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Bills former Coach Jim Ringo passes

One of the more famous offensive linemen in the history of the NFL and former Bills coach Jim Ringo passed Monday at the age 75.

A Pro Football Hall of Fame center, Ringo played on two Green Bay Packers championship teams (1961, 1962) under legendary coach Vince Lombardi and was a 10-time Pro Bowl player.

"In those days he was as well known as Bart Starr, Paul Hornung," said Bills GM Marv Levy. "Offensive linemen don't really get that much notoriety, but he was exceptionally well known at the time. He was dominant and a key part of those Packer teams."

Bills fans more vividly remember his tenure in Buffalo as a coach. Ringo initially served under former head coach Lou Saban who hired him in 1972. Ringo was the team's offensive line coach and was instrumental in the formation of the famed 'Electric Company' line that helped pave the way for O.J. Simpson's 2,003-yard season in 1973.

After Saban resigned in 1976, Ringo took over as interim head coach and remained head coach in 1977 with the team posting a 3-11 mark.

He also coached in New England, Los Angeles (Rams) and New York (Jets), before coming back to the Bills for a second go-round under then head coach Kay Stephenson in 1985.

When Marv Levy was hired as head coach to replace Stephenson midway through the 1986 season, he retained Ringo.

"I knew of Jim Ringo," said Levy. "I respected him as a player in the early years and as a coach. I knew other people in the coaching profession who had spoken highly of him. He was here and I did retain him and he stayed on for two more years and then he retired."

As much as Ringo will be tied to the 'Electric Company' line of the 70's, Levy said Ringo left a lasting impact on some of his young linemen his last two seasons with Buffalo.

"He was here when Kent Hull and Jim Ritcher first came aboard," said Levy. "Howard Ballard and Will Wolford were also here and their introduction to the league was with Jim Ringo as their line coach. Jim was a good teacher, he studied the game well. He tried to help players and they knew it. He was very highly respected and for good reason."

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