- The Washington Times - Friday, February 24, 2006

INDIANAPOLIS — How old is Marv Levy? He has 15 years on Joe Gibbs, who is the oldest coach in the NFL.

Levy, 80, is back in the league with the Buffalo Bills after an eight-year absence. He was named the team’s general manager Jan.5.

Bills owner Ralph Wilson is hoping the strategy Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder used two years ago — bringing back a successful to coach to get the franchise untracked — can work for the beleaguered Bills.

Gibbs helped lead the Redskins to the playoffs this past season and Levy hopes to steer the Bills back into the postseason. Buffalo is 31-49 the last five seasons and has missed the postseason six consecutive years.

“I didn’t have the feeling that I would be back,” Levy said yesterday at the league’s scouting combine.

When Tom Donahoe was fired, Wilson coaxed Levy — who coached Buffalo to four Super Bowls in the early 1990s — out of retirement. Levy had been splitting his time between Williamsburg, Va., and Chicago and stayed involved in the game by working for NFL.com and being an analyst for Bills preseason games.

Asked how difficult the task of turning around the Bills is, Levy said: “I don’t know how many ‘verys’ to put in front of my answer. But it is going to be very difficult.”

Levy’s first crisis came days after he was hired. After coach Mike Mularkey said he would return, he abruptly resigned. Instead of preparing for the draft and free agency, Levy had to find a new coach. He interviewed six candidates and hired Dick Jauron.

Much like Gibbs two offseasons ago, Levy has had to study up on today’s NFL.

“It’s been about learning all of the ins and outs of how the league operates,” he said. “When I retired [following the 1997 season], free agency and the salary cap had been around, but it wasn’t impacting things as much as they do today.”

Like Gibbs, Levy is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He had a 112-70 record with Buffalo.

Making progress

Washington Redskins director of sports medicine Bubba Tyer said yesterday the team’s health is in “pretty good shape.” Tyer gave updates on six players:

• Defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin, who was slowed by a rotator cuff injury during the season, was evaluated earlier this week in Alabama by Dr. James Andrews.

• Left tackle Chris Samuels underwent successful arthroscopic knee surgery days after returning from the Pro Bowl.

“He had some roughness behind the knee cap that was smoothed out and cleaned out,” Tyer said. “He’s had that for several years and now it’s a matter of modifying his weightlifting program so the back of the kneecap isn’t irritated as much.”

• Centers Casey Rabach and Cory Raymer and middle linebacker Lemar Marshall all had shoulder surgery and have started rehabilitation.

“It’s in the early stages, but they’re out of the slings and doing range of motion and light exercises,” Tyer said.

• Defensive end Renaldo Wynn’s broken forearm continues to heal but he remains in a cast. Tyer said the two rods inserted to insure proper healing will remain in Wynn’s arm.

Bush wants to go No. 1

Southern California running back/receiver/do-everything Reggie Bush needed additional security at the Indiana Convention Center to avoid autograph seekers.

Bush, the Heisman Trophy winner, said he wants to be the first overall pick. The Houston Texans hold the No. 1 pick.

“I’m competing to be the first pick and it’s something that’s very important to me,” he said.

Bush will work out for NFL teams on April 2. He measured in at 5-foot-11 3/4 and 201 pounds.

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