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This Birthday in Buffalo Sports History: Drayton Florence

(Born December 19, 1980) -- If there’s anyone who knows about the ups and downs of the life of a National Football League player, it’s Drayton Florence. He’s seen both sides of the business in his 10 years in the game.

Florence was an unlikely candidate to reach the NFL. After transferring from Tennessee-Chattanooga to Tuskegee, he became a Division II All-American player. Florence was picked in the second round in 2003 by the Chargers; that’s the highest that a Tuskegee player has ever been drafted.

During the next five years, Florence slowly worked his way into San Diego’s startling lineup. When free agency called, the defensive back was ready. He signed a six-year, $36 million contract with the Jaguars for 2008.

But Florence had one disappointing season in Jacksonville, and was released. The Bills picked him up for the 2009 season, and he promptly led the team in takeaways. In 2011, Florence signed a three-year contract for $15 million.

Oops. The cornerback only lasted one year again on that deal, as the Bills cut him. He was signed and cut by the Broncos before landing with the Lions. Florence broke his arm during the course of the 2012 campaign and missed several games.

--- Budd Bailey

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