By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist

91. Chris Villarrial – Signed by the Bills in 2004

Only seven players have come out of Indiana (Pa.) to play in the National Football League. The Bills did better than anyone with their two players. One was Jim Haslett. The other was Chris Villarrial.

The latter first came into public view at the NFL combine in 1996, when he set a weight-lifting record. That convinced the Bears to take him in the fifth round of the draft, and Villarrial needed only a few weeks to claim a starting job. He kept it through 2003.

Bills head coach Mike Mularkey thought Villarrial would be a good fit at right guard, and quickly signed him. Mularkey was right. The Bills set a team record for fewest sacks allowed in a season with Villarrial holding down a starting spot. But he had ankle surgery during the 2006 season and missed several games. Villarrial was released in the spring of 2007. Upon his exit, the veteran called Buffalo “a special place for me.”

Now, here’s a video on part of his life after the Bills:

(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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