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Don Bosseler: From Batavia to NFL to Greater Buffalo Hall

This is the seventh in a series of profiles on the 2016 inductees into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.

Name: Don Bosseler.

Sport: Football.

Hometown: Batavia.

Born: Jan. 24, 1936.

Career overview: After playing at Batavia High School, Bosseler was a four-year starter at the University of Miami and served as a team captain. He was a first team all-American in 1956 and was named MVP of the Senior Bowl when he rushed for 187 yards. Miami was 8-1-1 during his senior year and ranked sixth in the country.

Bosseler was part of the one of the deepest NFL drafts in
1957, going ninth overall to Washington behind NFL legends Paul Hornung, Jon Arnett, John Brodie, Ron Kramer, Len Dawson and Jim Brown. Voted one of the 80 greatest players in Washington’s franchise history, he was a Pro Bowl pick in 1959 and rushed for 3,112 yards and 22 touchdowns during his eight-year NFL career.

Homesick: "In my mind one of my favorite stories was his freshman year at the University of Miami," said son, Greg Bosseler, who spoke on his father’s behalf. "He was terribly homesick to the point where one night he packed up his bags and went to the train station to go home. His roommate, another freshman fullback, called the head coach and the position coach and told them ‘Bos is on the loose!
You’ve got to go get him!’ They raced to the train depot and convinced him to come back for one more day.

"The interesting part is that his roommate was Dom Dorshimer, who was a pretty great fullback but never got much playing time behind my father. It would have been better for his career if my dad had left."

Contracts: When he was drafted in 1957, most NFL players did not have agents but negotiated their own contracts. Before going to Washington to sign his contract, he called the guys who were drafted ahead of him. "He called Paul Hornung and said, ‘Paul, what did you sign for?’ It was something like $15,000 and a $5,000 signing bonus," his son, Greg, said. "He called Jim Brown and asked him and it was a little less, so he slotted himself in to where he thought he’d fall as the ninth pick. When he got to D.C. he signed for $10,000 and a $1,000 bonus that he spent back at the university on a party for his friends."

Quiet times: His son, Greg, said that Don didn’t talk much about his football days. "He was a very humble, modest guy," Greg said. "He was old-school football. You had to press him to tell stories but when he told them, they were great.

"Growing up, as I’d watch games with him, he’d remind me when someone would showboat or excessively celebrate, that ‘back in my day, you’d get a punch in the mouth if you did something like that.’ He was tough but respectful."

Post-career: Bosseler’s final season of playing was 1964. In 1966, the first year of the Miami Dolphins franchise, he did color commentary for their games. But he was married with a young family and didn’t particularly enjoy the travel. That lasted one season. He went on join Prudential Bache in Miami and became a vice-president.

Honors: In 1990, Bosseler was inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame. In 1999 he was inducted to Miami’s Ring of Honor and in 2000 went into the Florida Sports Hall of Fame.

The GBSHOF induction dinner is Oct. 6 at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. Tickets can be purchased at gbshof.com

email: amoritz@buffnews.com

 

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