BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — After 25 seasons coaching in the NFL, and the past six serving a defensive coordinator for the Bills, Leslie Frazier is taking a sabbatical from the sidelines.
In his new role as an NFL Network analyst, Frazier indicated he still believes in the Bills’ ability to succeed with coach Sean McDermott calling the defense this coming season. Frazier was one of five analysts to predict a Super Bowl championship for the Bills.
“The Bills have been knocking on the Super Bowl door the last few seasons. When they finally get there, they take advantage of the opportunity and win the franchise’s first Lombardi Trophy,” Frazier explained in picking the Bills to beat the 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII.
The other NFL.com contributors to pick the Bills were: Keegan Abdoo, Jeremy Bergman, Michael F. Florio and Michelle Magdziuk. Three others tabbed the Bills to win the AFC but lost in the Super Bowl. The Bills tied with the Bengals for third with five votes in the poll of 34 analysts. Nine picked the reigning Super Bowl champion Chiefs, and seven picked the team they beat in last year’s big game, the Eagles, coached by Jamestown native Nick Sirianni.
Frazier, who won a Super Bowl playing for the Chicago Bears in 1985, has coached in the NFL since 1999. Frazier was the Vikings’ head coach from 2010-13 and has interviewed for vacant He was among 40 diverse coaching candidates who participated in the Coach Accelerator program at the NFL’s spring meetings.
While Frazier has not spoken publicly about his decision to take a year off from coaching, the Bills have not clarified whether he will return to McDermott’s staff following the season.
“We’ll miss him,” McDermott said after announcing Frazier’s sabbatical at the NFL scouting combine in February. “I thought he did a really good job with our defense.”
General manager Brandon Beane provided a few more details on Frazier’s reasoning by saying: “Ultimately, he didn’t want to retire. He’s not there in his mind, but he just wanted to take a step back.”
While Frazier, who is still under contract with the Bills, intends to return to coaching, Beane said it’s not clear whether that will be with Buffalo.
Jonah Bronstein joined the WIVB squad in 2022 as a digital sports reporter. The Buffalonian has covered the Bills, Sabres, Bandits, Bisons, colleges, high schools and other notable sporting events in Western New York since 2005, for publications including The Associated Press, The Buffalo News, and Niagara Gazette. Read more of his work here.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.