By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist

Drayton Florence – Signed by the Bills in 2009

The career of Drayton Florence is a reminder that promises of financial bliss sometimes don’t work out so well in the National Football League.

Florence was a second-round choice of the Chargers in 2003. He eventually worked his way into a starter’s role at times during his five years there, but left as a free agent in early 2008. Florence signed a six-year deal with the Jaguars for $36 million – and then was released only a season later.

That brought him to Buffalo, as he signed a two-year, $6 million deal. It turned out he was a good fit with head coach Dick Jauron. Florence became a starter quickly, and played well enough to earn a new three-year contract for $15 million in 2011. But a season later, Buffalo drafted Stephon Gilmour and Ron Brooks. Florence was released right after the draft, and spent two seasons as a reserve in Detroit and Carolina.

He was a good guy off the field too.

(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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