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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: New champion

   Sept. 6, 1992 -- James Loften didn't spend a majority of his NFL career as a Buffalo Bill, but he had some great moments during his stay here. One came in 1992, when he passed Steve Largent to break the NFL record for receiving yards at 13,089.

   Lofton was merely keeping the record warm for Jerry Rice, but that doesn't diminish the accomplishment. Mark Gaughan had the story for The News:

   James Lofton downplayed the record all week.

    But after breaking it in the Buffalo Bills' season-opener Sunday, he had to acknowledge he was struck by the significance of becoming the NFL's all-time leader for receiving yards."Words really don't describe it," Lofton said. "I'm really happy. . . . It was neat to get it, and to get it in front of this crowd in the home opener was fantastic."

    Lofton's six receptions for 56 yards in the 40-7 rout of the Los Angeles Rams gave him 13,091 career receiving yards, surpassing Steve Largent's mark of 13,089.

    Lofton was afraid a large contingent of family and friends he had brought to the game were going to go home without seeing the milestone. Through three quarters he had just one catch for 5 yards. In the fourth quarter, the Bills threw to him nine times in a 16-play stretch to get the 50 yards he needed.

    "I had about 100 people come into town for the game this weekend, friends from elementary school, high school, college, former college teammates, former teammates from when I was with the Raiders and Packers, friends and relatives," the 36-year-old Lofton said. "I'm sitting there thinking, I can't pay for all these people to go to San Francisco (next week). The way it turned out it couldn't have been more fitting. I mean, I really had to work for it."

    The record came on a 4-yard pass from Frank Reich with 2:15 left.

    Lofton now has 705 career catches, which ranks fourth on the all-time list.

---Budd Bailey

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