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This Birthday in Buffalo Sports History: Kent Hull

(Born January 13, 1960) -- The media had a running joke during the Bills’ Super Bowl years in the early 1990s. They’d talk to stars like Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas and Bruce Smith first, because those players were always part of the story. Then they’d head over to Kent Hull’s locker, and find out from him what exactly happened in that day’s game.

Hull grew up in Mississippi and went to Mississippi State. From there the offensive lineman went over to the United States Football League, where he was a starter for the New Jersey Generals for three years. When the USFL folded, Kelly was the Bills’ major addition ... but Hull turned out to be a huge part of the team in the years to come.

He moved right into the starting lineup and stayed there for the rest of his career. The Bills went to a famous no-huddle offense along the way, and relied on Hull to call out assignments along the way. It was an important duty, and Hull did it as well as it could be done.

Hull stayed through 1996, and made three Pro Bowls. The down-to-earth center probably took more pride in those four Super Bowl appearances, though. When it was time to retire, he quietly packed his bags and headed back to Mississippi.

Hull received all sorts of honors after his career was over, including his selection as one of the few to go on the Bills’ Wall of Fame. His death in 2011 at the age of 51 was shocking. Everyone who knew Hull said while he was an excellent player, Hull was a much better person.

--- Budd Bailey

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