Former Buffalo Bills C Kent Hull dies at 50


BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Kent Hull, who served as Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly's center during the Buffalo Bills' AFC title years in the early 1990s, has died. He was 50.

Mississippi State, where Hull played his college ball, announced he passed away on Tuesday afternoon. The cause of death was not immediately known.

Hull was a three-time Pro Bowl selection during 11 seasons with the Bills. He was credited for playing a key role in helping run the team's no-huddle ``K-Gun'' offense. The Bills honored Hull in 2002 by placing his name on Ralph Wilson Stadium's Wall of Fame.

Hull broke into pro football in 1983 with the USFL New Jersey Generals, where he eventually was joined by Kelly in 1986, just before the league folded. The two then headed to the Bills, the team that still held the rights to Kelly after selecting him in the first round of the 1983 draft.

Hull also joined Kelly in announcing his retirement following the 1996 season.

He was tough and durable as a player, and at one point appeared in 121 consecutive games with the Bills.

His sudden death left his former teammates, Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy and even their respective families inconsolable.

I'm so, so saddened,'' Levy said.I coached for 47 years, and he honestly was one of the very most memorable individuals who was my privilege to coach.''

Levy's wife, Fran, was so heartbroken she sobbed openly upon learning the news. Patti Thomas, the wife of Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas, also had difficulty speaking because she was overcome by emotion when reached by phone.

In an email to The Associated Press, Thurman Thomas wrote: ``We have suffered a tremendous loss. Kent was a teammate, big brother and best friend. My heart breaks for His amazing family. My heart breaks period. He will be a best friend and in my heart forever.''

Hull was a bear of a man, who was both outgoing, funny and philosophical. During Kelly's induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002, Hull commented on the sea of Bills fans in attendance at Fawcett Stadium and said: ``I feel like I'm in Buffalo. Look at this.''

Hull is survived by his wife, Kay, and two children, Drew and Ellen. Funeral arrangements had not yet been announced.

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