By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page

Elbert Dubenion – Signed by the Bills in 1960

Stories about free agents are often unlikely tales of success. Elbert Dubenion fits into that category nicely.

Dubenion came out of Bluffton College in Ohio in 1959 as a 14th-round pick in 1959 by the Cleveland Browns. He didn’t make it out of training camp, and signed with the new Buffalo Bills in 1960 at the age of 27. Dubenion didn’t know it, but he had found a home. He caught 42 passes as a rookie, and continued to be a productive receiver for the rest of his career. The man they called “Golden Wheels” (is there a better nickname for a pass-catcher?) caught 42 passes for 1,139 yards and ten touchdowns in the Bills’ championship season of 1964. Dubenion was still on the roster at the start of the 1968 season.

The Bills soon moved him into their scouting department after he retired from football, and he proved to be excellent there too. He found Robert James at Fisk University and Andre Reed at Kutztown State. Dubenion knew there were good players at small schools, because he himself was one.

The Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame takes it from here:

(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has been involved in almost every aspect of the local sports scene for the last 40 years. He worked for WEBR Radio, the Buffalo Sabres' public relations department and The Buffalo News during that time. In that time he covered virtually every aspect of the area's sports world, from high schools to the Bills and Sabres and everything in between. Along the way, Budd served as a play-by-play announcer for the Bisons, an analyst for the Stallions, and a talk-show host. He won the National Lacrosse League's Tom Borrelli Award as the media personality of the year in 2011, and was a finalist for that same award in 2017. Budd's seventh and eighth books, one on the Transcontinental Railroad and the other about Ichiro Suzuki, are scheduled to be released in the fall.

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