(Born on February 26, 1975) -- The National Football League career of Sam Cowart wasn’t a long one. At least Buffalo’s football fans had the chance to see him at his best.
Cowart was born in Jacksonville, Fla., and played high school football there. He was a dominant player by the time he was a senior, as he was all-state and was considered one of the nation’s elite players. That earned him a trip to Florida State.
The linebacker was part of a national championship in 1993, and led the Seminoles in tackles in 1995. After missing a year with an injury, Cowart was a first-team All-American pick in 1997. That helped make him a second-round pick of the Bills.
By 2000, Cowart was considered one of the best linebackers in the league and made the Pro Bowl. But a block resulted in a bad ankle injury at the end of the year, and then on opening day in 2001 he tore his Achilles. Cowart left as a free agent for the Jets.
He started almost all of New York’s games, but was never quite the same. He lost his starting job in 2005, and then passed through Minnesota and Houston before retiring.
--- Budd Bailey