AP Sources: Bills center Eric Wood intends to retire

Two people with direct knowledge of the situation have confirmed to The Associated Press that Buffalo Bills veteran center Eric Wood is retiring because of a neck injury. The people spoke to The AP on the condition of anonymity Friday because Wood and the Bills haven't announced the decision. SCOUT Fantasy Sports first reported the news on its Twitter account earlier in the day. The decision comes as a surprise after Wood happily looked forward to next season a day after the Bills' season ended with a 10-3 loss to Jacksonville in the AFC wild card playoff on Jan. 7. It was Buffalo's first postseason appearance in 18 years. Wood, who completed his ninth year with Buffalo, was the team's second-longest active tenured player. Last summer, the Bills signed Wood to a two-year contract extension that ran through the end of the 2019 season. The 31-year-old was selected with the second of Buffalo's two first-round picks in the 2009 draft. He's been a starter since his rookie season. Wood has been a team leader and popular in the community because of his contributions to local charities. ___ AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Continue Reading

Jerry Sullivan: Loss of Eric Wood leaves hole on field and in community

A few minutes after the Bills picked Eric Wood with the 28th pick of the 2009 NFL draft, I was on the phone with my old pal, Geoff Hobson, who writes for the Bengals.com website. Hobson got to know Wood when Eric, who played college ball at Louisville, was a high school star in his native Cincinnati. "You just got your next Kent Hull," Geoff told me. "He'll anchor the line for 10 years and be a great go-to guy for you in the locker room." Hobson knew what it meant to Buffalo people to hear the comparisons to Hull, one of the most beloved of the Super Bowl Bills and a respected source of insight and wisdom for the reporters. At it turned out, he was right. The affable, curly-haired Wood soon became the center on the Bills' offensive line, a reliable force on the field and a stand-up guy off it. Sadly, Wood didn't quite make it to the 10-year mark. He played nine seasons for the Bills. His career came to a sudden end on Friday with the shocking news that he would have to retire because of a neck injury. As of this writing, there was no official word on what caused the injury. Wood told the team he didn't want the news out, though it's hard to keep anything this serious a secret nowadays. There's a news conference scheduled for Monday, which will be a sad beginning for Super Bowl week for fans in Buffalo. Wood was truly one of the good guys, a fixture in the community and a faithful, if generally diplomatic, resource for the media. He was the Bills' nominee for the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year award in both 2015 and '16. His Eric Wood fund raised more than $57,000 at a November fundraiser for the John R. Oishei Children's Hospital of Buffalo. He gave his time to countless community causes, including the Bills' Play 60 Program, Teammates for Kids, and Make A Wish. When healthy, he was equally reliable on the field. This past season, Wood played in 100 percent of the offensive snaps as the Bills broke their 17-year playoff drought. He helped pave the way for Continue Reading

Twitter thanks Eric Wood after career-ending neck injury

Bills center Eric Wood has suffered a career-ending neck injury, sources confirmed to The News on Friday morning. Bills fans and media thanked Wood, who recently welcomed a newborn son, donated time and money to the community and played on the team that broke the Bills 17-year playoff drought. "To end the drought is special," Wood told reporters at the Bills end-of-season press conference. "That was one of our goals heading into the year. Once we got in the dance, it’s obviously disappointing we didn’t make anything of it in a game that was very winnable (against the Jaguars). That hurts, but looking back and reflecting, ending the drought feels great. I’m just so glad I won’t have to answer ‘so what’s different this year? How are we going to end the drought this year?’" I am so glad the Bills ended the drought this year so that Eric was able to play in the playoffs. I’m so sad about this news, and I can’t even imagine how he’s feeling. But this makes ending the drought this year just that much more meaningful. #Bills #GoBills #BillsMafia — 𝔸𝕕𝕒𝕞 (@sharpndpensel) January 26, 2018 @EWood70 I am crying for you right now, sick, just sick. As a former Halo wearer of 7months, facture C1-2, I also feel your pain. Barro neurological, Dr Steve Chang, saved my life. Prayers to you and yours. — New Era @theRalph (@nleaclark) January 26, 2018 It's a shame for any player to be told he prematurely has to stop playing but feel even more sad if it's eric wood. — Howard WGR (@hsimon62) January 26, 2018 Thank you @EWood70 for many memories. I wish you much happiness and better health. Take care of you and your family. — Theresa (@TheresaMarie18) January 26, 2018 Hate to see it’s Eric Wood. Class act, true professional and great role model — Gucci Tone (@Tony_Missana) January 26, 2018 Sad news hearing about @EWood70 Never want to see a Continue Reading

