Edwards leaves Gators for Bills

Published: Thursday, February 4, 2010 at 4:46 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 4, 2010 at 4:46 p.m.

Less than a month on the job as Florida's new defensive coordinator, George Edwards became a former Gator on Thursday when he was named the defensive coordinator of the NFL's Buffalo Bills.

The announcement came the day that UF coach Urban Meyer began his indefinite leave of absence to deal with health issues.

A source close to the program said the timing of Edwards' decision took UF officials by surprise.

Interim UF head coach Steve Addazio will head the search to hire a new defensive coordinator.

"Coach Addazio will coordinate the efforts to replace George Edwards," UF spokesman Steve McClain said.

Edwards was hired away from Florida by a former Gator — new Bills' coach Chan Gailey, who played quarterback for UF in the 1970s. Edwards and Gailey have worked together before in the NFL, most recently with the Miami Dolphins, where Edwards spent the past five years as a linebackers coach.

"We are very excited that George Edwards has joined our staff as defensive coordinator," Gailey said in a Bills' release. "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."

When Meyer hired Edwards on Jan. 8 to be his co-defensive coordinator with safeties coach Chuck Heater, he called Edwards one of the best assistants in the NFL.

Edwards' announced departure comes the day after Meyer and his staff signed the consensus No. 1 recruiting class in the nation. Edwards did not play a significant role in recruiting due to his late arrival.

Edwards said this opportunity to return to the NFL was too good to turn down.

"I feel like this is a great opportunity for me to come in and have the chance to work with Coach Gailey again and the staff that he has been able to put together," said Edwards, who has 19 years of NFL coaching experience, including one year as Washington's defensive coordinator. "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."

Edwards is the fifth Meyer assistant to leave for another job since December, joining Charlie Strong, Vance Bedford, Kenny Carter and Billy Gonzales.

There is speculation that Edwards accepted the UF job because his job with the Dolphins was in jeopardy. Four days after Edwards was hired by Meyer, Miami fired defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni.

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