By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist
Steve Freeman – Signed by the Bills in 1975
Steve Freeman was a fifth-round pick of the Patriots in 1975. Yet he never played a game for New England. Instead, he wound up as a 12-year veteran with the Pats’ division rivals, the Bills.
Freeman arrived in Buffalo on waivers in 1975. He was a reserve for the most of the first four years of his stay here. Freeman’s patience finally paid off in 1979, when he won a starting job. A year later the safety had seven interceptions in helping the Bills win the AFC East. Freeman stayed right through 1986, when he still was a starter in every game for the Bills. Finally, in 1987, he closed his career with Minnesota. Freeman left with 178 games played for Buffalo, which at the time was a team record.
But Freeman’s NFL story wasn’t over yet. He made the unusual switch to official in 2001. What’s more, son Brad eventual joined him in the ranks of NFL official in 2014.
(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)