Darryl Talley was known as the quintessential Buffalo Bills player, a tough-as-nails linebacker who played through injuries and helped lead the team to four consecutive Super Bowls in the early 1990s.
But his post-playing career has not gone as smoothly. Talley’s body has been ravaged by injuries that left him in near-constant pain and unable to lift his arms above his shoulders. Talley is also showing signs of early onset dementia, with countless concussions leaving him forgetful and deeply depressed.
After Buffalo News reporter Tim Graham documented the plight Darryl Talley has suffered — including the financial ruin of his business failing in 2008, and Talley selling his pension in a failed effort to keep it afloat — Buffalo Bills fans are responding. One fan started an online fundraiser to help Talley with medical bills. In less than a day, the effort raised more than $37,000, with the amount rising rapidly.
The site reads, “Darryl Talley was the quintessential Buffalo Bill. He was the on-field General for the teams that went to four straight Super Bowls.”
“He gave everything he had on every play and left it all on the field.The years of abuse on the field took their toll and today Darryl is in a bad place. His body has broken down, his money is all but gone and depression has taken hold of the man Bills’ fans affectionately call, ‘Spider-Man.’
“Darryl is the proudest of men and it took a lot for him to even admit publicly that he needed help. For 12 years he circled the wagons for us, now it’s time for Bills’ fans to return the favor for our favorite son.
“Please consider giving any amount you can so we can show Darryl Talley that he is and always will be #1 in the hearts of Bills’ fans.”
Many of the fans chipping in to the Darryl Talley fundraiser said he was one of their favorite players. While playing on a team with future Hall of Famers Jim Kelly, Andre Reed, Thurman Thomas, and Bruce Smith, it was Talley often seen as the heart and soul of the team.
“I was heartbroken to hear DT’s story as I have been a huge fan of his since I was a little girl. I am proud to be a part of this campaign and hope there is a happy ending to this story. Best of luck, DT,” wrote one donor identified as Nikki Benatovich.
It turns out many fans were touched by the plight of Darryl Talley. In the late morning on Friday, donations were coming in at the rate of several thousand dollars an hour.