By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist
No. 71: January 26, 1974 – The Bills trade Dennis Shaw to St. Louis for Ahmad Rashad.
The career of Dennis Shaw ranks as one of the oddest in football history. He arrived in Buffalo in 1970 as a second-round draft choice from San Diego State, where he was taught by legendary offensive mastermind Don Coryell. Shaw stepped into the starting lineup that fall and was named offensive rookie of the year in the NFL.
But Shaw’s level of play fell in the next two seasons, and he reportedly was involved in an incident during a game with some fans that separated him from the rest of the team. Shaw lost his starting job to Joe Ferguson in 1973, and Coryell gave up Ahmad Rashad to obtain Shaw and see if he couldn’t turn the quarterback’s career around.
It was instantly recognized as a great deal for the Bills around Buffalo. Rashad caught 36 passes in 1974, and would have done even better if Buffalo’s offense hadn’t centered on O.J. Simpson. Rashad missed the 1975 season with a knee injury, and then wound up the Vikings in 1976. There Rashad stayed for seven seasons, catching 400 passes. If he had done that for the Bills, this one would rank much higher on the list. As for Shaw, he threw eight passes in St. Louis in two seasons.
(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)