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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: So long, Joe

   February 26, 1984 -- Joe Cribbs might be one of the most underrated Buffalo Bills player in history, at least from the historical perspective of looking back more than two decades.

   The Bills drafted him in the second round in 1980, and he immediately filled a void at halfback. Cribbs ran for 1185 yards and scored 11 touchdowns. He also caught 52 passes.

   Cribbs spent four seasons in Buffalo, and went past 1,000 yards in three of them. Then he signed a contract to jump to the United States Football League. The Bills tried to stop Cribbs in court, and the case sent sports reporters into the unfamiliar territory of a courtroom.

   But Cribbs won the suit, and two days later -- on this date -- he debuted with the Birmingham Stallions. Cribbs gained 52 yards in 16 carries.

   Cribbs was back in Buffalo in 1985, and spent two seasons after that in San Francisco. He never gained more than 600 yards on the ground in the second act of his NFL career. But he sure was good in the first act.

--- Budd Bailey

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