Known for his gigantic hands and gentle personality, Ernie Warlick arrived in Buffalo as a free agent with the Buffalo Bills in 1962, after four years of experience with the Calgary Roughriders (CFL) and a four-year stint in the military. As a mature leader, Ernie helped Coach Lou Saban mold together a group of young players into a championship team in less than three years.
With Ernie as a primary receiving threat from his tight end position, Saban developed an offense that allowed Warlick to lead the team in receptions in his first season. Along with being an outstanding blocker, Warlick went on to catch 90 passes for over 1,500 yards during his four-year career. Warlick was an important member of the 1964 and ’65 AFL Championship teams in Buffalo, catching a touchdown pass from Jack Kemp in the 1965 title game for the only offensive touchdown in a 23-0 victory over the San Diego Chargers.
Born and raised in Hickory, NC, Warlick attended segregated schools before the dawn of the civil rights movement. He graduated from North Carolina Central University where he starred in football and basketball. After retiring from the Bills, Ernie briefly worked at Channel 2, becoming the first African-American sportscaster in Western New York. He was inducted into the Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1998. He went on to own a hamburger franchise and serve as a regional sales representative, and continued to make his home in Amherst. He was an active member of the Buffalo Bills Alumni Association and served as its president and vice president over the years.