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Former Bills chief scout Norm Pollom, 93, dies in California

Norm Pollom, who headed the scouting staff which helped build the Buffalo Bills of the team's Super Bowl Era, died Monday at his home in Palm Desert, Calif. He was 93.

His wife, Bonnie, posted this message on Facebook Tuesday:

"All Norm’s friends: I wanted to let you know that Norm, my beloved, passed away last night. He did it his way, eating a burger, drinking a scotch, and watching the Alabama-Clemson game.

"Norm’s daughters and I plan a celebration of life in the near future, we will keep you informed, no need to call."

Pollom was brought to the Bills in 1978 by new head coach Chuck Knox from the Los Angeles Rams. Pollom had led the Rams' scouting staff that built the Los Angeles teams that won seven straight NFL Western Division championships from 1973-79.

With the Bills, he rebuilt the Buffalo scouting staff, hiring George "Chink" Sengel, Bob Ryan, Dave Smith and A.J. Smith, who stayed with the team until their retirements and uncovered much of the talent that made the Bills an AFC powerhouse.

Pollom, himself, rose to the level of vice president of player personnel. He remained with the team after Knox left in 1983 on into the years when Bill Polian became vice president of administration and general manager. Pollom was succeeded by John Butler in 1987, although he remained on staff as a national scout.

A native of Chehalis, Wash., Pollom graduated from the University of Puget Sound in the state of Washington where he played end. He coached and taught in high schools in the Pacific Northwest for seven years before joining Jim Owens' football staff at the University of Washington in 1957. In 1960 he was hired by coach John McKay at the University of Southern California to join a coaching staff that also included Don Coryell.

While in Los Angeles he became an administrator in the Palisades Verdes school district and worked for the Rams as a part-time scout. He joined the Rams full-time in 1965 and stayed with them until 1976.

Among the players the Rams drafted during his years with the team were: Tom Mack, Harold Jackson, Jack Reynolds, Isaiah Robertson, Jack Youngblood, Lawrence McCutcheon, Ron Jaworski, Bill Simpson, Dennis Harrah and Jackie Slater. Robertson, McCutcheon and Simpson later played for the Bills.

During his years as the Bills' chief scout, the team selected Hall of Famers Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith and Andre Reed as well as Jim Ritcher, Darryl Talley, Will Wolford, Jim Haslett, Fred Smerlas and Joe Cribbs.

Chris Landry, a scout and talent evaluator, had this to say about Pollom in an article published online last April titled "The Very Best Scouts in Pro Football History":

10. Norm Pollom: "Great eye for talent, he built the Rams and the Bills for Chuck Knox. He not only had a great eye but also had the guts to make tough decisions and stand up to his head coach when necessary. He drafted Greg Bell coming off an injury and subpar season and found guys like Joe Cribbs and Jim Haslett. He could quickly determine if a guy could play or not."

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