Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott has been in the mix for head-coaching jobs in previous seasons, but he seems to be closer to the front of the line this year.
McDermott became the first candidate to interview for the Buffalo’s vacancy on Wednesday, the Bills announced.
Wednesday’s temperature in Buffalo is in the 30s, with snow. But the Sporting News’ Alex Marvez reported McDermott is meeting with the Bills in Boca Raton, Fla., where owner Terry Pegula owns a $6.6 million home with a yacht.
It’s the first of two scheduled interviews this week for McDermott, who also is set to meet with the San Diego Chargers, according to a league source.
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McDermott, 42, also is expected to draw interest from San Francisco about its vacancy.
The Panthers’ failure to make the playoffs may end up working in McDermott’s favor.
He interviewed with Cleveland and Tampa Bay last year. But Hue Jackson and Dirk Koetter were hired by the Browns and Bucs in mid-January before the Panthers’ divisional-round game against Seattle.
McDermott is not the only Panthers defensive assistant who has interviewed this week.
Panthers assistant head coach and secondary coach Steve Wilks interviewed with the Los Angeles Rams on Tuesday for their vacancy.
Wilks, 47, who played at West Charlotte and Appalachian State, was key in developing rookie cornerbacks James Bradberry and Daryl Worley in the wake of Josh Norman’s departure last spring.
Wilks joined Ron Rivera’s staff in Charlotte in 2012 after the two worked together previously in Chicago and San Diego.
McDermott came to Carolina with Rivera in 2011 after a two-year stint as Philadelphia’s defensive coordinator.
He was the only coordinator to lead a top-10 defense every year from 2012-2015, and is well respected in league circles.
Kansas City coach Andy Reid, who had McDermott on his Eagles’ staff, raved about him before the Panthers-Chiefs game in November.
“Phenomenal football coach,” Reid said. “(The Panthers defense is) getting coached like crazy by a guy who is going to be a future head coach in this league.”