The Bills family lost a well-known member of their most famous offensive line on Wednesday. Right tackle Donnie Green passed away this morning at the age of 71.
Green was a former fifth-round pick of the Bills in 1971 out of Purdue and started at right tackle as a rookie on a line that soon became known as ‘The Electric Company’ after guards Reggie McKenzie and Hall of Famer Joe DeLamielleure were added in 1972 and 1973 respectively.
“We talked to each other quite often over the last several years,” said DeLamielleure. “I got the news today and I was like, ‘Oh man.’ He was hurting for a long time. It was sad. Donnie had back and neck issues and was on kidney dialysis. He had a lot of complications.”
DeLamielleure and Green lined up right next to one another on the right side of Buffalo’s offensive line that blocked for O.J. Simpson the year he ran for 2,003 yards in 14 games in his famed 1973 season.
“He was with O.J. longer than anybody on the line. He was a giant,” said DeLamielleure of Green. “He loved the fact that they called us the ‘Electric Company.’ He and I would always mess with the guys we were playing against on the right side. We’d fake the snap counts and they’d jump offsides and Donnie would tell me I was crazy. Donnie and I were always messing with opposing players.
“He was a tough guy. He played against Hall of Fame defensive end Claude Humphrey. Donnie always did well against him. Anytime he had a big matchup he always rose to the challenge. The better the player, the better he played.”
Green was a towering 6-7 and 272 pounds, which was a rare size for any NFL player at that time.
“He was unusual,” said DeLamielleure. “Back then him and Ed ‘Too Tall’ Jones were the biggest humans I saw at the time. Donnie was a big part of O.J.’s success. You never had to double team any of Donnie’s matchups. He always handled them without any help.”
Green played six seasons for the Bills (1971-1976) appearing in 75 games before playing the final two seasons of his career with Philadelphia and Detroit.
“I know having Donnie Green and Joe Devlin playing next to me in Buffalo, I would’ve never gotten into the Hall of Fame without those two guys,” said DeLamielleure. “I had probably two of the best tackles you could ask for in Buffalo. They’re unknown, but they were unbelievable.”