Ruben Brown, Buffalo Bills eight-time Pro Bowl guard, was inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame Wednesday evening November 9, 2011 at the Hyatt in downtown Buffalo. Brown becomes the 27th Buffalo Bills player inducted into the prestigious group.
Brown, drafted 14th overall out of the University of Pittsburgh in 1995, played in 136 games during his nine-year career (1995-2003) for the Bills and made eight straight Pro Bowls. He also played three seasons for the Chicago Bears and appeared in the 2006 Super Bowl before retiring in 2007 due to injury. Ruben was named to the Buffalo Bills 50th Season All-Time Team in 2009 and was awarded the Ralph C. Wilson Distinguished Service Award in 2010.
Former Bills great center Kent Hull, who recently passed away, was credited by Brown for having a positive influence on his career.
"I learned a lot from Kent Hull, he was a big inspiration to me and the main reason for my success," said Brown.
Brown's off the field success is also well documented. As a player, he was very active in community service work and was named the Buffalo Bills/NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award winner three times (1999, 2001 and 2002). He also received Pro Football Weekly's Arthur S. Arkush Humanitarian of the Year Award in 2003 as well as the 2003 William Booth Community Service Award presented by the Salvation Army.
Ruben, no stranger to assisting with the Bills community outreach, was presented with his Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame award by Gretchen Geitter, Buffalo Bills vice president of community relations. Also among the sold-out crowd to support Ruben was Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly.
Brown continues to be heavily involved in the Western New York community with his charity work, through his foundation, and with local radio and TV shows. The Ruben Brown Foundation, founded in 2001, provides assistance to charities and community organizations that focus on the development of youth through athletics, cultural and educational programs. He also established the Ruben Brown Motorcycle Run in Buffalo to benefit the Salvation Army.
Joining Brown on the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2011 were basketball star Curtis Aiken, runner Lewis "Deerfoot" Bennett, founder of the West Side Rowing Club Michael Broderick, NFL Pro Bowl tackle Jim Burt, local baseball legend Don Colpoys, Buffalo Bills AFL fullback Cookie Gilchrist, Buffalo Sabres forward Jim Lorentz, Major League Baseball third baseman Phil Mankowski, Olympic bobsled gold medalist Steve Mesler, pro golfer and renowned golf teacher Cindy Miller and the inventor of the sport of volleyball William G. Morgan.
Gilchrist played for the Bills for just three seasons (1962-1964) but was one of the American Football League's (AFL) first marquee players. The bruising fullback was the AFL's first 1,000-yard rusher (1,096 yards and 5.1 yards per carry) and scored a league-leading 13 touchdowns to earn AFL Player of the Year honors in 1962. He rushed for a then pro football record 243 yards and scored five touchdowns in a game against the Jets in 1963. Gilchrist was a member of the Bills 1964 AFL Championship team.
A controversial figure both on and off the field during his short career in Western New York, Cookie was traded to Denver after the 1964 season and played three more years before retiring in 1967. Gilchrist joins the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame posthumously as part of the "Pride of Western New York," Class of 2011.
"This was a very exciting night because this is the 21st class to be inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame," said Brian M. Cavanaugh, GBSHOF president. "Including the people we honor tonight, we now have paid tribute to 240 outstanding amateur and professional sports figures who have either excelled in a sport in the Greater Buffalo area, or as natives of the area achieved fame and greatness in a sport in another area of the world."
The Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame was created in 1990 and including the Class of 2011, the total membership is 240. The honorees live, have lived and worked in Western New York. They are men and women who have contributed to the welfare of sports in Greater Buffalo by performance, time, effort and/or financial support whether that sport be amateur or professional.
For more information, fans can visit buffalosportshalloffame.com.