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RITCHER GOES ON WALL TODAY

Jim Ritcher will be inducted into the Buffalo Bills' Wall of Fame in a ceremony at halftime of today's game against the St. Louis Rams.

Ritcher will become the 21st member of the wall and the fifth offensive lineman to be honored. He wore No. 51 for the Bills from 1980 to 1993. He was one of the best athletes and hardest workers ever to play on the offensive line for the Bills.

Only two players -- Andre Reed and Bruce Smith -- played more seasons and in more games for the Bills than Ritcher.

A first-round draft pick out of North Carolina State in 1980, Ritcher played in 222 Bills games, counting playoffs, over 14 years. Reed and Smith played 15 years in Buffalo and totaled 242 and 237 games, respectively.

Ritcher came to the Bills as the winner of the Outland Trophy, given to the best lineman in college football. He was a relentless weightlifter and one of the strongest players on the team throughout his tenure.

His trademark was his mobility. He was brilliant pulling and trapping on running plays and used superb technique in pass blocking.

Ritcher's technique and work ethic allowed him to succeed despite a lack of bulk. Ritcher was just 238 pounds when he joined the Bills and built himself up to 270 the second half of his career.

A resident of Raleigh, N.C., Ritcher works as a pilot for American Airlines. He flies 757s and 767s, mostly on international fights.

He and his wife, Harriet, have three sons.

e-mail: mgaughan@buffnews.com

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