ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Darryl Talley and his family can’t thank their fans enough.
Overwhelmed by the wealth of support he received at his time of need, the former Buffalo Bills star linebacker accepted nearly $153,000 in donations generated in two weeks during an impromptu Internet fundraiser that popped up after revelations of health problems he considers side effects from his hard-hitting play.
“The Talley family would like to express their deepest appreciation for everyone’s concern and support,” the family said Wednesday in a statement issued by Frank Croisdale, the fundraising campaign’s founder. “We’d especially like to thank the Buffalo Bills and West Virginia University Mountaineers fans for their immense outpouring of kindness.”
Talley played college football at West Virginia, then his first 12 NFL seasons in Buffalo.
Croisdale is a long-time Bills fan who started the campaign (http://www.gofundme.com/hvkgjo) on Thanksgiving Day.
The site attracted more than 3,400 donations totaling $152,909. Minus a 5 percent website charge and a 2.9 percent credit card processing fee, Croisdale said he transferred more than $140,000 to the Talleys on Tuesday.
The fundraiser was prompted shortly after Croisdale read about Talley’s troubles in a lengthy story published in The Buffalo News.
Talley told the newspaper he was experiencing bouts of memory loss, had trouble sleeping and had contemplated suicide. He said he lives in constant pain as a result of the 14 operations he had during his 14-season NFL career spanning 1983-96.
“I’m not convinced that I’m dead yet,” the 54-year-old Talley said. “But the future doesn’t look bright.”
The two-time Pro Bowl selection and member of the Bills Wall of Fame also said he is having difficulty making ends meet after the company he owned was forced to close during the 2008 financial crisis.
Former Bills teammates, including Hall of Famers Bruce Smith and Thurman Thomas, have given money to Talley and his wife to rent their home in Orlando, Florida. They also assisted in paying part of his daughter’s college tuition.
Croisdale said the family is now focused on helping Talley receive treatment.
“I know this money is already impacting Darryl’s life,” said Croisdale, who has kept in touch with the Talleys over the past two weeks. “And I’m hoping it buys some much-needed time to get his health on track and his life moving in the right direction.”
Croisdale said he was taken aback by the response from fans.
“I’m delighted so many people felt the same way as I did about Darryl and his plight, and stepped forward,” he said.