Inside The Bills

Smerlas vs. Hull the 1st practice

Posted by Chris Brown on October 19, 2011 – 6:23 pm

Bills Wall of Famer Fred Smerlas passed along a great story about how fellow Wall of Famer Kent Hull quickly earned his respect as a player upon arriving from the USFL. Enjoy.

I had the pleasure of meeting Kent when he first arrived in Fredonia from the USFL.  But my meeting was different than most.  I got to face him lined up in the trenches nose to nose….a place where the true character of a man is revealed,  or the true weakness of a man is exposed.  On that warm July day I was going to  show this new arrival to the Bills the difference between the USFL and the NFL.  My plan was to demoralize, demolish and completely destroy him. I wanted to send  Kent  home to tell all his USFL friends how tough the NFL was.
 
By the end of the day, as I was walking off the field, bloodied and bruised, I realized that the Buffalo Bills had acquired something special.
 
Kent Hull went on to become the greatest center the Bills have ever had. Not only did he win my respect and friendship, but also that of the entire team.  Over the years I learned not only to admire him for his physical dominance but also for his character as a man on and off the field. 
 
But  Kent also had a soft side;
he called my wife Kris  ‘the Pea’ in reference to a costume she wore to our first Halloween party together.
 
Number 67 will be greatly missed  not only by his family and friends but by the communities in which he lived.  Kris and I would like to extend our condolences and prayers to Kay, Drew and Ellen at this very sad time.
 
Fred Smerlas


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