I spoke briefly with former Bills general manager Bill Polian this afternoon during a break from his TV duties about the passing of owner Ralph Wilson. Polian, who was fired by Wilson after the 1992 season and reconciled over the years, said Buffalo owes Ralph a debt of gratitude.
"Obviously, he brought the Bills to Buffalo," Polian said, "and during my time he had more than a few
opportunities to move it to what many would consider greener pastures. He was a man of his word throughout his life. He gave his word that he not leave Buffalo in his lifetime and he kept that word. That alone was probably enough for induction into the Hall of Fame.
"During my time as general manager, we received a very lucrative offer for the rights to Jim Kelly when he was still property of the USFL," Polian said. "I took it to Mr. Wilson and spelled it out. He kind of
looked at me with a little glint in his eye, but one of firm resolve, and said, 'We're going to sign Jim Kelly.' I said, 'This is going to be probably be the richest contract in football history. He said, 'Sign him.' That tells you how he felt about Buffalo and the Bills."
- Mark Gaughan's obituary of Ralph Wilson
- What is next for the Bills' franchise
- Jerry Sullivan’s instant reaction to news of Ralph Wilson’s death
- Photo gallery -- Wilson through the years
- Timeline: Key developments in Wilson’s life
From the archives:
- Mark Gaughan’s profile of Ralph Wilson before his Hall of Fame induction
- Jerry Sullivan’s August 2009 column on Wilson
- Mark Gaughan’s article about the inductions of Wilson, Bruce Smith
- Larry Felser’s column about Wilson getting his due