Today we're going to select a center for the Buffalo Bills All-Decade team - mainly because we must. I know I caught a little grief for not including Andy Levitre on the guard post because he only had 16 starts. In this installment, I needed to use guys with only 16 starts or it would have been Trey Teague vs. Melvin Fowler, and I just wasn't prepared to put that to a vote. Vote for the best of the bunch.
Ostroski started all 16 games at center for Buffalo in 2000 as his career was winding down. The Bills signed him after the Chiefs cut him in 1994 and he made the most of his opportunity starting at least 13 games in six season. At this point in his career, he was finishing out the string. After the 2000 season, he played one year at guard for the Bills before hanging up his cleats. Ostroski's 2000 team was the only offense from the decade in the top ten in offensive yards.
Conaty had been with the Bills since 1997, but had only started two games when he was thrust into the starting lineup in 2001 to replace Ostroski at center. He started all 16 games that season before being released the next off-season. He's on this list because I made the cutoff 16 starts. That he made the list shows you how pathetic this list truly is.
Trey Teague was the longest-tenured center of the decade for Buffalo. He started for four years at the pivot beginning in 2002, missing four games in 2004. He was the center for each of All-Decade QB Drew Bledsoe's seasons in Buffalo before retiring following the 2005 season. The four years with Teague at the pivot were easily the highest rushing totals of the decade, with Travis Henry and Willis McGahee each posting two thousand-yard seasons.
Wow. Melvin Fowler made this list. Fowler was signed as a free agent before the 2006 season and immediately was penciled in to replace Teague. He started the next 37 games at center for the Bills before being unceremoniously replaced mid-season by Duke Preston.
Hangartner was one of the Bills marquee signings of the 2009 off-season. He started all 16 game at center last season, an amazing feat considering the other injuries on the offensive line, when the Bills played three QBs behind him. "Hangman" was also flanked by rookies Eric Wood and Andy Levitre, making his job even more difficult.
Now it's your turn to vote on who was the best Bills center of the decade. Leave your rationale in the comments section. The next installment will decide the kicker and punter of the decade. Bet you can't figure those two out.