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Custom Billy Shaw Jersey Large

Ralph C. Wilson Jr.’s legacy has been honored in a variety of ways since the 2014 passing of the Buffalo Bills’ founder and original owner.

Now, you can add a golf tournament.

The Bills Alumni Foundation will hold what is being billed as the first Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Memorial Golf Classic at 9 a.m. on July 27, at Diamond Hawk Golf Course in Cheektowaga, foundation president and former Bills standout defensive back Booker Edgerson announced.

The tournament will highlight the organization’s annual weekend of events, the first of which is a Buffalo Gridiron Greats VIP Gala from 6-10 p.m. on Friday, July 26 at the Buffalo Grand Hotel.

Both events are open to the public. Tickets, sponsorships and information can be obtained by calling JRC Promotions at 694-7867 or by visiting buffalobillsalumni.com.

“The entire purpose of the Buffalo Bills Alumni Weekend is to raise funds so that we can support local charities that depend on our donation to their organization,” Edgerson said in a press release. According to the release, the Bills Alumni Foundation has given more than $2.5 million to local Western New York charities over the past 20 years.

“We are honored that Mary Wilson (Ralph C. Wilson Jr.’s widow) is allowing us this great privilege and the fact that she will be golfing in the tournament and also attending the VIP Gala,” Edgerson said.

Among the others who are expected to be a part of the foundation’s weekend of events are Pro Football Hall of Fame members Bill Polian, Joe DeLamielleure and Billy Shaw, along with Steve Tasker, Fred Jackson, Jerry Butler, Joe Cribbs, Reggie McKenzie, Lou Piccone and Daryle Lamonica.

Former Buffalo Sabres great Rene Robert and Braves star Ernie DiGregorio are also expected to participate.

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Custom Ben Williams Jersey Large

DE Ben Williams (1976-1986) | 6’3″, 251 lbs.

Notable Achievements: 1982 Pro Bowl, 1980-1982 UPI 2nd team All-Conference

Robert Jerry “Ben” Williams was born September 1, 1954 in Yazoo City, Mississippi. After a decorated career at the University of Mississippi both on and off the field, the Bills selected “Gentle Ben” in the third round of the 1976 draft with the No. 78 overall pick. Williams had a long and steady career with the Bills that spanned 10 seasons and 147 games; he started at left defensive end for all but seven of those games. Williams helped provide strong run support and pass rush ability to the “Bermuda Triangle” defense that helped the team exorcise their demons of the 1970’s by making the playoffs in both 1980 and 1981. He was an underrated stalwart that I had originally overlooked for inclusion in this list, but he is definitely deserving.

Career Highlights
Before getting into Ben Williams’ pro career, it’s worth understanding where he came from. Simply put, Williams was a trailblazer at Ole Miss, setting the stage for future generations of student-athletes at that school. He played for the Rebels from 1972-1975, earning All-SEC honors three times and All-American status in 1975, but his biggest contribution was of more historical significance. Williams was the first African-American football player for Ole Miss, the first to earn All-SEC honors, and the first African-American chosen by the student body as Colonel Reb, the University’s highest elective honor. He was also the first African-American from Ole Miss to be inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. He helped establish the Robert “Ben” Williams Minority Scholarship at the school by endowing the scholarship. It’s easy to see why he was able to become such a strong, dependable presence in Buffalo.

Once Williams reached Buffalo, he was a rock for 10 seasons, entering the starting lineup as a rookie and remaining there until he retired prior to the 1986 season. His career was probably best described as steady and unspectacular, yet productive. He credited his longevity in Buffalo with the simple explanation of good health: “I would attribute that to probably playing injury-free. As you know, I didn’t have any serious injuries during the time that I played in Buffalo. I think I only missed two games my entire career in Buffalo.”

Early on, Williams was best known for his run stuffing abilities, utilizing his athleticism to ward off blockers. Only after the team added NT Fred Smerlas and switched to the 3-4 in 1979 did Williams become a pass rushing stud. Aided by the attention afforded to the “Bermuda Triangle” of Smerlas and linebackers Jim Haslett and Shane Nelson, Williams went on to have a strong run of 10+ sack seasons.

