Inside The Bills

Cookie memories

Posted by Chris Brown on January 10, 2011 – 4:06 pm

Bills former WR/HB/DB Ed Rutkowski was Cookie Gilchrist’s teammate for all three seasons that he was with the Bills and recalled some humorous anecdotes from Gilchrist’s time with the club on this the day of his passing at age 75.

Everyone knows about Gilchrist’s desire to make a fortune selling Christmas trees outside the stadium that he had brought down with him from Canada, which failed because Buffalo had a warm spell with temps in the 50’s, but there was another business-minded idea Cookie had. 

“He was as Jack Kemp used to call him a true entrepreneur,” Rutkowski told Buffalobills.com. “Cookie wanted three contracts. He wanted a contract to play offense, a contract to play defense and a contract to play special teams. He wanted to play middle linebacker in addition to running back and kicking when he was here, and maybe Ralph (Wilson) should’ve done that because he was a tremendously gifted ball player.”

Rutkowski also laughs when he recalls a particular West coast trip. Back in the AFL days the Bills would play Denver, Oakland and San Diego in consecutive weeks and would stay on the West coast to save money.

“After practices while we were out there we would go to the hotel,” said Rutkowksi. “There was a swimming pool at the hotel, so we would get back from practice and change into our swim trunks. So we were out basking in the sun one day and we all see Cookie climbing the ladder of the high diving board. We’re all sitting on the pool deck watching him and he shouts down, ‘Hey guys watch this.’

“We thought he was going to do a swan dive or a jack knife and he jumped off the side of the board to the right and he almost hit the side of the pool because he landed just two feet from the wall. And after he surfaced we could see him thrashing and thrashing around and Booker (Edgerson) was sitting next to us and he said, ‘Guys the man can’t swim.’ So we had to run over and drag him out of the pool. It was incredible.”


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