Packers Rumors: Brian Gutekunst to Interview for Bills GM

Following the firing of Bills GM Doug Whaley immediately after the NFL Draft, Buffalo will interview Packers director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst.

What do we know about Brian Gutekunst?

Brian Gutekunst is the son of John Gutekunst, who was the head coach for the Minnesota Golden Gophers from 1986-1991. A teenager at the time, Brian absorbed everything he could in Minneapolis and spent his time playing football, thinking about football, and dreaming of coaching football.

After his playing career was cut short at UW-La Crosse in 1994, Gutekunst turned his attention to the front office. While pursuing a degree in sports management, he beat over 300 applicants for a position as an intern in the Packers front office as a 23-year-old in 1997.

There, he worked with the Packers player personnel staff -- director of player personnel Ted Thompson, director of pro personnel Reggie McKenzie, and director of college scouting John Dorsey.

Gutekunst worked his way up the Packers’ scouting ranks, and was promoted in 2012 to director of college scouting.

In January 2015, the Philadelphia Eagles requested permission from the Packers to interview Gutekunst for a “major front office position” after head coach Chip Kelly was also named head of football operations. Gutekunst was denied permission to interview.

One year later in January 2016, the Tennessee Titans hired Jon Robinson as general manager and requested permission from the Packers to interview Gutekunst for their director of player personnel. Gutekunst was denied permission to interview.

Four months ago in January 2017, Gutekunst interviewed for the open general manager job in San Francisco. The 49ers ultimately hired former safety and broadcaster John Lynch, but Gutekunst received a promotion to director of player personnel shortly after interviewing.

The 2017-2018 season will mark his 19th season with the Packers.

Buffalo’s situation is… interesting

If you as a Packers fan feel frustration or anger about Ted Thompson, be thankful you’re not a fan of the Buffalo Bills.

After last season, the Bills fired head coach Rex Ryan and hired Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott. A power struggle quickly emerged, as McDermott was reportedly taking players off of general manager Doug Whaley’s board prior to the draft.

Whaley and the entire Bills front office was fired on May 1.  

The Buffalo Bills were one of the most successful pro sports teams in the 1990’s, but are now in the midst of a 17-year playoff drought, the longest active streak across the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL.

Now, whoever enters Buffalo’s general manager post will be expected to share decision making duties with McDermott. McDermott has already made a large impact in his short time with the Bills, removing video games and a pool table from the locker room in March.

Will Gutekunst stay with the Packers or go to the Bills?

Bleacher Report’s Ty Dunne, who spent time as a beat writer for both the Packers and Bills, thinks Gutekunst should be Buffalo’s “number one choice.”

As it stands today, the Bills seem set to hire Carolina assistant general manager Brandon Beane. Beane will interview for the second time later this week. The move would make sense, given McDermott came from the Panthers organization.

Gutekunst interviewing for the position may offer some insight into Packers front office executive Eliot Wolf’s status, too. If Buffalo was interested in Gutekunst, it’s likely they also may have desired to speak with Wolf.

Both Wolf and Gutekunst received new contracts a few months ago after interviewing for the 49ers position, and have been promised to be a big part of the Packers front office moving forward.

However, there can only be one general manager. If it is Wolf who is the “general manager in waiting,” as many have speculated, then Gutekunst may be beginning to explore outside opportunities to make his own mark on a team as a general manager.