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Mark Pike, 12-year Buffalo Bills veteran, dies at 57

Bills, Mark Pike

Former Buffalo Bills special teams standout Mark Pike has passed away at 57, the team announced on Wednesday. Pike passed away after fighting a battle with non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

A linebacker and defensive linesman, Pike played for the Bills throughout his 13-year NFL career. The team picked him out of the Georgia Institute of Technology in the seventh round of the 1986 draft. Pike then went on to don the Bills jersey 173 times, mainly on special teams. He was part of the team’s four AFC championship seasons from 1990 to 1993.

In seven of the last eight years he played for the Bills, Pike led the team in special teams tackles. He remains the franchise’s all-time leading special teams tackler with 255 career takedowns. That tally ranks him second in NFL history, only behind former New England Patriots player Larry Izzo.

However, Pike was respected off the field as much as he was on it. Bill Polian, the General Manager who drafted Pike, highlighted Pike’s character. Apart from his tackling and takedowns, his influential character definitely was crucial to his team’s success. Polian said (via Buffalo Bills):

“Mark epitomized the high character that we valued so greatly and was the hallmark of our teams. He gave one hundred percent effort on every play and that same commitment to charitable and community endeavors off the field. There was never a better role model as a player and a person than Mark.”

Following their loss to the Patriots, the Bills will hope to secure a win for Pike in their next game. Pike will forever be remembered for his legacy and impact on the Buffalo Bills. Rest in peace, Mark Pike.