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Larry Legend at a glance

Born: In Buffalo, April 5, 1933.

High school: Canisius High School, class of '51 . . . pulling guard on Crusader team which annually thumped St. Joe's . . . may have been small but was very slow.

College: Canisius College, Class of 1955 . . . Transcript mysteriously disappeared and as a result was inducted into Griffins' Distinguished Alumni elite in 1983.

Career: Entered news business as Courier Express copy boy in 1951. He got his job the old fashioned way, through a pal. Whipper Whelan. Whipper, president of the RPAC (a collection of rounders who drank at the Royal Pheasant on Forest Avenue), also got jobs for classmates Frank Drea and Gene Jankowski. Drea later won the Heywood Broun award as labor reporter for old Toronto Telegram and years later became chairman of the Ontario Racing Commission; Whelan himself became the first editor of the Washington Times and later publisher of the Sacramento Bee; Jankowski became president of CBS-TV. Felser was the only one who didn't go straight.

First reporting job: Third-string police reporter for Courier. When job opened in sports department, asked for transfer and got it. That was in 1953.

Military: Two years in U.S. Army Signal Corps. Complete waste of time.

1960: Courier assigned him to be beat reporter on newly-created Bills of AFL.

1963: Hired by Buffalo Evening News through clandestine negotiations between the paper's late editor, Paul Neville, and Felser in Rob Roy's, a neighborhood pub at Harlem and Main in Neville's Snyder neighborhood. The negotiations were one-sided, on Neville's side, and went something like this: "We can't give you any more money, but you'll be working days and that should open up your social life." It did. My pursuit of Beverly shifted into high gear.

April 23, 1966: Married Beverly.

April 2, 1967: Beverly gave birth to Ellen.

April 9, 1969: Beverly gave birth to Niecy.

February, 1977: The Blizzard of '77 was hanging around, cabin fever set in and Felser, as the only Bills' beat man on a six-day a week paper, had hordes of compensation time awaiting him. He packed up his family, including his mother-in-law, and set out for Treasure Island, Fla. A week into the vacation, a phone call from Buffalo informed him 1.) his newspaper had been sold to some guy named Buffet from Nebraska; 2.) Sports columnist Steve Weller, exasperated by walking around fetlock deep in snow to get to his rehab sessions for a very bad heart, quit the news and headed for the Fort Lauderdale paper.

The rest of 1977: After the longest audition in the history of the newspaper business, Felser received permanent status as the sports columnist. It was not quite the Queen's New Year's Honors List. Woody Wardlow, then co-managing editor with Murray Light (or as Ray Hill used to call them, "Romulus and Remus,") informed me, "You have the job. I didn't want to do this. You're no Weller. But my wife Rosemary likes you."

Felser thinks quickly enough to reply, "Rosemary always did have better taste than you."

The rest is history.

Hobbies: Freelancing for mortgage payments. Wrote a national column in Sporting News for 24 years, including 13 years before he became Buffalo News columnist; still writing AFC portion of Street & Smith's football annual, which he began doing in 1964. S&S magazine is world's oldest such publication; work appeared in Sports Illustrated, Columbia, Reader's Digest, True and a bunch of others which have since gone out of business. Also wrote three kids' sports books and contributed to eight anthologies. Work appeared in "Best Sports Stories in North America."

In 1983 became youngest winner of Dick McCann award (entry into the Pro Football Hall of Fame), presented by Pro Football Writers of America. Also served two terms as President of PFWA.

2000: Inducted into WNY sports Hall of Fame.

2001: Covers 35th consecutive Super Bowl, still answering questions such as "what was it like covering all those slow white guys?"

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