By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist

Sam Gash – Signed by the Bills in 1998 and 2003

The role of the fullback has changed in pro football. Old-timers remember big running backs like Jim Brown and Earl Campbell pounding out the yardage from the fullback position. But eventually teams started to rely on only one player to do the majority of the running – the so-called “feature back.” That left fullbacks looking for something to do.

Soon offensive coordinators figured out that fullbacks might be helpful as a lead blocker. There was no one better at it than Sam Gash, which might be why the Bills signed him … twice. The first time was for $3.3 million over three years.

Gash signed a three-year deal with the Bills in 1998 after spending six seasons with New England. He made the Pro Bowl in 1998 and 1999, becoming the first running back to ever earn that honor without actually carrying the ball. Buffalo broke the 2,000-yard mark for team rushing in both seasons. Gash was cut with the salary cap purge after the 1999 season that also included Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas and Andre Reed.

But Gash did have an encore. Buffalo replaced pass-catcher Larry Centers with Gash for the 2003 season. That only lasted for a year, as the Bills signed Daimon Shelton  to replace him at the position.

If you want to learn a lot more about Sam, this interview will help:

(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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