By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist

Mark Kelso – Signed by the Bills in 1986

Mark Kelso more or less looked like an elementary school teacher, which he later became. He played college football at a school not known for excellence at the sport. And he might have been best known for an extra layer of protection on his helmet that led to the nickname of “Gazoo” (think Flintstones). It’s an unlikely story that added up a nice career as a Bill.

Kelso was a 10th round draft choice of the Eagles in 1985 after finishing at William and Mary. That didn’t work out, and Kelso received a second chance by signing with the Bills. By 1987, he was in the starting lineup at free safety and had six interceptions. He did even better in 1988 when he pulled in eight interceptions. When Kelso took off to return those picks, ESPN announcer Chris Berman described the highlight on the air by switching to a horse racing announcer mode, paying tribute to Kelso, the great thoroughbred.

Kelso remained a starter through 1993, playing for all four of the Bills’ Super Bowl teams. At one point in the run, he even offered to take a pay cut if it would help the Bills in their salary cap. Kelso finished with 30 interceptions in 99 games. After retirement, he had a nice run as the commentator on the Bills’ radio broadcasts.

Here’s Mark at what he did best – intercepting passes.

(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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