By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist

Ray Bentley – Signed by the Bills in 1986

The relationship between Ray Bentley and Western New York has turned out to be a long one, touching all sorts of different areas. He’s in a class by himself in that sense.

Bentley was undrafted out of Central Michigan in 1983 and turned up in the United States Football League, playing for the Michigan Panthers and Oakland Invaders. When that league folded in 1986, Bentley signed with the Bills. He arrived at just the right time, since players like Jim Kelly and Kent Hull also turned up. Buffalo began building towards its run of four straight Super Bowl appearances. Bentley was a part of the first two.

After leaving the Bills, the linebacker played for Cincinnati in 1992 and then turned to other football-related areas. He did some television work for Fox and on the Bills’ preseason games. Bentley also was the head coach and general manager of the Buffalo Destroyers for two seasons And who knows how many Western New York toddlers grew up reading his series of children’s books about Darby the Dinosaur?

Let’s go back to that first Super Bowl:

(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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