Booker Edgerson

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Buffalo Bills Cornerback

The Buffalo Bills of the American Football League won two championships in the mid-1960s with a stifling and punishing defense. One of the cornerstones of that defense was its left cornerback, Booker Edgerson.

One of the finest athletes to spring from the town of Rock Island, Illinois, Bpooker turned down numerous offers from prestigious Division I colleges, opting to stay close to home at Western Illinois University. A four-year letterman in football, baseball, wrestling, and track and field, Edgerson made his strongest impact on the gridiron, leading Western Illinois to the only consecutive undefeated seasons in school history (1959 and 1960).

After being overlooked in the 1962 AFL draft, Booker signed as a free agent with the Buffalo Bills. He stepped into a starting role that season at left cornerback, made a career-high six interceptions (including two in his first game, against Hall of Fame quarterback George Blanda), was named to the AFL All-Rookie team. And was a finalist for league Rookie-of-the-Year.

Edgerson’s background as a collegiate sprinter (9.7 in the 100-yard dash) and long jumper served him well in the demanding role of man-to-man pass coverage. The AFL featured many dangerous receivers at that time (including San Diego’s Lance Alworth, a speedster who in his career was caught from behind by a defender just once – by Edgerson), but Booker persevered year after year in his difficult task as one of the key components of the league’s best defense.

That defense propelled the team to great heights, and provided Booker the opportunity to play in three consecutive AFL Championship games. The Bills prevailed in the first two of those contests, whipping the San Diego Chargers in 1964 and 1965.

Edgerson had 23 interceptions in his eight-year career in Buffalo. And scored on two (including one against Joe Namath). He also returned a fumble (actually, a stolen football) for the deciding score in a 1969 game against the Bengals played in blizzard conditions.

Edgerson was traded to Denver in 1970, but played only six games for the Broncos (and former Bills coach Lou Saban) before a knee injury cut short his career. Booker returned to Buffalo, and since 1980 has assisted his community, first as Assistant Director of the Erie County CETA employment program, and later as Director of Affirmative Action for Erie Community College, a post he currently holds. Booker has also been involved in numerous charitable endeavors through the Bills Alumni, and those efforts won him recognition as 1993 recipient of the Ralph C. Wilson Award by the Bills Monday Morning Quarterback Club.

Booker’s induction into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame is the result of not only an outstanding athletic career, but years of “giving back” to the community he has called home since his playing days ended.


The Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame would like to congratulate Booker Edgerson on the honor of becoming the next Buffalo Bill to have his name placed on the Bills Wall of Fame. Booker Edgerson was a Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame inductee of the Class of 2001, and he is a current GBSHOF board member. Booker will join the likes of Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith, George Saimes, Joe DeLamielleure, and many other great Bills of the past.