There have been a few of Hall of Famers that graced the Buffalo Bills with their presence throughout history. Though the Bills have struggled for the majority of their time in NFL since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, these bright gems the franchise snagged were able to give the Bills some winning moments. Legends like OJ Simspon, Jim Kelly and Bruce Smith are truly the cream of the crop when it comes to iconic football figures in Buffalo.
What’s solid about this Buffalo Bills franchise now is that they are winning. Behind gunslinger Josh Allen, the franchise is returning to a place of sincere relevance.
Nonetheless, there might be a few greats that slip our minds, mainly because their time in Buffalo was short lived. Nonetheless, let’s take a gander at some forgotten Bills.
5. Marcus Stroud (DT, 2008-2010)
Three-time Pro Bowler Marcus Stroud is a perfect example of a short and sweet Bills career.. Stroud had an impressive stint with the Jacksonville Jaguars where he made the AP Second Team All-Pro and was selected to the Pro Bowl for three consecutive years from 2003-2005. After a rather controversial end to his seven-year stay in Jacksonville, Stroud was traded to the Bills for a few draft picks. The Bills needed him so bad since they were one of the worst defenses in the team at that time. The DT had instant impact and boosted Buffalo’s defense from 31st (2007) to 14th (2008).
Stroud and the Bills had a promising start in that 2008 season but somehow fell to a 7-9 record to end it. The two-time First-Team All-AFC member signed a two-year contract extension with the Bills the year after. Unfortunately, his stay in Buffalo was rather subpar and was eventually released after the 2010 season.
4. Larry Centers (RB, 2001-2002)
Another NFL great that we tend to forget played for the Bills is fullback Larry Centers. The Texas native was an All-Pro early in his career with the Arizona Cardinals. Centers is clearly one of the best catching running backs ever and even recorded the most passes caught by an RB for his career.
Though Centers only played two quick seasons with the Bills, he made it to his third and last Pro Bowl in his debut season in Buffalo. He also surpassed Ronnie Harmon’s record for most receiving yards by an RB against the Seattle Seahawks. Centers finished his short tenure with the Bills by reaching the top ten in all-time career receptions.
It’s actually rather amazing he made our Forgotten Bills list when looking at their franchise history.
3. Reggie Bush (RB, 2016)
Reggie Bush was known for his incredible collegiate career in USC where he was also a two-time National Champion. He spent his first few years in the NFL as a member of the New Orleans Saints. He was quick to make good of his early promise, making the All-Rookie Team in 2006 as well as the First-team All-Pro in 2008. Bush was also a key figure in the Saints’ Super Bowl championship run in 2009.
After being shipped to different teams, Bush finally landed in Buffalo in 2016 where he signed a one-year deal. Unfortunately for both Bush and the Bills, the Saints Hall of Famer was in the twilight of his career in 2016. He ended as the first player in NFL history (other than QBs) to end the season with at least ten carries and have negative yardage with -3. Bush would call it quits and end his career after that season. So not exactly a great Bills history lesson here.
2. Terrell Owens (WR, 2009)
Without a doubt – TO deserves to be in any all-time great lists out there; his especially for a list that values brevity with the Bills. Owens is one of the fastest players to ever take the field and his six-time selection to the NFL Pro Bowl just further cement that. Though he made a name for himself in his first ten years in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers, Owens actually had a short stint for Buffalo in 2009.
The Hall of Famer signed a one-year deal with the Bills in 2009. He memorably passed former Bills receiver Andre Reed in the all-time Top 20 career leaders list for receptions on his very first catch for Buffalo. One of the last great highlights of Owens’ time with the Bills was when he became the sixth player to reach 1,000 career receptions against the Atlanta Falcons in week 16.
Oddly enough, despite being one of the most well known players ever, it’s amazing how he’s a member of our forgotten Bills list.
1. Anquan Boldin (WR, 2017)
Okay so Anquan Boldin didn’t really play a game for the Bills but given that he did sign a one-year contract with Buffalo makes him a valid candidate for this list. Boldin was not just known for his incredible catches and routes in the field but was also iconic for all his off-field advocacies. He was the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year in 2005.
But the Florida-native wasn’t a slack on the gridiron, too. He was a prominent member of 2011-2012 Baltimore Ravens squad who won it all in Super Bowl XLVII. Boldin was also named to the Pro Bowl three times in his earlier stint with the Arizona Cardinals. After a one-year stint with the Detroit Lions, Coldin signed a one-year contract with the Bills in 2017. However, the wide receiver announced just two weeks after in August that he was retiring from professional football to focus on his humanitarian work.