Drew Bledsoe will be the Bills Legend of the Game for Buffalo's 1 p.m. contest against the Miami Dolphins this Sunday. Bledsoe is excited to return to the stadium where his NFL career began.
Initially drafted as a Patriot, Bledsoe made his debut against Buffalo in 1993 before the Bills traded a first-round pick to acquire the star quarterback from New England in 2003.
"Coming back into that stadium and having the fans welcome me rather than boo the crap out of me was great," Bledsoe said. "Loved it. We just, very quickly, fell in love with everything about Western New York and especially being a part of the Bills."
One of Bledsoe's favorite memories about his time in Buffalo was the passion and respect of Bills Mafia.
"They were relentlessly positive when we were out in the community. There was never any of the bitterness that you sometimes experienced with other fanbases," Bledsoe said. "It just made it really comfortable as a player to be out in the community and you go have dinner and people might wish you good luck but then leave you alone and just really treat you like you're part of the community rather than putting you on a pedestal and trying to get all in your business."
Scroll to see archival photos from Bills vs Dolphins games throughout the years!
Bledsoe threw for over 10,000 yards with Buffalo, adding 57 total touchdowns across his three seasons with Buffalo. He finished his career with a two-season stint in Dallas. Now, the former Bills quarterback is trying his hand in a much different field of work.
Bledsoe returned to his hometown in the Walla Walla Valley to start Bledsoe Family Winery, one of a family of wineries that make up Bledsoe Wine Estates.
"I discovered while we were playing football and we got into wine, that my little hometown was making some of the best wines in the entire world," Bledsoe said. "So when I decided to retire from the NFL, it was specifically so that we could go focus on that business. And it's been a great ride, it's turned into a real company, but it's all based on trying to make truly world-class wines."
The play of both teams taking the field Sunday has also been world-class, as the Bills once again have one of the best offenses and defenses in the league while the Dolphins put up a whopping 70 points last weekend against the Denver Broncos.
Scroll for the best photos from Wednesday's practice on Sept. 27 as the Bills get ready to host the Miami Dolphins.