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This Birthday in Buffalo Sports History: John Tracey

     (Born June 27, 1933) -- It's almost surprising that John Tracey, Mike Stratton and Harry Jacobs don't share the same birthday. They are usually linked together when one of them is mentioned.

     Most people don't remember that Tracey started his football career as a wide receiver. He set several school records at that position at Texas A&M.

     Tracey wasn't considered good enough for the National Football League, playing briefly for a pair of teams. However, Bills coach Lou Saban liked him in training camp in 1962. But Saban put him at linebacker to take advantage of Tracey's size and speed.

     That was a good idea. Tracey teamed up with Stratton and Jacobs to become the American Football League's best linebacker trio. They played 62 straight games together from 1963 to 1967, and Tracey was an AFL All-Star twice.

     The linebacker's career ended after the 1967 season. Tracey died of lung cancer in 1978.

--- Budd Bailey

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