Bills give Gailey second chance as a head coach

Chan Gailey was hired by the Buffalo Bills on Tuesday, getting a second chance to prove himself as a head coach and inheriting a team that has missed the playoffs for 10 straight years.

Gailey was introduced by general manager Buddy Nix at a new conference which ended a two-month search to replace Dick Jauron, who was fired in November. Gailey takes over a team that finished 6-10 and becomes the Bills’ fifth coach since Marv Levy retired after the 1997 season.

Gailey has spent 15 of his 38 years of coaching in the NFL. In his two years coaching the Dallas Cowboys, he went 18-14 and led the team to consecutive playoff appearances — both losses. He was dismissed after the 1999 season, and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has since acknowledged his mistake in firing Gailey.

The 58-year-old Gailey acknowledged he didn’t know if he’d get another opportunity to be an NFL head coach again.

“If you sit there and say you lose confidence in yourself, no you don’t. But then you see opportunities go by. And you hope that your body of work will speak for itself,” Gailey said.

Gailey has been out of football since he was removed as the Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive coordinator in August, two weeks before the season opener. He was entering his second season with Kansas City after a six-year stretch as Georgia Tech’s head coach, during which he went 44-33 before being fired in 2007.

Gailey has led college and pro teams, including a two-year stint as coach of the World League of American Football Birmingham Fire in 1991-92. He also coached Troy State (1983-84) and Samford (1993).

53 enter draft early

A record-tying 53 players declared for early entry in the NFL draft, but that number was short of most projections.

Among the underclassmen who will be in the draft are Southern California running back Joe McKnight, Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen and wide receiver Golden Tate, Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain and Mississippi quarterback Jevan Snead.

With the NFL and the players union in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement and the potential for a rookie wage scale being implemented, more juniors were expected to declare for this year’s draft.

Extra points

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will pick up head coach Wade Phillips’ contract option for the 2010 season. … Former San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Nolan has been hired as the Miami Dolphins’ defensive coordinator. … Running back Deuce McAllister retired, ending an injury-plagued eight-year career in which he rewrote the New Orleans Saints’ rushing records. … Oakland Raiders long snapper Jon Condo was added to the AFC Pro Bowl roster. … Washington Redskins guard Chad Rinehart was arrested on public intoxication charges in Iowa after he pulled on a locked door at a pizza restaurant.