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This Birthday in Buffalo Sports History: Mario Clark

   (Born March 29, 1954) -- Mario Clark's time as a member of the Buffalo Bills fell into neat compartments … one good, one not-so-good.

   The cornerback from Oregon was taken in the first round (18th pick) by the Bills in 1976. Clark hadn't been in the East and was surprised to discover that Buffalo was a long way from New York City.

   It didn't take him long to take a spot in the starting lineup. He even made the NFL's all-rookie team in 1976. The problem was that Buffalo, a playoff contender for the preceding three years, fell apart.

   Clark, then, was a good player for some bad teams in the late 1970's. Luckily for him, Chuck Knox arrived in 1978 and slowly turned the team's fortunes around. By 1980, the Bills won the AFC East and Clark was a reason why.

   Buffalo made the playoffs in 1981, but Knox left after the 1982 season. Clark stayed with the Bills for one more season under Kay Stephenson. Then he was traded to San Francisco for a fourth-round pick.

   Clark finished his Buffalo career with 25 interceptions, including seven in 1977, and never missed a game here.

--- 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.

@WDX2BB | bbailey@buffnews.com

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