As Buddy Nix announced Monday that he'd be stepping down as Bills general manager, the players were just stepping off the practice field for a voluntary OTA workout. Informed of the news, players most remembered Nix's direct approach with them.
"I think that's the number one thing you like in this business is somebody being straightforward with you," said Fred Jackson. "He's been that guy and he's told me what I needed to work on to be here and what I have to do to be here. With a guy that gives you that type of input you're going to listen to him."
For Jackson, Nix was also trustworthy. Heading into the 2011 offseason Jackson was entering the final year of his contract, one that he had clearly outperformed. Nix promised publicly and privately to Jackson that he would be taken care of. True to his word, Jackson was rewarded with a multi-year contract extension.
For myself I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Buddy so I'm excited to see he's getting a new role, but he'll still be here," Jackson said.
The outgoing Bills GM oversaw three drafts for the organization, and for all of his draft choices there will always be a connection.
"There definitely will because he was the one that called me on the phone when I got drafted and he gave me the opportunity to come up here and be a Buffalo Bill so I'll always remember him for that," said 2011 first-round pick Stephon Gilmore.
Several of the players often referred to Nix as 'Coach' for his earlier career as a successful college head coach. After more than half a century in the game there's built-in respect when it comes to the men on Buffalo's roster.
"It seems like he lives, sleeps and does everything football. You've got to respect the guy," Gilmore told Buffalobills.com. "He's been around the game for a long time. He's seen players, he knows players. He'll always be my GM. He's a straightforward person and I'll respect him for that."
"Buddy didn't draft me, but he had high regard for me when he came in," said Eric Wood. "He treated me really fairly coming off the broken leg. I'll forever be grateful for that. He's moving on with us. He'll be a part of the program. I'm going to congratulate him, because he's been in football for 50-years. To be able to do that, that's pretty special. We're looking forward to using him and his knowledge moving forward still, just maybe not in a GM role.
Mr. Nix has done tons 4 me n my career. Part of drafting me, believing I could play when no one else did and resigning me! Thankyou Buddy! — Scott Chandler (@scottchandler84) May 13, 2013