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25 best players with ties to Western New York who did not play for the Bills

A number of football players with ties to Western New York have gone on to play for the Buffalo Bills. But many have not.

Here are the 25 "best who got away."

This list was compiled through Buffalo News research in consultation with John Boutet, the site and exhibit chairman for the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame, and Dick Gallagher, who coordinates the annual Western New York High School Football Awards Banquet.

Khalil Mack among Western New York 'greats who got away'


Bill Bergey, linebacker

Pine Valley Central

Second-round pick out of Arkansas State was named to five Pro Bowls and twice named first-team All-Pro by The Associated Press during his 12-year pro career, from 1969-80, with the Cincinnati Bengals and Philadelphia Eagles. He played in Super Bowl XV.

Don Bosseler, fullback


Drafted ninth overall out of Miami, Bosseler started 76 of 96 games for the Washington Redskins during an eight-year career from 1957-64 that began before the Bills were founded. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 1959 and inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1990.

Jim Burt, nose tackle

Orchard Park

A two-time Super Bowl champion with the New York Giants (XXI) and San Francisco 49ers (XXIV) after going undrafted out of Miami. He played in the NFL for 11 seasons, from 1981-91, starting 78 of 118 games, and was named to the Pro Bowl in 1986.

Jim Dombrowski, guard/tackle

Williamsville South

Dombrowski was selected sixth overall out of Virginia, the highest selection for a Western New York native. He started 137 of 151 games for the New Orleans Saints during an 11-year career from 1986-96. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008.

Joe Ehrmann, defensive tackle


Drafted 10th overall out of Syracuse, Ehrmann played 10 seasons with the Baltimore Colts and Detroit Lions from 1973-82. He started 76 of 121 games and was named to the Pro Bowl in 1976.

Rob Gronkowski, tight end

Williamsville North

A two-time Super Bowl champion, five-time Pro Bowler and four-time first-team All-Pro with the New England Patriots after being drafted out of Arizona in the second round in 2010. Gronk was named the 2014 NFL Comeback Player of the Year after a series of arm, back and knee surgeries. He attended Williamsville North but spent his senior year at Woodland Hills near Pittsburgh.

Marv Hubbard, fullback


A three-time Pro Bowler who played in three consecutive AFC Championship Games and was a member of the Super Bowl XI champion Oakland Raiders. Drafted in the AFL with an 11th-round pick out of Colgate, Hubbard started 59 of 103 games over eight pro seasons from 1968-77, finishing his career with 13 games for the Detroit Lions.

Ron Jaworski, quarterback


Helped lead the Philadelphia Eagles to Super Bowl XV and played 15 NFL seasons after being drafted in the second round out of Youngstown State by the Los Angeles Rams in 1973. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 1980.

Daryl Johnston, fullback


A three-time Super Bowl champion, "Moose" played his entire 11-year pro career with the Dallas Cowboys after being drafted with a second-round pick out of Syracuse in 1989. He started 122 of 151 career games and was named to two Pro Bowls.

Khalil Mack, outside linebacker

University at Buffalo

A three-time Pro Bowler, two-time first-team All-Pro and the 2016 AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Mack, originally from Florida, was drafted out of UB with the fifth overall pick by the Oakland Raiders in 2014. He was traded to the Chicago Bears this season for a package that included two first-round picks.

Don Majkowski, quarterback


The Green Bay Packers’ quarterback before Brett Favre, the "Majik Man" led the NFL with 4,318 passing yards and was named to the Pro Bowl in 1989. He played 10 pro seasons after being drafted out of Virginia with a 10th-round pick in 1987.

Mark Murphy, safety

Clarence Central

Reached two Super Bowls, winning one, as a member of the Washington Redskins and won a second Super Bowl in his current role as president and CEO of the Green Bay Packers. Murphy was undrafted out of Colgate but played for eight seasons, from 1977-84. He led the NFL with nine interceptions in 1983, when he was named to the Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro.

Vaughn Parker, tackle

St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute

Played 10 seasons with the San Diego Chargers, including in Super Bowl XXIX as a rookie, after being drafted out of UCLA with a second-round pick in 1994. Parker started 107 of 122 games, finishing his career with one game with the Washington Redskins in 2004.

Gerry Philbin, defensive end

University at Buffalo

The Rhode Island native won Super Bowl III with the New York Jets after being selected out of UB with the 19th overall pick in the third round of the 1964 AFL draft. He also was selected by the Detroit Lions in the third round (33rd overall) in the NFL draft in 1964. Philbin played 11 pro seasons, including a year with the Philadelphia Eagles and in the short-lived World Football League, and was twice named to the Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro. He’s a member of the AFL All-Time Team and Jets Ring of Honor.

Dave Wohlabaugh, center

Frontier Central

Started all 128 regular-season games he appeared in over nine NFL seasons after being drafted out of Syracuse with a fourth-round pick by the New England Patriots in 1995. Wohlabaugh played in Super Bowl XXI with the Patriots before the Cleveland Browns signed him to a seven-year, $26.25 million contract in 1999, then the richest for a center in league history.


Chuck Crist, safety


Played college basketball at Penn State, rather than switch from quarterback to defensive back. He relented to break into the NFL as an undrafted free agent and started 66 of 92 games over seven seasons from 1972-78 with the New York Giants, New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers.

Brett Kern, punter

Grand Island

Undrafted free agent out of Toledo has played 11 NFL seasons with the Denver Broncos and Tennessee Titans and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2017.

Mike Mamula, defensive end


Drafted with the seventh overall pick by the Philadelphia Eagles out of Boston College in 1995 after a spectacular performance at the NFL Scouting Combine. Mamula started 64 of 77 games over five pro seasons.

Phil McConkey, wide receiver


Super Bowl XXI champion with the New York Giants, McConkey caught a deflected touchdown pass and set up another score by catching a 44-yard flea flicker in the victory. He played six NFL seasons from 1984-89 after serving five years in the Navy.

Jim McCusker, defensive tackle


Won the 1960 NFL championship with the Philadelphia Eagles. McCusker played seven pro seasons after being drafted out of Pittsburgh in the second round, 14th overall, by the Chicago Cardinals in 1958.

James Starks, running back

Niagara Falls, University at Buffalo

Super Bowl XLV champion with the Green Bay Packers, who made him a sixth-round pick out of UB in 2010. Starks played seven NFL seasons.

Justin Strzelczyk, tackle

West Seneca West

Played in Super Bowl XXX and for nine seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1990-98, after being drafted with an 11th-round pick out of Maine. He started 75 of 133 career regular season games. Strzelczyk died in a car crash in 2004 and was posthumously diagnosed with CTE. He was 36.

Bert Weidner, guard/center


Started 39 of 81 games in six seasons with the Miami Dolphins after being drafted out of Kent State with an 11th-round pick in 1989.

Craig Wolfley, guard

Orchard Park

Started 104 games over 12 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings after being drafted out of Syracuse with a fifth-round pick in 1980.

Ron Wolfley, fullback

Orchard Park, Frontier Central

Four-time Pro Bowler for his special teams prowess, Wolfley played 10 NFL seasons after being drafted out of West Virginia with a fourth-round pick by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1985.

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