By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist

Ed Rutkowski – Signed by the Bills in 1963

Ed Rutkowski turned out to have something of a memorable career as a Buffalo Bill, mostly because of the misfortune of others. His post-football career was a surprise too.

Rutkowski signed with the Bills after playing at Notre Dame. He slid into something of a utility role in Buffalo. Ed returned some punts and kickoffs, ran 48 times and caught 19 passes. He may not have been a standout at a given position, but in those days of small rosters it was good to have someone like that around. Rutkowski earned two championship rings in 1964 and 1965.

In 1968, his versatility received its biggest test. The Bills had an unprecedented run of injuries at the quarterback position. When there was no one else, Rutkowski took the job – thus giving him the title of “emergency quarterback” forever. He was 41 for 100 passing for 380 yards in three games, which wasn’t too bad under the circumstances.

Rutkowski retired from football after spending a year in the Canadian Football League, and he was a commentator on the Bills’ radio broadcasts for several years in the 1970s. Ed’s life took a decided turn in 1979 when he became Erie County Executive. Rutkowski served nine years in the post before losing to Dennis Gorski in 1987. He later worked in state government.

(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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