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Hayden Goethe, Published May 06 2011

Buffalo Bills to give Phil Hansen a spot on team's Wall of Fame

FARGO – Phil Hansen never considered himself to be a superstar during his 11-year NFL career. But the Buffalo Bills are treating him like a legend.

The Bills will honor the former defensive lineman from Oakes, N.D., at halftime of one of the team’s home games this season by making him the 27th inductee on the team’s Wall of Fame at the Bills’ stadium.

“I was shocked,” said Hansen, who does color commentary for North Dakota State football radio broadcasts. He played at NDSU.

Hansen said he found out after receiving a phone call from a phone number he didn’t recognize last week. The call was coming from

92-year-old Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson and Wilson’s wife, Mary.

Hansen said when he was told of the honor, he thought it must be a crank call. But as the call went on, he recognized Wilson’s laugh.

“It was an older gentleman on the line so it seemed odd that it was a crank call,” Hansen said. “We had a chuckle and I distinctly remembered his laugh.”

Hansen said Wall of Fame inductees are selected by Wilson, the Buffalo media and people in the organization.

He plans to talk to his wife before deciding which of the Bills home games he will choose to be honored at.

Hansen ranks third on the team’s career sacks list with 61.5 after spending his entire career with the Bills from 1991 to 2001. He will join former teammates Jim Kelly and Bruce Smith on the Wall of Fame.

The Bills made four straight Super Bowl appearances starting in 1990. Hansen was with the team for three of them.

“The people on the (Wall) are the guys I played with,” Hansen said. “They were superstars. … I never dreamed to be up on the board with those guys. It’s quite an honor.”

The Bills are scheduled to open the regular season Sept. 11 at Kansas City. They open their home schedule Sept. 18 against Oakland. But the ongoing NFL lockout of the league’s players threatens the start of the season.

“We’ll have to adjust as that happens,” Hansen said. “I think the next pressure point will be once the preseason starts. The owners and players will have a lot more pressure on them. I’m glad I didn’t have to deal with this when I played for the Bills.”

Readers can reach Forum Assistant Sports Editor Hayden Goethe at (701) 241-5558