ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Former Bills linebacker Harry Jacobs, who was a key member of Buffalo’s 1964 and ’65 AFL champion teams, died on Friday. He was 84.

The team announced Jacobs’ death. He was battling numerous illnesses, including Alzheimer’s, and living in a nursing home just outside of Buffalo.

Jacobs played for the Bills from 1963 to 1969. He began his career with the Boston Patriots in 1960 and finished with the New Orleans Saints in 1970. Alongside fellow linebackers Mike Stratton and John Tracey, Jacobs helped solidify a dominant Bills defense that allowed the fewest points in the AFL in 1964, 1965 and 1966, and shut out the high-scoring San Diego Chargers in the 1965 AFL Championship Game.

From Canton, Ohio, he spent his college career playing at Bradley University in Illinois.

Jacobs was Buffalo’s signal-caller on defense, and a respected leader in the locker room.

“He was such a competitor,” former Bills wide receiver Ed Rutkowski told The Buffalo News. “I recall there were times we’d go in on offense and it’d be three-and-out, three-and-out, three-and-out. And the next time we’d come off the field as the defense was going in, Harry would be yelling at us, ‘Don’t worry, you guys. If you can’t score on offense, we’ll score on defense.’”


Jacobs made the AFL all-star team in 1965 and 1969. He was inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.

Jacobs remained in the Buffalo area, where he had a successful business career as an insurance salesman following his playing days. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Kay, two children, eight grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been finalized.


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