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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: A new QB in town

   July 18, 1985 -- The Buffalo Bills had a big problem in the summer of 1985. They didn't really have a capable starting quarterback. Want proof? Joe Ferguson was coming off a season in which the Bills won one of 11 of his starts, and was traded to Detroit. Joe Dufek wasn't much better at 1-4. Matt Kofler didn't seem to be the answer.

   A bold move was needed, and the Bills made one.

   They sent tight end Tony Hunter, a former first-round draft choice and considered at the time a sure bet to be the best tight end in franchise history, to the Los Angeles Rams for quarterback Vince Ferragamo. The Rams also gave up a draft pick in the transaction.

   Ferragamo was best remembered for leading the Rams to the Super Bowl in 1980; Los Angeles lost a good game to Pittsburgh. But Ferragamo had lost his starting job, and the Rams were bringing in Dieter Brock -- remember him? -- from the Canadian Football League. So Ferragamo needed a landing spot.

   This was a rather big deal at the time, but it turned out to be something of a dud for both sides. Ferragamo didn't do much for the Bills (five touchdown passes and 17 interceptions in one season), and the team eventually signed Jim Kelly to be their quarterback of the future. You'd have to say that turned out to be the correct move.

   Hunter, meanwhile, never lived up to his promise. He made 50 catches for the Rams in 1985, but was down to 15 in 1986 and never played in the NFL again.

--- Budd Bailey


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About Sports, Ink

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has served in a variety of roles in Buffalo sports in the past 35 years, including reporter, talk-show host, baseball announcer, public relations staffer and author. He covers the Bandits and running for The News when not working as an editor.