The nation turns its lonely Thursday eyes to Cleveland, as the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns, a matchup that looked very unappealing two weeks ago, looks slightly less so, as the Browns have won two straight and both teams enter at 2-2. You can understand the national skepticism if this game does not draw buzz. Five times these teams have met since 2007, and the average score is Buffalo 13, Cleveland 12. It included a game when Derek Anderson went 2 for 17 . . . and the Browns won the game 6-3. Recent versions of both the Browns and Bills have not been inspiring, and when they have gotten together, the two have managed to take it to new levels.
Tonight, though, we have a good Browns defense and a team suddenly showing signs of life with Brian Hoyer, against a rookie starter in E.J. Manuel.
Here, to get you ready, are the top five players to have ties to both the Browns and Bills. These guys earned their rust belts in the league, and it is appropriate since one of them is playing tonight.
5. Willis McGahee
McGahee began his career in Buffalo. It looks like he will end it in Cleveland after signing a couple of weeks ago. If he stays healthy, he should cross the 10,000 yards from scrimmage barrier this year.
4. Tom Cousineau
Cousineau was the first overall pick in 1979 by Buffalo, but never played for the Bills. He got more money to sign with the Montreal Alouettes. He is still a part of Buffalo lore, though, because in 1983, the Bills traded his rights to the Browns so that he could return to the NFL. In exchange, they got the 14th overall pick and used it on another player who would not sign right away–Jim Kelly.
3. Ted Washington
Who hasn’t Ted Washington played for? Well, there were a few teams, but he did spend his best seasons in Buffalo, before ending his career in Cleveland.
2. Marty Schottenheimer
Marty was a linebacker for the Buffalo Bills back in the AFL days, before becoming the Cleveland Browns coach in 1984 on an interim basis at age 41, then moving to head coach and reaching two AFC championship games that you may have heard about.
1. Joe DeLamielleure
Joe D. played for Buffalo as part of the Electric Company, helping O.J. Simpson break the NFL single season rushing record. Then, he signed with Cleveland in 1980, and was an integral part of the Kardiac Kids and the magical season that ended with Red Right 88.