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Opposing View: McDermott, Beane bring Bills to Carolina

Posted Sep 13, 2017

Buffalo's new head coach and general manager spent 25 seasons with Panthers between them, including the previous six together.

CHARLOTTE - Over the course of nearly two decades in a sport where turnover in the front office is more common than turnovers on the field, Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane have been outliers.

Both joined the NFL ranks just before the turn of the century, and before this year, they had combined to change addresses just once.

But both have relocated within the past few months – to the same spot.

McDermott, the Panthers' defensive coordinator from 2011-16 following 12 seasons in various roles with the Eagles, landed his first head coaching job in January. Beane, who held numerous roles with the Panthers from 1998-2016, still shares a building with McDermott as a first-time general manager.

Sunday, McDermott and Beane will lead their Buffalo Bills into Bank of America Stadium to face their longtime employers.

"There are a lot of great people down there. A lot of great memories," McDermott said. "It's Week 2 of the regular season, so making the trip to Carolina this early in the season versus like Week 12, it's a little bit different in terms of a quick turnaround to see people that I just left – friends and people that mean a lot to me as far as my career and lifelong friendships that I was able to build.

"That part is pretty cool. That said, it's a business and we've got a job to do."

While McDermott was more established when he started his stint with the Panthers, having served as the Eagles' defensive coordinator for two seasons before coming to Carolina, Beane started out in 1998 as a recent college graduate working in the communications department. He spent the past two seasons as Carolina's assistant general manager.

"It will definitely be (strange). I'm an emotional guy, but I'll try to just focus on the task at hand," Beane said. "Obviously it will be great to see people. It's a people business, and those relationships – no matter where I head the rest of my life, the rest of my journey – that's where it all started for me. There's always a special place in my heart for Carolina, not only the Panthers but both North and South Carolina.

"I'm sure there will be a lot of weird emotions, but at the end of the day we have a task. We're going down there to try to win a football game."

Beane, a lifelong North Carolina resident who grew up an hour's drive east of Charlotte, said he plans to have dinner with his parents after the Bills arrive Saturday before catching up with a few of his former Panthers brethren. Beane had risen to Panthers director of football operations when, in 2012, Owner/Founder Jerry Richardson gave him the opportunity to serve as interim general manager.

"I wouldn't be here without Mr. Richardson. He gave me an opportunity that a lot of people probably would have never even considered, and I owe him more than I can ever repay him. I owe that organization everything as far as the opportunity I have in Buffalo," Beane said. "My voice cracks a little bit when I talk about how appreciative I am."

McDermott never lacks for emotion. On a conference call with Panthers media Wednesday, the excitement in his voice picked up when asked about his time with defensive leaders Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis. He and Beane have brought some familiar faces to Buffalo like running back Mike Tolbert, quarterback Joe Webb and cornerback Leonard Johnson, but those relationships don't date as far back as the one with Panthers head coach Ron Rivera. The two were on the same staff in Philadelphia from 1999-2003, and McDermott was one of Rivera's first hires after he got his first head coaching job in 2011.

"I spent a lot of time preparing for this, and I had great teachers in Ron Rivera and Andy Reid – two of my biggest mentors," McDermott said. "I'm looking forward to seeing Ron before the game, but I don't think we'll do much communicating between now and then. I have incredible amount of respect for Ron as a man and as a coach.

"I'll be focused and our players will be focused, but I am looking forward to seeing some people down there when I get some time. I'm looking forward to seeing the coaches I worked with for so long and the players and people in the building."