By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist

Chris Spielman – Signed by the Bills in 1997

The marriage between the Bills and Chris Spielman essentially lasted only two years. It’s too bad it couldn’t have been longer.

Spielman was an Ohio State grad who found himself drafted by a Michigan team – Detroit  – in 1988. During an eight-year run, the Lions made the playoffs four times and the NFC Championship game once. Detroit hasn’t had it that good since the 1950s. Spielman was a force at inside linebacker, leading the team in tackles seven straight times.

In 1997, the Bills needed a replacement for Cornelius Bennett and grabbed Spielman in free agency. It was a great fit. Spielman led the team in tackles with 111. He was doing well a year later when he suffered a spinal neck injury that ended his season. Chris then took 1998 off because his wife was battling cancer. He tried to play for the Browns in 1999, but another neck injury convinced him to retire.

Chris had the chance recently to talk about his days with the Bills:

(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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