ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WKBW) — There's a lot of respect between Bills head coach Sean McDermott and Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera, and it's been that way since the two worked together years ago.
"Ron has been one of my biggest mentors in this business and has been a huge influence in my career," McDermott said. "He's taught me a lot."
McDermott and Rivera both worked for the Philadelphia Eagles back in 2001, McDermott as an assistant to then head coach, Andy Reid, and Rivera as the linebackers coach. A decade later, the two reunited in Carolina after Rivera, the then head coach of the Carolina Panthers, gave McDermott a shot and hired him to be the team's defensive coordinator.
McDermott remained there until he was hired to serve as head coach for the Bills. In the years since taking over the Buffalo team, McDermott has gotten a better sense of the type of Coach Ron was and wanted him to be.
"There were times where as coaches we always want more time in the practice schedule and there'd be times when I'd ask for another rep for the defense and he'd shoot it down, yet the offense would need another rep and he'd grant it," McDermott recalled. "I don't know why it's that way but we, as defensive coaches, try to make it harder on our own if you will and I do the same thing here. It made us tougher on defense and made us develop a mentality that I know Ron wanted us to have."
While the two haven't worked alongside each other in years, McDermott has carried a lot of things he learned from Ron, with him as a head coach.
"The one thing he always said every morning was 'Attitude, preparation, and effort were the things a team could control'. That's very true and powerful," McDermott said. "Ron has helped both [Beane] of us and there's a mutual admiration, respect, and friendship."
The two stood on opposite sidelines one other time during the regular season back in September 2017, when the Bills fell to the Panthers in a 9-3 low-scoring affair. The two will once again stand on opposite sidelines this Sunday when the former assistant coaches against his mentor.
"I have a tremendous amount of respect for him and his family," McDermott said. "I'm glad he seems to be doing well health-wise and I'm glad he's had the success that he's had."