by Scott Kindberg
April 28, 1987
The Buffalo Bills Pick Shane Conlan
Leaning against the kitchen table, Conlan, Frewsburg's favorite son, heard the words he'd been waiting for the better part of five years.
"Thank you very much," he said. I'm thrilled to be there."
So are the Bills.
Using the eighth pick in the National Football League draft, acquired from Houston in exchange for their third overall selection, the Bills were able to get the man Head Coach Marv Levy reportedly wanted all along.
"They said they were happy to have me," an obviously happy Conlan said.
"They said they wanted me all the way and they picked up a few choices besides."
"He fits right in to what we do," Levy told the Associated Press. He added that the Bills had two players targeted in the first round, Conlan and Mike Junkin, a linebacker from Duke, who was selected by Cleveland three picks before Buffalo.
"We decided when we traded down we'd be tickled to death to end up with either of those players," said Levy.
Conlan said the Bills have him projected as an outside linebacker, who will be lined up over the tight end.
"I'll give it everything I've got," he said. "I run decent...Whatever they want me to do."
There were some anxious moments, however, as there was speculation that the Green Bay Packers might select Conlan with the fourth pick. But when the Packers selected Miami's Alonzo Highsmith, San Diego traded their pick to Cleveland, St. Louis chose Kelly Stouffer of Colorado State and Detroit picked Washington's Reggie Rogers, Conlan was there for the taking.
"I'm very happy," he said. It'’s close to home. It's a great opportunity for me. I'd rather be here than anyplace."
His parents feel the same way.
"I'm very happy," Kay Conlan said. It's so close for us, plus he has a lot of friends in the area."
Added Dan Conlan, "Now we can see both of our boys play football (younger son Mike is a freshman at Rutgers), one on Saturday and one on Sunday."
And so can the hundreds of his fans in Western New York.
As a senior, Conlan was a consensus All-American choice, making first teams selected by the Football News, Walter Camp Football Foundation, Associated Press, Football Writers Association of America and the American Football Coaches Association. He was also among the five finalists for the Butkus Award, presented annually to the top linebacker in college football.
During his Penn State career, Conlan recorded 274 tackles, which ranks him in a tie for second place (with John Skorupan) on the Lions' lifetime list.
He usually saved his best performances for the biggest games. In the 1986 Orange Bowl, Conlan helped blunt Oklahoma's wishbone attack with six unassisted tackles, including three for losses, and a fumble recovery.
In this year's Fiesta Bowl, Conlan was named the defensive Most Valuable Player after registering eight tackles and intercepting Miami's Vinny Testaverde twice, the second theft leading directly to Penn State's game winning, fourth-quarter touchdown.