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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: A surprise departure

     December 19, 2000 -- The departure of Bill Polian as Bills' general manager in the midst of the team's Super Bowl run in the 1990's was a shocker. The exit of his successor, John Butler, wasn't far behind.

     Butler's contract only had a couple of months left when he started negotiations with owner Ralph Wilson. Butler realized he had a good reputation within the National Football League community and wanted full market value. Wilson wanted a quick settlement so that the offseason business could start.

     Wilson made some offers, but didn't get any answers.

     "I could never get anything definitive from him as to what his intentions were." the Bills' owner said.

     Butler ended up with the San Diego Chargers, and died of lymphoma in 2003. The Bills hired Tom Donahoe to replace him. They haven't made the playoffs since he left.

--- Budd Bailey

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