Let me start by saying it's an honor to be asked to cast a ballot, and I suspect my choices for the Bills 50th team will be a lot like yours -- a mix of obvious superstars and personal favorites who have been overlooked.
You've seen my offensive team and special teamers earlier. Now here's my 'D' and man that'll be running the show for my squad.
Defensive Line (3)BRUCE SMITH – All-time sack leader should be plenty, but he worked his butt off to become a great run-stopper, too. What an amazing player.
FRED SMERLAS – Good times, bad times, he always came to play. Smerlas found a way to shine as a 3-4 nose tackle, which is nearly impossible, and he was a great personality. The Bermuda Triangle started here.
PAT WILLIAMS – Here is a great, lunch bucket Bill who is a textbook example of the team's golden age of scouting and a player's desire to work hard at being great. Pat started out as an undrafted free agent, developed into one of the best D tackles in the game, waited nine years to make it to the pro-bowl, and keeps on plugging.
Gotta go with the golden age of Bills backers as a trio:
DARRYL TALLEY – heart and soul, a leader, an eccentric, a guy I always found myself watching down after down – I'd just hone in on that Spiderman underarmour and watch mayhem ensue.
CORNELIUS BENNETT – The Superstar of the group who played up to his billing. Biscuit could do it all, and demanded that teams game plan around him.
SHANE CONLAN – Conlan came along and all of a sudden you paid a price if you thought you could run the ball up the middle. Punished runners, and added a missing link to our championship era defense.
MIKE STRATTON – Growing up a Bills fan in my generation, you met a lot of people who claimed to have been there for "The Hit Heard 'Round The World." Such was the glory of a tackle that changed a game, broke ribs, and helped the Bills win an AFC Championship.
Defensive Back (2)BUTCH BYRD – This cat was Deion Sanders, AFL-style: A crazy ball hawk and return specialist, he'd be worth twice as much as Nate Clements in today's market.
ROBERT JAMES – A star during some of the team's darkest seasons, Robert was a low-flash, shutdown corner who found a way to shine out on an island when there wasn't a ton of help.
Safety (2)TONY GREENE – One of my all-time favorite Bills, Tony played at an elite level, year in, year out, regardless of the quality of the team. Good times, bad times, he had 37 career interceptions, including a total of nine in two different seasons, and he added excitement to the team at a time when we could really use some.
GEORGE SAIMES – The hammer that keyed the defensive backfield for two Bills AFL Championship teams. A great tackler, five pro-bowls, I don't see anyone on the list who can rival Saimes on my all-time team, although it was hard not to include Henry Jones for his fine work in the early nineties.
I have to say the Wall of Fame is woefully incomplete without Lou Saban's name on it, and while all three of the coaching candidates (Knox, Levy, Saban) restored dignity to the franchise, Marv is without a doubt the best coach we ever had, and a class act to boot.