Dressed for success: Bills enshrinees - The Buffalo News

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Dressed for success: Bills enshrinees

Joe Delamielleure

Elite guard joined up with the “Electric Company” his rookie season and helped pave the way for O.J. Simpson’s historic 2,003-yard season of 1973. Started every game during his seven seasons with the Bills, a remarkable show of durability. Named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the ’70s.

Buffalo years: 1973-79, 1985

Pro Bowls: Six

HOF induction: 2003

Jim Kelly

Greatest QB in franchise history led the parade of Bills “Glory Days” players into Canton. Epitomized the mental toughness of those teams with his “linebacker’s mentality,” a trait that remains prominent during his ongoing battle against cancer.

Buffalo years: 1986-96

Pro Bowls: Five

HOF induction: 2002

Marv Levy

Bounced around the NFL, the USFL and the CFL before arriving in Buffalo during the 1986 season. The Bills won the AFC East six times and advanced to four Super Bowls during his tenure. Among his many memorable quips: “Where would you rather be than right here, right now?”

Buffalo years: 1986-97

Honors: Three-time AFC Coach of Year, one-time NFL Coach of Year

HOF induction: 2001

James Lofton

Arrived in Buffalo after spending nine seasons in Green Bay and two in Oakland. There was plenty left in the tank. Averaged at least 18.8 yards per catch in three of his four seasons here and topped 1,000 receiving yards for the sixth time in his career in 1991.

Buffalo years: 1989-92

Pro Bowls: Eight

HOF induction: 2003

Andre Reed

Fourth-round draft pick out of Kutztown State used a relentless work ethic to become one of the more prolific receivers in NFL history before his retirement after the 2000 season. Teamed with Jim Kelly for 665 pass connections, the most by any QB-WR duo at the time.

Buffalo years: 1985-2000

Pro Bowls: Seven

HOF induction: 2014

Billy Shaw

Became the first AFL-only player elected to the Hall of Fame following a stellar career at guard that began in the franchise’s second season. Played an integral role on the 1964 and ’65 AFL championship teams that punished opponents on the ground.

Buffalo years: 1961-69

Pro Bowls: Eight

HOF induction: 1999

O.J. Simpson

The first Bill elected to Canton confounded opponents with his speed and elusiveness while rushing for more than 11,000 yards over 11 NFL seasons. Became the first back to break 2,000-yard barrier (2,003) in 1973, but the 14-game 1975 season astounds: 1,817 yards rushing and 23 TDs, 16 of them on the ground.

Buffalo years: 1969-77

Pro Bowls: Six

HOF induction: 1985

Bruce Smith

The No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft dominated opponents from Day One, earning the NFLPA’s Defensive Rookie of the Year Award and retiring 19 years later as the league’s all-time sack leader. A four-time AFC and two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

Buffalo years: 1985-99

Pro Bowls: 11

HOF induction: 2009

Thurman Thomas

Dual-threat running back arrived with a chip on his shoulder after slipping to second round of NFL draft. Opponents paid dearly for the oversight as he made the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the ’90s, was NFL’s 1991 MVP and produced eight 1,000-yard seasons.

Buffalo years: 1988-99

Pro Bowls: Five

HOF induction: 2007

Ralph C. Wilson Jr.

Late owner was called “the conscience” of the NFL as he advocated for the greater good and stood against franchise relocation. Major player in the AFL-NFL merger talks that vaulted the NFL into a dominant entity.

Years with Bills: 1960-2014

Honors: Proud member of “The Foolish Club,” the AFL’s founding members

HOF Induction: 2009

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