Bills hire defensive coordinator

Buffalo Bills coach Chan Gailey has been filling his coaching staff with college and pro assistants but he dipped into the college ranks to find a defensive coordinator with NFL experience.

Gailey has hired George Edwards as the Bills defensive coordinator. Edwards replaced Charlie Strong as the defensive coordinator at Florida on Jan. 10. He comes to the Bills, though, with more than a decade of NFL experience.

Edwards coached the defensive line for the Dallas Cowboys in 1997 before moving to the Washington Redskins from 1998-2002 to coach the same position. He was the Cleveland Browns' defensive coordinator in 2003. He coached linebackers for the Miami Dolphins in 2004 before accepting the linebacker job at Florida from 2005-09.

"We are very excited that George Edwards has joined our staff as defensive coordinator," Gailey said in a statement. "He brings a wealth of experience, not only as a motivator and communicator, but he has been involved with some great schemes and we are excited about him being the head of our defense."

With Florida head coach Urban Meyer beginning a leave of absence, team spokesman Steve McClain said interim coach Steve Addazio will coordinate replacing

Florida could promote Chuck Heater, who was named the team's co-defensive coordinator when Edwards was hired last month.

Although Edwards had been at Florida for four weeks, he wasn't very involved in the team's recruiting efforts that brought in three of the top defensive linemen in the country.

Edwards also spent seven years coaching at the college level, including stops at Georgia, Duke, Appalachian State and Florida. He coached current Bills defensive tackle Marcus Stroud at Georgia in 1997.

"I feel like this is a great opportunity for me to come in and have a chance to work with Coach Gailey again and the staff that he has been able to put together," Edwards said in a statement. "I am excited to have the opportunity to come to Buffalo and look forward to getting started as quickly as possible. This is a team that has played good defense in the past and I am excited to continue on with that tradition."

John Clayton is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.