Buffalo Lends a Helping Hand

Former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly gestures prior to an NFL football game between the Bills and the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014, in Orchard Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert) ORG XMIT: NYJC10

Buffalo, New York. The home of the Bills and the Sabres. Year and years of coming oh-so-close but never actually winning it all. Long, brutal winters. Economic depression. Just about anyone will tell you it’s not choice one where you want to get drafted if you’re an aspiring football or hockey player. Everyone except former Bills star linebacker Darryl Talley that is.

Just before Thanksgiving this year, the 54-year-old Talley, who played with the Bills from 1982 through 1994, acknowledged in a Buffalo News interview with Tim Graham that he suffers from depression, had lost his business, had his home foreclosed upon and has thought about suicide. Its another sad story of what’s happened to many of the men who made careers based on violent collisions in the NFL through the years. And while our legal systems sorts to shift though the muddy waters of claims against the league, we continue to hear story after story with the same theme – Talley being the latest.

But as tragic as this story is, the results of the article have been just as heartwarming. Life-long Bills fan Frank Croisdale read the article and decided to do something to help. “After reading that story, one name popped into my head: Junior Seau,” Croisdale said referencing the Chargers star linebacker who committed suicide in 2012. “I didn’t want to read about Darryl in the same way.”

So Croisdale started a crowdfunding campaign through GoFundMe with the hopes of helping out one of his football heroes. He threw in the first $100 and set his goal high with the hope of $100,000 within the first month. That amount was met and past in the first 58 hours, and has now gone past $150,000 in two weeks as more than 3,300 people have dug into their pockets to help the man who helped the Bills reach four consecutive Super Bowls in the 90s.

Talley said he struggled with whether or not to accept the money at first as the fund raising effort was completely unexpected. He said he originally spoke to Graham in hopes of highlighting the mental and physical struggles faced by former NFL players, but was ultimately talked into accepting the help. “This is heavy duty, man,” Talley said. “It could very well save my life.”

“I’m not surprised about the fans of the Buffalo Bills, what they did with their hearts and with their pocket books,” Croisdale said. “I am surprised by the number, the magnitude and the speed at which it took off. This just shows what an incredible bond Bills and Mountaineers fans (Talley played at West Virginia) had for Darryl,” Croisdale said.

GoFundMe spokesperson Kelsea Little said the site will transfer the money directly to Talley through his wife Janine, who Croisdale has been in touch with.

“I’ve been a Bills fan all my life,” said Croisdale,”And I’ve never been more proud than this moment.”

So you can say all the negative things you want to say about Buffalo. Frank Croisdale and Darryl Talley would strongly disagree.

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Tom Fireoved is the Co-Founder of ScoreBoardTX and President of Franchise Sports & Entertainment, a Dallas based athlete marketing and consulting agency. He formerly served as Vice President of the Texas Rangers and Executive Vice President of the Dallas Stars.


  1. Thank you for the kind words and the great column, Tom.

    I am delighted that Darryl accepted the funds and that so many people from Buffalo and West Virginia came together to illustrate what incredible bonds exist between players and their fan bases.

    • My pleasure Frank! We are finishing a documentary on Tony Dorsett and the issues he’s dealing with so I’m unfortunately familiar with the symptoms. Was a wonderful gesture you made.

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