SBD/February 24, 2014/Franchises

Veteran Bills Front Office Execs Reportedly Clashing With GM, Coach

Bills CFO Jeffrey Littmann, Senior VP/Football Administration Jim Overdorf and Senior VP/Communications Scott Berchtold "still hold too much sway and haven't afforded" GM Doug Whaley or coach Doug Marrone "as much control as either feels he needs to correct a losing culture," according to sources cited by Tim Graham of the BUFFALO NEWS. Key coaching staffers and scouts are "frustrated with organizational fixtures [who are] considered behind the times," as Whaley and Marrone "clearly view football in a fresher way than the franchise is accustomed." The two "want to fix the team's this-is-the-way-we've-always-done-it culture." Sources said that the coaching staff "wants to replace 30-year athletic trainer Bud Carpenter but have run into opposition within the board room." Graham reported the "dissatisfaction doesn't stop there." Scouts and coaches "have been aggravated with decisions" made by Littmann, Overdorf and Berchtold, each of whom have been with the team since the '80s. Littmann "long has set the team's budget" for team Owner Ralph Wilson, while Overdorf "oversees all player contracts." Overdorf, "not Whaley, will handle contract negotiations for Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd," which is the "same as last year." Overdorf "reports not to Whaley," but to President & CEO Russ Brandon. Berchtold is "responsible for helping Marrone and Whaley deal with the media." Bills coaches "refer to Berchtold as the team's 'sports information director,' a term colleges use for their flacks," and Berchtold "doesn't like that" (BUFFALONEWS.com, 2/23).

ON THE DOCK OF THE BAY: CBSSPORTS.com's Jason La Canfora wrote things "are not getting better behind the scenes" for the 49ers, as there was "a persistent rumble throughout the combine about the extent of the rift between coach Jim Harbaugh and the team's front office." It "doesn't seem like it will go away, and there is increasing buzz that the team might have to decide between Harbaugh or GM Trent Baalke." Sources said that the two "are barely speaking," and "almost all communication is through email." Sources added that Harbaugh "also has a strained relationship" with team President Paraag Marathe, and "has clashed with many within the organization." La Canfora: "It could prove untenable. If anything, the impression I got this week was that the situation there is actually much worse than how it has been portrayed in the media" (CBSSPORTS.com, 2/23).
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