Even though the sack wasn’t an official stat until 1980, Williams ended up with a career total of 45.5, retiring as the franchise leader at the time. Williams had a pair of monster seasons in 1980 and 1981, helping the defense to No. 1 and No. 7 rankins respectively. The team would also win the division in 1980 for the first time since 1966, and earned a Wild Card berth in 1981. Williams finished the 1980 season with 11 sacks and 63 total tackles. The following year he added 10.5 sacks and 82 tackles. Much to the chagrin of his teammates, he was snubbed by the players and coaches around the league and wasn’t awarded with a Pro Bowl invite. He finally earned that due in the strike shortened 1982 season, when he finished with 46 tackles and 4 sacks. He followed that up with another monster season in 1983, registering 10 sacks and an unheard of 103 tackles. Once again, he was snubbed for the Pro Bowl. He played for two more seasons, but never had the same type of production he had in that four year stretch.

Williams was best known for his hard-working personality and understated approach to the game. He studied film non-stop, which was probably not the norm in those days for players, and really utilized his smarts to beat opponents. Many believe his humble, low-key approach to the game is why he didn’t get the Pro Bowl recognition he likely deserved. His retirement was a microcosm of his understated, no nonsense career. He simply walked into Coach Hank Bullough’s office during training camp and told him he was retiring. Ironically, he retired the same day that QB Jim Kelly arrived to “save” the Bills. Even though I never saw Ben Williams play, his approach to the game would have more than earned my respect and admiration. Plus, it’s hard not to appreciate all those sacks he accumulated.

Best Moment
As someone who never saw him play and with little information about him available on the interwebs, it’s hard to determine what his best moment was. Chris Brown suggests that it came on December 13, 1981 when Williams took New England QB Matt Cavanaugh down in the end zone for a safety, enabling the Bills to go on to win 19-10. Sounds good to me.

Other Honors
Member of Buffalo Bills’ Silver Anniversary Team
The University of Mississippi’s M-Club Hall of Fame
Recipient of the Ralph L. Wilson Leadership Award

Parting Shots
Ben Williams may not be as easily recalled as some of his more well-known teammates are (Fred Smerlas, Jim Haslett, Joe Ferguson, etc), but he was as good as they came. If the sack numbers had been kept his entire career, he’d likely be second or third on the franchise’s all-time list. As it is, his 45.5 careers sacks unofficially ranks fifth in team history. A couple more Pro Bowl selections would have really elevated him on this list.

Joe DeLamielleure on Williams:

“He was a great leader and great player. He had extremely long arms. He was like a poor man’s Elvin Bethea, and he was a Hall of Famer. Just a step below that.”

Not too shabby considering Bethea was an 8-time Pro Bowler and Hall of Famer.

Career Stats
45.5 career sacks (No. 5 in franchise history)
147 games played, 140 starts

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Custom Andre Reed Jersey Large

Hypothetical Time: Imagine you, by the power vested in you by a divine power, were capable of bedding the most beautiful people in popular culture–Gal Gadot, Margot Robbie, Beyonce, Gary Busey.

Now imagine that as soon as the lights go out and your tighty whiteys come off, your sex organs shut down faster than an American Eagle Outfitters in Tehran. Goes irredeemably limp. Your brain absolutely incapable of talking any sense into it.

Busey leaves disappointed.

Do you:

A.) Take pride in the fact that you were able to charm Hollywood royalty enough for the opportunity for insertion.
B.) Suffer endlessly knowing that you squandered all your opportunities and whiffed on everlasting glory.

The ultimate dilemma. I don’t even know if there’s a right answer, but I know what Andre Reed’s answer is: Option A.

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For those who need a quick refresher: the Buffalo Bills became (and still is) the only NFL team to appear in four straight Super Bowls in the early 90s. They are also the only team to ever lose four straight Super Bowls, with the later two getting brutalized by the Cowboys by a combined score of 82-30.

Keep in mind, Andre posted this HOURS after the Bills were bounced from the Wild Card by the Texans after being up 9 points.

No disrespect to Andre Reed–who is a Hall of Famer, a legend, and a man who does good work at the Andre Reed Foundation–but as the youths say, “this ain’t it.” We’ll chalk this up to a loose.

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Before I let unfulfilled people on Twitter slander the Reed’s great name, let’s remember how good he was.

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Custom Al Bemiller Jersey Large

HERNDON, Va. – Ron McDole doesn’t dress up for Halloween anymore. He’s 80, after all. But his daughter says he still enjoys the holiday.

“Of course he does,” Tammy McDole says. “He eats all the candy.”

Some of her father’s fondest memories from the Buffalo Bills glory days of the 1960s are of Halloween costume parties. He devotes a chapter to these monster mashes in his 2018 book, “The Dancing Bear: My 18 Years in the Trenches of the AFL and NFL.”

