Bills have wiped away all trace of Jauron


, Last Updated: 11:58 PM ET

Its official now. The Dick Jauron Era of Buffalo Bills football never happened. Or so you might believe by looking at the official team photo.

Before last Sundays game in Buffalo, copies of the official team photo of the 2009 Bills were handed out to fans as they entered Ralph Wilson Stadium. Since these shots are normally made early in the season, its not abnormal for a team photo to include personnel no longer with the team.

But its a little weird for the photo not to include the head coach, even if he was fired just over two weeks ago. So, youre thinking, maybe the picture was taken within the past two weeks. If thats the case, then how did Xavier Oman, a player who was cut on Nov. 11, make it into the picture?

Nope, Jauron was photo-shopped out, wiped from existence like some old Soviet premier. In the original photo, he was there, in the middle of the second row, right next to owner Ralph Wilson.

In the photo handed out last weekend, rookie defensive back Jairus Byrd has taken his spot next to the owner.

While its easy to make him disappear, Jauron wont be replaced quite so easily. Or so quietly.

The football club is giving the impression theyre going to try for a high-profile replacement and, perhaps to prove their commitment, they interviewed Mike Shanahan or perhaps he interviewed them for seven hours one day last week.

This week, Charlie Weis, the recently fired coach of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, has been mentioned prominently. Weis could come with his own quarterback, Brady Quinn, who played at Notre Dame and has all but worn out his welcome in Cleveland.

Longtime observers of the Buffalo football scene are forgiven if they regard these developments somewhat cynically. It has never been Wilsons modus operandi to spend more money than is necessary, especially on a coach.

As the season progresses, Perry Fewell might be playing right into the owners hands. The Bills have played much better football under the fiery ex-defensive coordinator turned interim head coach.

Its too late to think playoffs, but if the Bills continue to reflect Fewells aggressive attitude, it might give Wilson a convenient (or inexpensive) alternative.

I spent 25 years as an assistant and at some point in time in your career you start taking notes and you start preparing for your opportunity, Fewell said. This is my opportunity. I didnt choose for it to come this way, but Im making the most of my opportunity. Im having a lot of fun, I promise you, and Im enjoying the experience, and Im gaining a lot of knowledge from this experience.

Whats more, he has plenty of support from within the Bills locker room.

I think hes certainly putting his personal aspect on it, receiver Lee Evans said. Hes a little more emotional and he gets into it a little bit.

The way he comes in, hes very passionate about it and wants us to work hard and we can rally behind that. Hes all about bringing everybody together and trying to win a football game. Thats something that we can hang our hat on and rally behind.

During games, Fewell is like a caged lion on the sidelines pacing, exhorting, yelling and, so far, making his case.

In the picture from which Jauron mysteriously disappeared, Fewell can be identified in the back.

This time next year, he could occupy a more prominent position, but he should be careful what he wishes for.