Former Buffalo Bills kicker Norwood makes first appearance in 20 years
Tuesday November 8, 2011 | By:Charles Roberts, Sports Reporter
Former Buffalo Bills place kicker Scott Norwood was the recipient of the 26th annual Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Distinguished Service Award, given to former players to celebrate accomplishments on and off the field, during Sunday’s game against the New York Jets.
The last time Norwood faced the media, his hair was brown and the home venue for the Bills was known as Rich Stadium. That was more than 20 years ago.
“A lot of cameras here,” said a soft-spoken Norwood, looking over the gathering of at least 20 reporters. “It's been a while since I was besieged in this manner. It feels terrific to be back. Not so much in front of the camera and speaking with people in the media, but it’s been nice to see some old teammates.”
Norwood played for the Bills from 1985-91 and still ranks among the best kickers in team history. His charitable work off the field is equally as impressive.
“I guess that the basis of my visit here is not so much for the football part of my career,” Norwood said. “I see the award more as a result of my service to the community. My work with Camp Good Days, Special Times and some other things were a little ancillary for a football player, but are an important part of the position.”
But it’s not the trip to Honolulu, Hawaii, for the 1988 Pro Bowl or lending a helping hand that resonates when his name is brought up. Norwood’s career is commonly linked to the 47-yard field goal attempt that went wide right as time expired during Super Bowl XXV – leaving the Bills one point shy of the New York Giants.
Norwood was greeted with overwhelming support by fans in the aftermath of the Super Bowl loss, but still wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the crowd during Sunday’s in-game ceremony.
“I don’t go into it with any pre-formed expectations,” Norwood said. “I would hope and think from my experience that it will be generally very positive.”
Many Bills fans cringe to this day when the words wide and right are mentioned in the same breath; Norwood’s likely no different. The sight of cameras and reporters armed with recording devices probably had the now grey-haired Norwood fearing the worst – a firing range of questions forcing him to relive eight haunting seconds of his life.
As it worked out, the closest anyone came was asking him to reflect on his career.
“I think coming back into this setting is definitely a time to look back,” Norwood said. “It’s not something many of us do in our normal lives. We are pretty set towards what is going on that particular day or the next week…I took it seriously while I was here and did the best I could in all situations.
“I handled myself the best I could.”
Cool and collected, Norwood accepted the award with a humble smile and gave a wave to the more than 70,000 fans at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The crowd rose to its feet in rousing ovation.
Wide right or not, Norwood’s legacy is defined by character – being one of the good guys. And now he has a piece of hardware to prove it.
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