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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Bills finally add Flutie

   January 16, 1998 -- In 1985, the Buffalo Bills had the first overall draft pick. Fans back then wanted the Bills to take a relatively small-in-stature college quarterback by the name of Doug Flutie who had captivated the country in the fall of 1984. In fact, buttons that urged the Bills to take Flutie were printed up.

   Flutie signed with the United States Football League, but the Bills hadn't made him a primary target anyway. They were more interested in a large, quick defensive end named Bruce Smith, and took him. Smith worked out pretty well.

   Fast forward to 1998. The Flutie Fans finally saw the Bills get their man when he signed as a free agent after a successful career in the Canadian Football League. However, Flutie, who did see some time in the NFL after the USFL folded, wanted one more shot at success in the big leagues.

   "I want to thank (team owner) Ralph Wilson and the Buffalo Bills organization for giving me the opportunity to compete for a quarterback position with the Bills," Flutie said.

   Flutie was scheduled to battle Todd Collins and Alex Van Pelt for the starting quarterback job. Then Rob Johnson was acquired from Jacksonville in a trade, and the drama involving those two would go on for quite a while.

   Flutie spent three seasons in Buffalo, and he played until the age of 43.  

--- Budd Bailey

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