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More Kent Hull

In late August of 1996, I interviewed Kent Hull at his condo in Orchard Park. Four months later, he retired. Here are a few memorable quotes from that sit-down with the former Bills center, who died Tuesday.

"When I came here in 1986, Tim Vogler was the starting center. I told my wife (Kay) not to even come up here. I said because when Tim gets well, I'm probably going to get my walking papers. And that never happened, so I said I guess you better come on up here."

"It's funny, I hated football all my life. I wanted to play basketball. I loved basketball. I had a light out in my driveway at home. I'd plug it in and they'd have to come out and get me. It'd be 11:30, 12 o'clock at night. My dad played at Mississippi State with Bailey Howell and that crew. They won the SEC under Babe McCarthy."

"I had some good offers to play basketball, from LSU and some others. My high school coach, Hollis Rutter, said, 'Son, it takes 22 to start in football and five in basketball." He said, 'You're a good enough athlete, you'll find somewhere to play. So I signed for football (at Mississippi State). I figured I'd try it for a year and if it didn't work out, I'd go somewhere else."

"My role in the no-huddle was somewhat important. You couldn't get the play off if it wasn't. But it's minute, compared to what Jim (Kelly) does, or Thurman (Thomas) or Andre Reed. I look at a front. I make a call. I just happen to be lucky enough that I understand football and can do it quickly. You can't get off a play until it's said. So the faster I'm making my calls, the faster we're running the no-huddle. But it's nothing compared to what they're doing. Theirs is more physical. Mine is mental."

"I enjoy my position as a leader. Every family has internal problems. I always liked being one of the ones who mediated those problems. I feel I can do it in a more tactful way than some other people Marv (Levy) has a great knack for that. There's a time to say something. I always say to myself, 'I hate to have to talk to the team.' But it comes so instinctively."

Hull had signed a contract to remain in Buffalo, rather than test the waters in the early stages of unrestricted free agency. His agent wanted him to test the market, but he decided to stay. Bills fans loved him for it.

"I get cards a lot, especially after I renegotiated. I got a lot of letters, flowers, I got everything, man. 'Thanks for not trying free agency.' I got maybe 100 letters, even a couple of things with candy in them. I wanted to stay here. It meant a lot to me to stay here. I guess I'm spoiled with Marv. I didn't want to go to a team where I had to re-invent myself. I thought I was settled here and it was more convenient."

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