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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Huge loss

   August 23, 1975 -- There's one simple rule for players in preseason games: Don't get hurt.

   That rule was broken on this date, and the Buffalo Bills paid a huge price for it. The Bills beat the Los Angeles Rams, 31-24, in a preseason game. (Footnote: Lackawanna native Ron Jaworski played quarterback for the Rams in that game.)

   However, All-Pro cornerback Robert James suffered a terrible knee injury. Not only was he lost for the season, but the injury effectively ended his career.

   James came out of tiny Fisk University in 1969 as an undrafted free agent. He quickly showed he belonged, qualifying for three straight Pro Bowls. James may have only had interceptions in his career, but that's more of a case of quarterbacks not wanting to throw in his direction.

   James retired after the 1975 season, and became a school administrator in Tennesee. His name went up on the Bills' Wall of Fame in 1998, which gives you some idea of how much of an impact he had in his relatively short playiing career.

    "I've always felt that my career was never complete, that I might have played for 14 or 15 years, not for the money but because I enjoyed playing so much," James said in 1998. "I thought I was just approaching my peak when I was injured."

--- 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.