All-Time Team CB preview

The nominee list for cornerback could very well be the most physically talented candidate list from top to bottom for the Bills 50th Season All-Time Team as the franchise has had a bounty of quality defensive backs over the years.

Four of the eight nominees have been selected for the Pro Bowl or an AFL All-Star game, two have been named to the Bills 25th Anniversary team and one has his name on the Bills Wall of Fame.

Remember you can register to vote for the 50th Season All-Time Team online at Voting for defensive and head coaching candidates runs until April 19th.

A total of two cornerbacks can be chosen.

Here's a preview of some of the best Bills cover men over the past half century.

Butch Byrd (1964-70)
One of the first physical cornerbacks in pro football, Byrd was an expert at re-routing receivers.

A five-time AFL All-Star, Byrd still holds the team's all-time record for interceptions in a career with 40, compiling that total in just seven seasons.

Byrd was also a dangerous returner as evidenced by his 74-yard punt return for a touchdown in the 1965 AFL Championship game.

"He was one of the first big cornerbacks," said former teammate Harry Jacobs. "He was probably the guy that brought every other DB up on top of everyone to knock receivers around a little bit."

Mario Clark (1976-1983)
A former first-round pick, Clark was named to the NFL's All-Rookie team in 1976 as he stepped into the starting lineup right away for the Bills.

His second season with Buffalo would be one of Clark's best as he posted a career-high seven interceptions and a fumble recovery. Clark had 25 interceptions in his eight seasons with Buffalo.

"He was always scanning the field," said former Bills receiver and teammate Jerry Butler. "He'd pretend he was looking at you, but the whole time he was looking at the backfield. It was amazing how he was able to cover you and see the field at the same time. You couldn't get him to bite or trick him on a lot of things."

Nate Clements (2001-2006)
Another former first-round draft choice, Clements was an instant impact starter for the Bills and became the first player in team history to lead the team in interceptions for four consecutive seasons.
A Pro Bowl selection in 2004, Clements also holds the team record for most returns for touchdowns with five by interception and two on punt return.

He's best remembered for his three interception game in 2002, including one that he took back 29 yards for a touchdown to break a 10-10 tie in a 23-10 victory over Miami (Oct. 20).

Booker Edgerson (1962-1969)
A college sprinter and long jumper, Booker Edgerson applied those skills well when it came to covering some of the AFL's most prolific wide receivers.

Edgerson was often given the assignment of covering the opponent's best receiver. Stepping in as a rookie starter, Edgerson had two interceptions in his very first game against Hall of Fame quarterback George Blanda and made the AFL All-Rookie team.

An AFL All-Star in 1965, Edgerson had 23 interceptions in his career, two of which he returned for touchdowns.

"Booker was always up there and strong on the press," said former teammate Harry Jacobs. "Booker wasn't big, but he had the speed that allowed him to stay with his guy all the way down the field."

Robert James (1969-1974)
A former defensive end at tiny Fisk College, Robert James made a seamless transition to cornerback in the pros.

Using his rare physical strength to manhandle wideouts James was selected to three Pro Bowls in a career cut short by injury. He also earned back-to-back first team All-Pro honors in 1973 and 1974.

He's also a member of the Bills Wall of Fame.

"Lou Saban said he may have been the best football player he ever coached and he only played six years," said former teammate Joe DeLamielleure. "They actually probably changed the (defensive contact) rules because of him. He'd get so close to guys and play man to man on everybody. He had the strength of a defensive lineman and the speed of a corner."

Nate Odomes (1987-1993)
Odomes was one of Buffalo's more productive cornerbacks, and had some of his best seasons during the Bills' early 90's Super Bowl runs.

The former second-round pick earned a pair of Pro Bowl selections in 1992 and 1993 and led the league in interceptions with nine in his last season with Buffalo.

He's best remembered for his overtime interception in the 'Comeback Game' against Houston in the 1992 AFC Wild Card contest that led to Steve Christie's game-winning field goal (41-38).

Charlie Romes (1977-1986)
This former 12th-round pick carved out a pretty good career for himself playing 10 seasons for the Bills and finishing fourth on the team's all-time list in interceptions with 28.

Romes posted a career-high seven interceptions in 1985, and had 16 over his last three seasons in Buffalo.

"I thought he was a great man-to-man press coverage type corner," said former teammate Jerry Butler. "I used to try little moves and techniques against him (in practice) and by doing that we were both able to perfect our games more and step it up."

Antoine Winfield (1999-2003)
Pound for pound Winfield was one of the most physical cornerbacks in team history. Despite standing just 5'8" Winfield was one of the surest tacklers on the edge for Buffalo.

Winfield became the first cornerback in team history to lead the team in tackles with 106 in 2001. In 2003 he'd set a career high in tackles with 124, good for third on the team while also leading the squad in tackles for loss that year.

He had six interceptions in his four seasons with the Bills.

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