Jim Kelly honored former Buffalo Bills teammate Darryl Talley on Sunday, wearing Talley’s No. 56 as he led the team onto the field during player introductions in Sunday’s game.
Talley was the subject of an extensive profile from the Buffalo News published on Thanksgiving, detailing the hardships the beloved Bills player has faced since retirement. Talley’s body was ravaged by injury, and a number of concussions left him deeply depressed and suffering from memory loss.
Talley also lost his business during the financial collapse in 2008. He sold his NFL pension for 25 percent of its value in an effort to keep the business afloat and to save the jobs of his employees, but it ultimately did not work.
After the story, one fan started an online fundraiser that has attracted more than 2,000 donations from fans of the Buffalo Bills and West Virginia University Mountineers, Talley’s alma mater.
The site explains the situation.
“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.”
The jersey Jim Kelly wore onto the field did not have a name on the back, but it’s widely known that the Bills from the team’s playoff run in the early 1990s have remained extremely close. When Talley faced foreclosure, a group of players, including Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, and Cornelius Bennett, collected money to secretly give to Talley’s wife for a down payment on a new rental house.
Darryl Talley is not the only player to rally Buffalo Bills fans together recently. When Jim Kelly was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year, thousands of fans signed cards and left well-wishes for Kelly and his family.