By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist

No. 9: March 24, 1978The Bills trade O.J. Simpson to San Francisco for a second-round draft choice in 1978 (Scott Hutchinson), a third-round draft choice in 1978 (Danny Fulton), a first-round draft choice in 1979 (Tom Cousineau), a fourth-round draft choice in 1979 (Ken Johnson), and a second-round draft choice in 1980 (Joe Cribbs).

If Chuck Knox wanted to make sure everyone knew that there was a new sheriff in Buffalo when he took over as coach of the Bills, a big trade proved his point. Knox had come to town after the 1977 season from the Rams to rebuild one of the NFL’s worst franchises.

It took two months to put it together. The San Francisco 49ers wanted to welcome one of that city’s native sons, O.J. Simpson, back home. Simpson had been one of the greatest running backs in NFL history during his time in Buffalo. The highlight came in 1973, when he ran for 2,000 yards. But he was 30 years old at the time of the deal, and that’s not a good age for runners in the NFL.

In hindsight, Knox and the Bills received a big return for Simpson. The 49ers gave up a pile of draft picks for the future Hall of Famer. One of those choices became the first overall, used by the Bills on Tom Cousineau. He’d come in handy in a very unexpected way down the road. As for Simpson, he had two more injury-filled seasons left in him before retirement.

(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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