By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist
62. Marlin Briscoe – Signed by the Bills in 1969
Marlin Briscoe was famous in the football world before he came to Buffalo, even though his only Pro Bowl appearance came with the Bills. It’s a unique story.
Briscoe played college football at Nebraska-Omaha and was a 14th-round draft choice of the Broncos. Denver coach Lou Saban wanted to turn him into a cornerback, but Briscoe insisted on competing for the quarterback job. It took a couple of injuries, but Briscoe got his chance. He became the first African American to be a starting quarterback in pro football on Oct. 6, 1969. The results were mixed. Briscoe asked for his release in 1969 when he discovered he wasn’t going to have the chance to play that year.
Enter the Bills. They signed him and moved him to wide receiver, since the Bills had Jack Kemp, Tom Flores and James Harris at the position. Briscoe had some success in 1969, and was even better in 1970 – 17 catches for 1,036 yards. He had one more good year in Buffalo, and then was traded to the Miami Dolphins. There Briscoe played on two Super Bowl champions. But the Bills did well with the draft choice they received for him; Joe DeLamielleure was a Hall of Famer at guard.
Here’s more about Marlin the Magician:
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