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This Birthday in Buffalo Sports History: Joe Devlin

(Born on February 23, 1954) -- It’s easy to think that Joe Devlin was very happy to play in a few playoff games as a Buffalo Bill early in the 1980s. Otherwise, he was one of the few bright spots on some poor Bills’ teams.

Devlin grew up in Pennsylvania and played his college football at the University of Iowa. He was an All-American as a senior, and was considered a top prospect by NFL scouts at that point.

The Bills grabbed the tackle in the second round with a pick that was acquired from the Cardinals for Walt Patulski. Devlin needed a year to move into the starting lineup. But once he arrived in that spot in 1977, he stayed for more than a decade.

Devlin never did make it to a Pro Bowl. That was more due to the surrounding talent around him and that fact that he didn’t talk too much to the media. But he helped such players as Terry Miller, Joe Cribbs and Greg Bell compile 1,000-yard seasons.

Devlin finished his career having played 191 games as a Bill, starting 179 of them. Joe DeLamielleure called him one of the best tackles to line up next to him. That’s high praise from a Hall of Famer.

--- 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.