Polian praises his former Bills boss

February, 22, 2009
2/22/09
4:25
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

INDIANAPOLIS -- As bitterly as his tenure with the Buffalo Bills ended, Bill Polian is happy owner Ralph Wilson has been selected for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year.

Polian was the architect of the Buffalo's Super Bowl teams in the 1990s. Wilson hired him in 1984 and promoted him to general manager a year later. Polian's first move was to hire his old Canadian Football League buddy, Marv Levy, as head coach.

Polian oversaw a team that went to the Super Bowl four straight years, although he was out after their third trip. Some said Wilson grew weary of Polian's volatile temper. Others cited an internal management power struggle.

Polian, who eventually won a championship as Indianapolis Colts president, had nothing but kind words for Wilson.

"Thrilled that he made it for he and his family," Polian said Sunday afternoon at the NFL scouting combine in Lucas Oil Stadium. "He gave me my start as an executive in this business, and I'll always be grateful for it.

"He's a wonderful person, a man of his word, which I think most of those of you who voted recognized. That's one of the reasons he's in the Hall of Fame. He's a man of great conviction. He loved the game. He's given everything he's had to the game. It's great to see him honored.

"I hope I'll be able to be there [in Canton for Wilson's induction]. If not in body, I'll be there in spirit for sure."

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