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This Birthday in Buffalo Sports History: Jerry Butler

(Born on October 12, 1957) -- Football players are described in many ways, but “elegant” usually isn’t one of them. Yet Bills’ wide receiver Jerry Butler was certainly an elegant athlete.

Butler was born in South Carolina and stayed in that state to attend college at Clemson. In 1979, the Bills found themselves with two first-round draft choices within the first five picks. One was Tom Cousineau - who got away, twice - but the other turned out much better.

The receiver was an immediate standout with the Bills. In his rookie year, Butler caught 48 passes for 834 yards. A year later, he hauled in 57 passes to set a career high and make the Pro Bowl as he helped the Bills win the AFC East for the first time.

In 1981, eight of his 55 catches were for touchdowns. Some of them were of the “highlight film” variety. Alas, the injuries started to pile up after a while, and Butler’s career never quite lived up to its potential. He missed all of 1984 due to a knee injury, and retired in 1986 after shattering his ankle on a catch.

Butler did some television work after that, and eventually he moved into the Cleveland Browns’ front office.

--- Budd Bailey

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