Bruce Smith didn't need to hold his breath too long. He's in the Hall of Fame --- and he'll have company too.
Smith and the only owner the Buffalo Bills have ever had, Ralph Wilson, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. The duo are the eighth and ninth Bills to be enshrined. They'll be joined by Rod Woodson, Randall McDaniel, Bob Hayes and Derrick Thomas.
It's good timing, too. The Bills will be playing the Tennessee Titans in the Hall of Fame Game Aug. 9, one day after Smith and Wilson are inducted.
Considered a shoe-in for the Hall on the first ballot, Smith is the NFL's all-time sacks leader (200). Smith was a stalwart on Buffalo's AFC title defenses, making 11 Pro Bowls in all.
Wilson's stature stretches beyond the Bills franchise. He was in figure in the emergence of the AFL. Specifically, Wilson pioneered television deals for the AFL which greatly enhanced exposure. While not quite as influential as Kansas City's Lamar Hunt, Wilson was a leading figure in merging the AFL with the NFL in 1966.
Wilson and Smith add to an illustrious list of Bills in Canton: O.J. Simpson (1985), Billy Shaw (1999), Jim Kelly (2001), Marv Levy (2001), Joe DeLamielleure (2003), James Lofton (2003) and Thurman Thomas (2007).
Last week, current Hall of Fame Bills Kelly and Levy talked about Smith, Wilson and Andre Reed, who did not make the Hall on his first ballot attempt.
Click here for Levy's transcript.
And here for Kelly's transcript.
Stay tuned to the BFR as we take a look at the legacy Bruce Smith and Ralph Wilson have in Buffalo this coming week…