McDole got the Dancing Bear nickname after the Bills traded him to Washington following the 1970 season, when he was 31. Bills coach Johnny Rauch thought McDole was over the hill; Washington coach George Allen thought otherwise.

McDole would go on to star for Allen’s so-called Over-the-Hill Gang, a nickname borrowed from a 1969 made-for-TV western. It was bestowed on the team because Allen valued veterans and collected them like football cards. Washington’s over-the-hillers reached Super Bowl VII following the 1972 season, where they lost to the unbeaten Miami Dolphins, 14-7.

I met McDole 10 days ago at Jimmy’s Old Town Tavern, a Bills bar not far from where he settled in Northern Virginia after his playing days. McDole showed off a pair of oversized rings, one on each hand – his 1964 AFL championship ring with Buffalo and his 1972 NFC championship ring with Washington. And he gifted bar owner Jimmy Cirrito with a Bills No. 72 jersey with the name McDole lettered on the back.

He was at Jimmy’s to sign that jersey plus photos and copies of his book, which includes a chapter titled, “The Famous Buffalo Bills Halloween Parties.” Running back Joe Auer hosted the first one. (He played for the Bills in 1964 and 1965 but is most famous for inaugurating the Dolphins’ existence in 1966 by returning the opening kick of their first game for a touchdown.) Paul Maguire – punter, linebacker, funnyman – hosted after that, the book says.

And then McDole and his wife, Paula, took over as hosts, at first in a “spooky-looking” house – his words – that he owned with teammates Ernie Warlick and Al Bemiller on Grand Island and later at a huge home he owned in Eden with a widow’s watch that he’d decorate with a billowing bedsheet of a ghost plus pulsing strobe lights.

“I was the leader of the costumes, and I took my role very seriously,” McDole writes. “One year I was a ballerina” – complete with tutu and fairy wings. This Buffalo Bill weighed three bills, and in costume resembled nothing more than the elephant ballerinas from “Fantasia.”

Naturally, he always thought his costumes were best. One year he was the Great Pumpkin, but the costume was so Great – as in gargantuan – that he couldn’t get down the stairs in it. So partygoers had to go upstairs to see him.

Paul Maguire during one of the legendary Bills Halloween parties of the 1960s. (Photo courtesy of the McDole family)

Maguire came as a turtle one year with a shell made of roofing shingles. “As the night went on, Maguire got shorter and shorter from the weight of his costume,” McDole writes. “He finally took it off. But we have a hilarious photo of him sitting with his little green flippers sticking out, resting, his head poking out of his shell.”

One year offensive lineman Joe O’Donnell came as Big Bird and “looked as if he had just walked off the set of ‘Sesame Street.’ ” Another time McDole came as a big chicken. He dressed in yellow tights and his wife remembers how cars backed up on Route 75 to watch as she glued real chicken feathers on him in their backyard.

“At the party,” he says, “every time I walked up to somebody, they put their hand over their drink so my feathers wouldn’t fall in.”

McDole hated leaving Buffalo, not least because it meant the end of hosting Halloween, but the trade turned out well for him.

“I made more money,” he says. “And we had a bunch of old guys who weren’t over the hill. George hated rookies because he hated rookie mistakes. George didn’t like to teach how to block or tackle. He wanted guys who already knew how.”

McDole intercepted 12 passes in his career, a record for defensive linemen. He played in 240 regular-season games – third all-time for defensive ends, behind Jim Marshall and Bruce Smith. And he scored two TDs on interception returns and forced three safeties for 18 points in his 16 seasons.

He was joined on the Bills’ front four by Tom Day at the other end and Tom Sestak and Jim Dunaway at the tackles – celebrated stalwarts of Buffalo’s mid-’60s title teams.

“I’m the only one left,” McDole says sadly. “Everyone else has passed away. Dunaway and I were roommates and good friends. They were all great ballplayers. We had a heck of a line. We were dominating the league.”

So much so that the Bills did not allow a rushing touchdown for more than a calendar year, from Oct. 24, 1964, through Oct. 31, 1965. That covered 16 games – and two Halloweens.

Turns out team chemistry comes in all sizes, including 300-pound men in tutus and feathers.

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Custom Ed Oliver Jersey Large

1. DC Leslie Frazier likes what he sees in from Ed Oliver and Tremaine Edmunds

Leslie Frazier has been coaching since 1988. He’s been with the Bills since 2017 and will have two players born a decade after he started coaching lead his defense. On Tuesday, Frazier fielded questions from the media on Ed Oliver and Tremaine Edmunds.

