By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist

James Lofton – Signed by the Bills in 1989

Sometimes you have to be lucky when building a great team. That describes the Bills when James Lofton fell into their laps.

Lofton came out of Stanford when he was drafted by Green Bay in the first round in 1978. He instantly broke into the starting lineup, and started in all of his 136 games with 530 catches as a Packer through 1986. Then it was on to the Raiders, where he only had 28 catches in 1988 and was waived.

The Bills thought Lofton had something in the tank, and signed him. It took a season for the wide receiver to find a niche, but he was ready to become a major contributor in 1990. Lofton averaged 20.3 yards per catch in proving to be a great pairing with Andre Reed. He was even better a season later, recording his sixth 1,000-yard season while catching 57 passes. Lofton stayed one last season before he moved on for a final season with the Eagles and Rams.

The star receiver was picked for eight Pro Bowls in his career, including one in 1991 as a Bill. He went into the Hall of Fame in 2003.

Let’s look at his best work:

(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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