Former Raiders 1st-round pick Buczkowski dies at 54


Bob Buczkowski, a first-round pick by the Raiders in 1986, was found dead in his home last week at the age of 54.

Buczkowski, nicknamed “Buck,” died “sitting in his chair” in Monroeville, Pennsylvania,  police Chief Doug Cole said via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Monroeville is just miles outside of Pittsburgh, where Buczkowski was born.

Cole also said he knew Buczkowski and the former NFL player had been under treatment for heart problems.

“There’s nothing suspicious about the death. As to the actual cause, we’ll have to see what the autopsy shows,” Cole said.

After a standout career at Pitt, Buczkowski was the 24th selection in the 1986 NFL draft by the then-Los Angeles Raiders.

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He played in just two games for the Raiders over two seasons and was out of football in 1988. He returned to play four games with the Cardinals in 1989 and finished his pro career with the Browns in 1990.

Of the 27 first-round draft picks from 1986, Buczkowski’s 21 NFL games rank as the fewest from that class. The defensive end recorded 1.5 sacks in his pro career.

After his playing career ended, Buczkowski ran afoul of the law in 2005 when he and his girlfriend were charged in connection with a prostitution ring.

He allegedly ran the ring out of his parents’ house in Monroeville; he acted as the “muscle” while his girlfriend was the “madam,” according to prosecutors.

Buczkowski not only pleaded guilty to promoting prostitution, but he also pleaded guilty to dealing cocaine and participating in a corrupt organization. After agreeing to testify against his co-defendants, Buczkowski was sentenced to nine months of house arrest.

His agent, Eric Metz, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Buczkowski was a loving person despite his flaws.

“He called everybody ‘little buddy.’ As it is with all God’s creatures, he had his flaws, but he never quit loving and caring for his parents and his son. Everybody loves ‘Buck’ regardless of the one glaring screw-up he made in his life,” Metz said.

Like many NFL players from his era, Buczkowski suffered from a litany of health problems in retirement, including three back surgeries, four shoulder surgeries and a broken ankle.

He also had leukemia, Type-2 diabetes and lung disease and started to experience memory loss and dementia caused by the concussions suffered during his playing career, his family said.

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His son Brayden, who is about to graduate high school and enroll at Pitt himself, has started a GoFundMe account on his father’s behalf to help pay for funeral costs among other payments.

The “Buczkowski Funeral & Family Support” effort has raised about $2,500 toward its goal of $25,000 as of Monday.

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Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009.
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009 and previously worked for ESPN, CBS and STATS Inc. A native of Louisiana, Ross now resides in Houston.
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