Doug Marrone's sudden departure from the Buffalo Bills earlier this month left the majority of his assistant coaches out of jobs, but at least one of Marrone's former position coaches doesn't have any hard feelings toward his old boss.
"That’s the business. He’s taking care of himself, his family. That’s the No. 1 thing you do as a man, all right?" Fred Pagac, who served as linebackers coach for the Bills last season, told ESPN by phone this week.
Pagac, who is currently without a job, was speaking in reference to Marrone's decision to use an escape clause in his contract, triggered by the Bills' ownership change.
"He wanted to take care of himself, his family and his staff,” Pagac said. “It’s hard to coach when you’re under the gun, I guess. If they wanted him, they would have given the extensions to him and to the coaching staff.
"Hey, I’m fine. You know what I mean? It’s not going to affect me that much. But hey, that’s a decision that he made. He didn’t feel any support behind him, I guess, is the way I understand it."
After Marrone interviewed for several head-coaching vacancies this offseason but was not hired by any of those teams, the Jacksonville Jaguars brought him aboard as their assistant head coach and offensive line coach Tuesday.
"Doug Marrone is a hell of a coach. I’m surprised that he didn’t get another head job," Pagac said. "He brought Buffalo to a 9-7 record this year, which was tough with an off-the-street quarterback. And I have a lot of respect for Doug. I like him a lot.
"I’d work for him tomorrow."
Pagac, 62, never worked with Marrone prior to last season and knew little about the former New York Jets and New Orleans Saints assistant before joining his staff. His initial impression of Marrone was positive.
"I’ve been coaching for 37 years. I guess you might call me one of those old-school coaches," Pagac said. "I thought he did a great job. He was demanding, wants things done his way. And that’s how you win football games.”
Some Bills players, including running back Fred Jackson, were critical of Marrone's decision to leave the team after completing its first winning season since 2004.
"I’m an old-school coach, OK? I think players talk too f---ing much to begin with, OK?" Pagac said. "They shouldn’t have any f---ing input on what happens there.”
Pagac was an assistant coach at Ohio State from 1978-2000 before making the jump to the NFL. He is now looking to find a job with his third team in the past three seasons.
“I’m waiting to find out what happens in a couple different situations and go from there," he said. "Hopefully I’m not going to be riding out to the dark sunset and having somebody put a bullet behind my ear in the desert somewhere, like they do to all the horses."