. Even from the earliest time I met him he always talked about wanting to be a head coach at some level," Mawae said. "It's a little different being here with the blue and red on as opposed to the green and white. It's kind of funny, I have to get used to him being coach Marrone now instead of being Doug."
Center Eric Wood said he looked up to Mawae while in college and as a young player.
"I actually studied him as a young guy so we were able to talk about things," Wood said. "He brings a guy we can all look up to, that's for sure. Great man, great player."
This isn't the first coaching gig for Mawae. He interned with Vanderbilt University for a season and coached high school football in Tennessee for a season.
"For me, it's really more about having an impact on the people I'm around, whatever level it is," he said.
Mawae doesn't know what his plans are in terms of coaching. He is unsure about the NFL due to the rigorous time demands required of an NFL coach.
"Right now I have two teenagers and my goal right now is to spend as much time with them as possible until they're out high school."