By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist
Ed Rutkowski – Signed by the Bills in 1963
Ed Rutkowski turned out to have something of a memorable career as a Buffalo Bill, mostly because of the misfortune of others. His post-football career was a surprise too.
Rutkowski signed with the Bills after playing at Notre Dame. He slid into something of a utility role in Buffalo. Ed returned some punts and kickoffs, ran 48 times and caught 19 passes. He may not have been a standout at a given position, but in those days of small rosters it was good to have someone like that around. Rutkowski earned two championship rings in 1964 and 1965.
In 1968, his versatility received its biggest test. The Bills had an unprecedented run of injuries at the quarterback position. When there was no one else, Rutkowski took the job – thus giving him the title of “emergency quarterback” forever. He was 41 for 100 passing for 380 yards in three games, which wasn’t too bad under the circumstances.
Rutkowski retired from football after spending a year in the Canadian Football League, and he was a commentator on the Bills’ radio broadcasts for several years in the 1970s. Ed’s life took a decided turn in 1979 when he became Erie County Executive. Rutkowski served nine years in the post before losing to Dennis Gorski in 1987. He later worked in state government.
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