BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Buffalo Bills fans are rallying to support Darryl Talley after the team's former star linebacker revealed he is dealing with depression and experiencing financial difficulties.
As of noon Monday, more than 3,000 contributors have donated nearly $139,000 on a fundraising website set up to assist Talley and his family.
"It's completely overwhelming," said Frank Croisdale, a longtime Bills fan who established the campaign (http://www.gofundme.com/hvkgjo# ) on Thanksgiving Day.
"I had hopes that it would spur some involvement from people, but I had no idea it was going to be such a nationwide effort."
Croisdale set up the fund shortly after reading about Talley's troubles in a lengthy story published in The Buffalo News.
Talley said he was experiencing bouts of memory loss, had trouble sleeping and had contemplated suicide in what he considered to be side effects from his hard-hitting playing days. 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," said Talley, who played his first 12 seasons in Buffalo. "But the future doesn't look bright."
The two-time Pro Bowl selection and member of the Bills Wall of Fame also noted that 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 provided monetary assistance 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 fund has also attracted attention in West Virginia, where Talley played college, and even from fans of the Bills' AFC East rival Miami Dolphins.
"When you talk about bridging the divide between Bills and Dolphins fans, you've done something," Croisdale said. "It's humbling. It's heartwarming. I've shed so many tears over the past few days, and it's been amazing."
Croisdale has been in contact with Talley's wife, Janine, and said it's unclear yet how the family will deal with the donations.
Croisdale said the fund is set up in a way that only the Talleys have access to the money raised, minus a 5 percent fee to the website, and a 2.9 percent credit card-processing fee.
Darryl Talley did not return a phone and text message on Monday.
Thurman Thomas' wife, Patti, said the response makes her proud to call Buffalo home.
"It's a beautiful thing when people give of their time and money to anyone in need without judging their situation: They just give," she said. "The Talleys didn't expect it, and have not stopped crying over the support for their family."
Bills Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly showed his support by wearing Talley's No. 56 jersey while waving the team's flag during player introductions before Buffalo's home game against Cleveland on Sunday.
Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy is heartened by the support.
"It's just wonderful. It attests to what I always thought about Buffalo fans: They're the best," Levy said. "Their response to someone like Darryl Talley represents the sense of community there is there."
In speaking with his former player over the weekend, Levy said Talley "seemed very uplifted to hear about the tremendously positive responses he's received."
Levy wondered if the Bills might have a role for Talley in alumni or player relations.
"I would hope they might consider bringing him in," Levy said. "Because if he came in and went to work on something, he would go at it like you can't believe."
The Bills declined comment.
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