Important Dates in Bills History, presented by M&T Bank, helps fans recognize what's important. In the NFL, honoring standout performances is important and on Dec. 28, 1987 Bills rookie LB Shane Conlan was named the Defensive Rookie of the Year by the Associate Press.
Shane Conlan, a 6-3, 235-pound Penn State product, was selected by the Bills with the No. 8 overall pick in the 1987 NFL Draft. The Bills traded down from the No. 3 overall pick to secure Conlan and the Western New York native made an immediate impact on the field.
During his rookie campaign, Conlan compiled 114 tackles, one forced fumble and 0.5 sacks. Proving himself a defensive difference maker, Conlan worked alongside legends DE Bruce Smith and LB Cornelius Bennett to propel the Bills to an AFC East division title in 1988—a feat that hadn't been accomplished since 1980.
Over the course of his six seasons in Buffalo, Conlan's playmaking ability helped establish the Bills as a force in the league and earned him Pro Bowl honors three times. In 1995, after a three-year stint with the Rams, Conlan retired from professional football. Conlan's efforts were further recognized in 2005 when received an induction to the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame and in 2014 when he was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.
Recently, Conlan made a trip back to New Era Field to welcome the Bills to the field as the Leader of the Charge. A legend in Bills history, his contributions will never be forgotten.