Buffalo Bills History: Who Wore It – Number 20


Sep 29, 2013; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills running back Tashard Choice (20) runs as Baltimore Ravens cornerback Corey Graham (24) moves in to tackle during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Ravens 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

We took a couple of days off due to the excitement and coverage of the NFL Draft but we are back and moving forward.  Today we will look at the 16 players that wore the number 20 for the Buffalo Bills during their history.

We start during the seasons of 1960-1961 & 1963.  Bill Atkins played for the Bills during the 1960-1961 seasons and came back in 1963.  He started with the NFL 49ers in 1958-59 and then came to the Bills.  He was an All-Star in 1961.  He played for four teams in total during his football career and was the Head Coach for Troy State Trojans.

Second on our list is Tom Minter.  He played for the Bills in 1962.  Minter was drafted by the Chargers in 1962.  Played for the Bills and the Vikings during the same year.

Hank Rivera came to the Bills in 1963.  He played for the Raiders in 1962.  While with the Bills he played in  3 games and had 1 kick return for 20 yards.

Bobby Smith was draft by the Bills in 1964 and played with them until 1965.  He retired with the Steelers in 1966.  Smith had a 4.9 yards per carry in 1964 his rookie season.

Keith Lincoln was the next player to wear the number 20 during the years of 1967-1968.  He played for the Chargers from 1961-1966 and then again in 1968-1969.  He was a 5 time AFL All-Star; 1962-1965 and again in 1967.

Robert James was a three time Pro Bowler that was drafted by the Bills in 1969 and played with them until 1974.  James was raised to the Bills Wall of Fame in 1998.

Joe Cribbs is the next player to don the number 20 for the Bills.  Cribbs was drafted by the Bills in 1980 and played with them until 1983.  He came back fro a year stint in 1985 after playing in the USFL until then.  He went on to play for the 49ers, Colts and Dolphins and finished in 1988 with the Dolphins.  In his rookie year he had over 1100 yards rushing and 11 TDs.  His rookie performance got his AFC Rookie of the Year and elected to the Pro Bowl, the only rookie starter that year.

John Armstrong, Sherman Cocroft, Mickey Sutton and Richard Carey all wore the number 20 for the Bills in consecutive years; 1987, 1988, 1989, and 1990.  Armstrong was a replacement player during the Players strike in 1987.  The Bills were Carey’s last stop in the NFL before moving on to the World Football League in 1992-1996.

The next Bills player to tote the number 20 is the one to hold it the longest.  Henry Jones played for the Bills from 1991-2000. Jones was drafted by the Bills in 1991.  Jones had his break out year in 1992 when we was selected to the Pro Bowl.  In 1992, Jones had a league tying 8 interceptions.  In his remaining 10 seasons in the NFL he only recorded 10 more interceptions.  He finished with 18 interceptions and 4 TDs with 5 sacks and 9 fumble recoveries.

Travis Henry was the next Bills player to wear the number 20.  Henry wore the number between the years of 2001-2004.  Henry became the 4th leading rusher in Bills history in his time with Buffalo.  In 2004, Henry became injured and was subsequently placed as Willis McGahee‘s backup, a position he did not like.  Henry demanded a trade and was given one, to the Tennessee Titans to which he became Chris Johnson‘s backup.  Henry retired in 2007 after a year stint with the Denver Broncos.  Henry has since been past by Fred Jackson (3rd) on the all time rushing list and sits in 5th place behind Joe Cribbs.

Donte Whitner is the next player to don the jersey number 20 for the Bills.  Whitner played for the Bills from 2006-2010.  Whitner finished his rookie season with the Bills totaling 104 tackles and 1 interception.  His most productive game to date came back in 2010 with 18 tackles against the Pittsburgh Steelers.  He is currently a member of the Cleveland Browns roster after having a 3 year stint with the San Fransisco 49ers, 2011-2013.

Johnny White and Tashard Choice are the two remaining players to wear the number 20 for the Buffalo Bills.  White was drafted by the Bills in 2011 and played for them in only that year.  Choice was claimed off of waivers by the Bills in 2012.  Choice was re-signed by the Bills in 2012 and did get playing time when injuries occurred with both Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller.  He was later released by the team in December 2013.  He was signed by the Colts for the remainder of that season.