Kent Hull passes away at 50

I’m saddened to hear of the passing of former Buffalo Bills All-Pro Center Kent Hull at the age of 50.  When I was just 8 years old I fell in love with Jim Kelly and the Bills’ fast-paced K-Gun offense.  Kent Hull was the rock of that offense.  He snapped the ball for the Bills from 1986 to 1996.  He started 4 straight Super Bowls for the Bills.  He played in 3 Pro Bowls and was named 1st team NFL All-Pro twice.

The city of Buffalo held a rally before the 1986 season when Jim Kelly decide to come out of his self-imposed football exile in the USFL to join the Buffalo Bills three years after they had drafted him.  His center for the Houston Gamblers, Kent Hull, was tagging along.  Why not keep the temperamental Kelly, who had snubbed the Bills for three seasons, happy with a security blanket in Hull.  Well Kent Hull became much more of a security blanket than they could have imagined.  A decade after Kelly and Hull walked into Buffalo together they played their last NFL game together on December 28, 1996 in a playoff game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Everyone knows the names Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed but Kent Hull was as an important piece of the vaunted K-Gun as any of them.  He called the line assignments in that no huddle.  He anchored a line that both protected a Hall-of-Fame Quarterback and opened up holes for a Hall-of-Fame Running Back.  He played on 4 straight AFC Champions and started and played in the greatest comeback in NFL history against the Houston Oilers in the 1992 playoffs.

As good as Kent Hull was on the field, he was just a great a man off of it.  Hull was one of the most popular players in the Bills locker room during the 90’s and perhaps one of the most popular ever.  “Kent was one of the most popular players to ever wears a Bills uniform” commented Steve Tasker in the book “Legends of the Buffalo Bills.”  He continued, “a guy like Kent was a guy that fans, as well as the rest of us, sometimes took for granted.  He was always there, game after game.  For 11 seasons he was one of the guys you could count on to help run our offense.  I know that Jim (Kelly) trusted and depended on Kent a lot, especially when he was running the no-huddle offense.  He was one of the guys who really helped hold the team together.  He was a leader in the truest sense of the word”

In 2002 Kent Hull became the 19th member of the Buffalo Bills Wall of Fame.  His name will forever be in the shadows of everyone who puts on a Buffalo Bills uniform and his example will be even greater.  The man who showed up in Buffalo in an equipment truck while Jim Kelly was being serenaded in a fancy limo sure held up his end of the bargain.  He touched more lives on and off the field than you could imagine.  Not bad for a kid from Pontotoc, Mississippi.  Not bad for a tag-a-long.  Rest in peace Kent.

“I would like to be remembered that I was a teacher and a diplomat.  I always seemed to be in the middle of all the little fights that took place on the team.  All I ever wanted to do was just fit in and play football.  I never expected to last as long as I did with the Bills.  I never even thought I would make it past that first season.  After I got past that first one, I just kept taking it one year at a time.  It was one great ride, one which will never be duplicated.  And I’m glad I was part of it”Kent Hull January 13, 1961 – October 18, 2011

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About evonsports
30 year old sports enthusiast and aspiring writer from Boston.

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