Oliver has been thrusted into the spotlight after being selected with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. The Houston native is known to wreck interior offensive lines and can break through double and even triple teams.

Even without pads on, Frazier likes what he sees.

“Ed’s done a really good job up to this point,” Frazier said. “I don’t think it’s been overwhelming for him, with the meetings along with what we’re doing on the practice field. You see his quickness, you see his burst. As he continues to get a better grasp on what we’re asking him to do on defense, I think you’ll see more of his athleticism as well. Up to this point, we’ve been impressed with what we’ve seen and we’ll just keep watching his maturation over the next few months.”

Part of Oliver’s adaptations to the NFL include having to learn and pick up a new system. He also has to deal with a different locker room. Frazier is glad to have a veteran like Star Lotulelei and someone who went through it a year ago with Harrison Phillips to help him in the meeting room.

While Oliver will have the lights on him during every play, it’s going to be up to Edmunds to call out the plays and organize the defense. It was a role he was just starting to take on at the end of last season and a reason he was named the AFCs Defensive Rookie of the Month in December.
“Probably the biggest thing is the confidence,” Frazier said regarding Edmunds’ growth this offseason. “It’s extremely high now and you see it in the way he communicates, he has a much better grasp of what we want to get done on defense and what his role is within that. His ability now to communicate with no hesitation, to know exactly what we’re looking for as a coaching staff, you see the evidence in the way he’s practicing and the way he’s communicating with his teammates, which gives those guys confidence in our middle linebacker. He’s grown over the offseason and from some of the things that happened as a rookie as well.”

Frazier knows there is still work to do with his middle linebacker and in his first year he’s grown tremendously. It’s still early in the process and he’ll grow a ton more, says Frazier.
2. Tre’Davious White makes CBS Sports’ top 25 under 25 list

Based on what players have done so far, their future projection, and positional value CBS Sports writer Sean Wagner-McGough narrowed down the top 25 players in the NFL under the age of 25. This list does not include rookies.

McGough admitted to his mistake of not including Tre’Davious White on last year’s list and has amended it in the 2019 edition.

White comes in at No. 22, ahead of players like JuJu Smith-Schuster, Roquan Smith and Myles Jack.
Over the past two seasons, he’s picked off six passes, defended away 26 passes, and made 97 solo tackles. He didn’t grade out as well last season by PFF’s standards, but his overall body of work through two years makes him a worthy selection. As the Bills’ team website noted after the season, citing PFF, “White allowed just 0.68 yards per coverage snap this season, the fourth-lowest rate amongst all eligible cornerbacks.”

RELATED LINKS
How Josh Allen’s growth in year two has impressed teammates and coaches
4 things we learned from Week 2 of OTAs
Passing of Pancho casts somber mood on One Bills Drive

Sean Wagner-McGough

@seanjwagner
“Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?”

“That is the only time a man can be brave.”

I ranked the top 25 NFL players under the age of 25 and I’m going to tweet it out because I’m not a coward. https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/top-25-nfl-players-under-age-25-mahomes-wins-in-landslide-mayfield-finishes-as-third-highest-ranked-qb/ …

2
11:06 PM – May 24, 2019
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Top 25 NFL players under age 25: Mahomes wins in landslide, Mayfield finishes as third-highest…
No team has more than two players on the list, but the Browns and Chiefs both have two in the top 10

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3. Bills superfan Pancho Billa’s wish to come true at ‘Pancho’s Pack’ event

Prior to his passing, Bills superfan Ezra “Pancho Billa” Castro, uttered a selfless wish, asking fans to donate backpacks filled with school supplies, instead of sending flowers, in his memory. On Monday, June 10, that wish will come true.

In honor of Castro, over $100,000 has been given to The Teacher’s Desk of Buffalo for the ‘Pancho’s Pack’ program by Bills players, fans and organizations throughout the country. The funding is enough to provide 10,000 backpacks to children in need this school year. Bills players, staff, representatives from The Teacher’s Desk and volunteers will come together at New Era Field to help fill over 4,500 backpacks. Once complete, 3,000 bags will be sent to Texas, Castro’s home state, and the remaining allotment will be distributed throughout Western New York.

The event, which was spearheaded by Bills players who were touched by Castro’s story, is just one of several smaller packing events that will take place in the coming months.