Edward John Anthony Rutkowski (born March 21, 1941 in Kingston, Pennsylvania) is a former American football player, and a former politician in Buffalo, New York. Rutkowksi was a noted college and professional American football player. A wide receiver, he was an American Football League All-Star in 1965, playing for the AFL's Buffalo Bills as a receiver, defensive back, punt and kickoff return man and backup quarterback from 1963 to 1968. In a famous Topps football card mixup, Rutkowski was shown on two Buffalo Bills' football cards, his own, and mistakenly on the card for Ray Abruzzese. Rutkowski closed out his Pro Football career by playing seven games as a backup quarterback with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League in 1969. From 1972-78 and again in 1990, Rutkowski served as a color commentator on the Bills' radio broadcasts. In 1979, he became the County Executive of Erie County, New York, succeeeding Edward Regan, who stepped down to become New York State Comptroller. Rutkowski was elected to full terms in 1979 and 1983, following his one year unexpired term, for a total of nine years in office. In 1987, Rutkowski was defeated for reelection by Assemblyman Dennis Gorski, who, in his election campaign, claimed that Rutkowski had mismanaged county finances and spent the county into a deficit.
In 1995, Rutkowski was appointed by Gov. George Pataki as deputy commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. In this post, he was charge of all state parks and recreations operations in Western New York, including Niagara Falls. He held the post for 12 years, until Pataki left office.
He was the second quarterback from the Bills to enter politics; the first was his teammate Jack Kemp. Incidentally, both were Republicans.
By Dean Hanley
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