ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Mark Pike, a Bills special teams standout during Buffalo’s AFC championship-winning runs in the 1990s, died Wednesday following a battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He was 57.
The Buffalo Bills announced Pike died after his condition worsened as a result of COVID-19 followed by a bout with pneumonia. Pike was from Elizabethtown, Kentucky, and had resettled in the area following a 12-year career with the Bills, spanning 1987-98.
Listed as both a linebacker and defensive end, Pike was selected by the Bills in the seventh round of the 1986 draft out of Georgia Tech. At 6-foot-4 and 272 pounds, Pike carved a niche on Buffalo’s special teams units. He still holds the franchise record in being credited with 255 career special teams tackles. The total ranks second in the NFL behind New England’s Larry Izzo, who was credited with 298.
Pike played alongside receiver Steve Tasker in providing Bills’ coverage units a combination of size and speed.
“He was a big man who played special teams which was a matchup nightmare for our opponents,” Tasker told the Bills’ website. “While I would draw some people out and they would have to defend my speed and my ability to keep leverage and cut the field off, he was a breaking bulldozer, man. He was an absolute freight train.”
Pike was part of Buffalo’s Jim Kelly-led teams which made, and lost, four consecutive Super Bowl appearances spanning the 1990-93 seasons.
Pike is survived by his wife Sharon, their sons Ezekiel and Malachi, and daughter Kramer. Funeral arrangements were not immediately available.