Nov 17, 2013; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel (3) throws the ball to wide receiver T.J. Graham (11) during a timeout against the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Today we will look at the number 11 and the players that have had the chance to wear it during the history of the Buffalo Bills. So far there have been 9 players to wear the number 11.
The first player in Bills history to wear the number 11 was Richie Lucas. He played for the Bills from 1960-1961. Lucas signed with the Bills in the newly formed American Football League making him the franchises first player, officially. He signed on with the AFLs Denver Broncos in 1962 but never played for them. That was his last year in the league.
The next player to wear 11 did not come up until 1977. QB Fred Besana was drafted by the Bills and was only active for 2 games in ’77. He went to the Giants the following year and was only active for 2 games. He was then seen in 1983-1985 in the USFL.
Dan Manucci was the next to wear number 11 for the Bills during the years of 1979-1980 and again in 1987. Manucci was a back-up for the team during ’79-80. He went to the CFL and the USFL the next two years and then came back as a replacement player during the 1987 strike.
During the 1983-1985 seasons, Joe Dufek wore the number 11. He also donned number 19 as well for the Bills. He was signed as an undrafted free agent in 1983.
Scott Norwood is the next Bills player to wear the number 11. He was with the team from 1985-1991. He is probably most noted for his wide right field goal in the Super Bowl loss to the NY Giants in 1991. Norwood had a career FG percentage of 72.3. He was waived after the 1991 season and Steve Christie was brought in to replace him. Norwood never kicked again the in NFL.
The next player to wear 11 came 7 years later, 1998, with Rob Johnson. Johnson came to the Bills after a breakout season with the Jaguars when he replaced Mark Brunell due to an injury. Johnson had an injury riddled time in Buffalo and was given the name “Robo-sack” because of the amount of times he was on his back. After leaving the Bills he did go on to play 2 more seasons in the league.
Johnson was replaced with an older, but proven QB, Drew Bledsoe. For years he had beaten the Bills and Buffalo was able to get their hands on him via trade. In the beginning, Bledsoe came around and played great. He set a record for passing yards for the Bills in the 2nd week, 463. Injuries slowed the offense down and the team finished with a 6-10 record for the season. Bledsoe was released in 2004 to create room for another, soon to be failed QB, J.P. Losman. Bledsoe was quite bitter at the Bills for releasing him for a younger QB. He was later picked up by the Dallas Cowboys and played for 2 seasons.
Roscoe Parrish is the next to don the number 11 for the Bills. He came to the team in 2005 and stayed until 2011. Parrish was drafted by the Bills in the 2nd round in 2005. He was mainly noted for his return ability and in 2007, was the first player, during the season, to score a TD via, kick return, reception, and rushing. Parrish is a currently free agent.
The final player and current wearer of the number 11 is WR TJ Graham. Graham was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2012 draft. He currently has 54 receptions for 683 yards and 3 TDs. He seems to be one of the odd men out when it comes to the WR corps for the Bills this year. With Buffalo drafting Woods and Goodwin last year and possibly Mike Evans this year, and having Steve Johnson as well as newly acquired Mike Williams, Graham is on a short list that will need to perform this year in training camp to prove he deserves a spot on the team.