Former AFL Bills star receiver Elbert Dubenion dies at 86

NFL

Elbert Dubenion, a receiver who played key roles in the Buffalo Bills winning consecutive American Football League championships in the mid-1960s, has died. He was 86.

The Bills said Dubenion died Thursday, 55 years to the day of Buffalo winning its first AFL title with a 20-7 victory over the San Diego Chargers. Dubenion had been living in Ohio and battling Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.

Born in Griffin, Georgia, Dubenion was nicknamed ”Golden Wheels” for his speed. He played at Bluffton College in Ohio and was 27 when signed by the Bills before their inaugural season in 1960. He played his entire nine-year career in Buffalo and was enshrined on the team’s Wall of Fame in 1995.

Dubenion led the Bills in yards receiving five times, including 1964, when he had 42 catches for a career-best 1,139 yards and 10 touchdowns in becoming quarterback Jack Kemp’s favorite target. Dubenon’s 27.1 yards per reception that season led the AFL and still stands as a team record, and his touchdown total is tied for second among the Bills for one season.

”Duby was our touchdown man,” former teammate and cornerback Booker Edgerson once told The Buffalo News. ”They loved to throw him the bomb.”

Dubenion’s 5,294 career-yards receiving and 35 touchdowns receiving still rank fourth on the team list. He also scored three touchdowns rushing, and one on kickoff return.

He finished ranked seventh among AFL players in catches and yards receiving. Dubenion’s 93-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Daryle Lamonica in a 26-8 playoff loss to the Boston Patriots in 1963 is the longest in AFL postseason history.

Dubenion began a long career as a scout following his retirement, including two separate stints with the Bills. He also scouted for the Miami Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons.

Funeral arrangements aren’t available.

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