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Former Bills lineman Ben Williams passes away

Ben Williams was the first African American drafted out of Ole Miss into the NFL.
Credit: Associated Press

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Former Buffalo Bills lineman Ben Williams has passed away from natural causes. The team announced Monday afternoon. 

Williams was 65-years-old.

Williams spent his entire career with the Bills. Nicknamed "Gentle Ben" he was drafted by the Bills out of Ole Miss in the third round of the 1976 NFL draft. 

Williams was the first African American drafted out of Ole Miss into the NFL and he was the first African-American Ole Miss player to be named an All-American. 

Hall of Famer Bruce Smith has often said how Williams helped him with his technique in his rookie season. When Williams retired he was the Bills all time sack leader with 45.5. 

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