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Rex’s Bills among eight teams that can be forced to do Hard Knocks

The Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan speaks on stage during an NFL fan rally on Regent Street, in London, Saturday Oct. 24, 2015. The Buffalo Bills will play the Jacksonville Jaguars in an NFL football game at London’s Wembley stadium on Sunday. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)


In the history of Hard Knocks, the HBO/NFL Films training camp reality show, there’s been no bigger star than Rex Ryan. And he may be back this summer.

Ryan’s Bills are among the eight teams that can be forced to do Hard Knocks this year. Given how entertaining Ryan was as the Jets’ head coach on Hard Knocks, famously dropping F-bombs and craving snacks, it seems likely that HBO will push hard to have the Bills on the show in 2016.

Under NFL rules, if no team volunteers for Hard Knocks, a team can be forced to do it if that team doesn’t have a new head coach, hasn’t been to the playoffs in the last two years, and hasn’t been on Hard Knocks in the last 10 years. The teams that qualify to be forced to do the show are the Bills, Bears, Jaguars, Buccaneers, Raiders, Chargers, Rams and Saints, assuming none of those teams makes a surprise coaching change. Of that group, the Bills would surely provide the most entertaining training camp atmosphere.

If the Bills aren’t the team chosen, the Bears would be a strong choice as representatives of a large media market with a big fan base. But the strongest choice might be whichever team among the Raiders, Chargers and Rams moves to Los Angeles. The NFL will surely want to pour a lot of marketing resources into that team, and Hard Knocks is the best way to attract fan attention in training camp.

So it’s possible that Hard Knocks could be going to the Windy City or Hollywood. But the most entertaining choice would be Buffalo.