Bills fans making donation to children’s hospital to say thank you to Eric Wood

Following the generosity of Bills fans to the Andy and Jordan Dalton Foundation, the Bills Mafia has begun making $70 donations in honor of Eric Wood to the Children's Hospital of Buffalo Foundation. Wood is being forced to retire with a neck injury, sources said Friday. Neither the Bills nor Wood has commented. Donations are being made via this link. Wood, through his own Eric Wood Fund, partnered with the Children's Hospital during the season for a series of events in the fall. The annual Flights and Bites event raised $57,000 for the foundation and Stone's Buddies, a program to help families of chronically ill children who have spent significant time in the hospital. “We are grateful to everyone who participated, and for their role in helping to support our community’s children who face chronic illness, special needs and physical challenges,” Wood said after the event. “Year after year, our city demonstrates its generosity and selflessness. This special evening’s results prove the power of teamwork.” Wood, with help from several Bills offensive linemen, also helped take 50 kids who have spent significant time in the hospital this year to dinner and on a shopping spree with $300 to spend at Walmart. Much like the donations to Dalton's foundation and an organization supporting Bengals receiver Tyler Boyd after the Bengals' dramatic Week 17 win helped the Bills get into the playoffs, the campaign for Wood is being driven by Bills fans on social media. Among the most prominent people sharing tweets and urging support is Del Reid from 26 Shirts. "By giving to a charitable cause that a player has invested his time and efforts in off the field, fans are able to tangibly thank that player for the joy he's brought them by his actions on the field," Reid said. "Calling Eric Wood a class act isn’t enough. I’m struggling to find adequate words to describe him. He is one of the most humble and selfless professional athletes Continue Reading

Reports: Former Louisville offensive lineman Eric Wood has career-ending injury

This story will be updated.Eric Wood, an offensive lineman well-known in Louisville football history, has had his career cut short by a neck injury, according to media reports Friday.Wood, 31, just finished his ninth pro season and spent all of them with the Buffalo Bills. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Wood's injury was "partly due to wear and tear" but also a "complicated medical situation." Scout Fantasy first reported the news.Wood started 120 games in his career after the Bills drafted him in the first round in 2009. He made the Pro Bowl in 2016 and played in his first career playoff game this month when the Bills lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars.At Louisville, Wood was a four-year starter at center and a part of the Cardinals' record-breaking 2006 season, which ended in the Orange Bowl.Wood signed a two-year, $16 million contract extension with the Bills last summer. He was the Bills' nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award twice, in 2015 and 2016. He established a foundation to aid children with severe illnesses or special needs in the Buffalo area, inspired by his brother who passed away at age 11 with cerebral palsy.Wood came to Louisville from Elder High School in Cincinnati. Morning Coffee: WKU quarterback Mike White getting a little NFL draft buzz at Senior Bowl See also: With many NFL draft decisions in, the ACC isn’t getting any easier for Louisville   Continue Reading

Reports: Neck injury to force Bills center Eric Wood to retire

According to multiple reports, Buffalo Bills center Eric Wood is going to announce his retirement Monday due to a neck injury.It is not believed to be an injury he recently suffered, or even something that plagued him during the 2017 season. Rather, Wood is walking away from the game due to the long-term effects of wear and tear playing nine years in the NFL at such a grueling position.Wood, 31, a nine-year veteran was a first-round pick of the Bills in 2009, and has been a starter on the offensive line from day one. He finishes with 120 career games played, all of them starts. He missed approximately half of the 2011 and 2016 seasons due to torn ACL in his knee, and a broken leg.Through the years, Wood became one of the vital team leaders in the Bills’ locker room who was able to lead by example on the field as well.Away from New Era Field, Wood has been a pillar in the Buffalo community.The Eric Wood Foundation was formed 2014, and the mission statement has been to provide seriously ill, special needs, and physically-challenged children throughout Greater Buffalo and Louisville (where Wood, his wife Leslie, their daughter Grace and newborn son Garrett live) with daily encouragement and life-changing experiences.Each year, Wood has hosted an Operation Big Santa event at Buffalo-area retail stores such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, Target, and Wal-Mart, where he provided more than $20,000 in shopping sprees to children of at-risk families with seriously ill and special needs children. “To see the looks on their faces, it’s awesome,” he told the Democrat and Chronicle in 2016. “Around the holidays it can be a tough time on families, so to be able to do that is awesome.”In October, the foundation has hosted a date night event at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo where couples - parents of children with special needs and serious illnesses - are treated to a relaxing dinner while Eric and volunteers entertained the kids with a series of fun Continue Reading

Eric Wood, who played in 100 percent of snaps, excited for Bills’ future

Eric Wood again played in 100 percent of the Bills' offensive snaps this season -- all 1,052. The veteran center's season ended early last year with a broken leg, but he has consistently played almost every snap in previous seasons, including 100 percent in 2013 and 2015 and 99.7 percent in 2015. He was the only Bill to play in 100 percent this season. Richie Incognito, who played every snap in 2015 and 99.7 percent in 2016, played in 98.9 percent this season. Here is some of what Wood told reporters at the end of the season: Q: You have to be able to appreciate what this team accomplished this year?A: Yeah, for sure. To end the drought is special. That was one of our goals heading into the year. Once we got in the dance, it’s obviously disappointing we didn’t make anything of it in a game that was very winnable (against the Jaguars). That hurts, but looking back and reflecting, ending the drought feels great. I’m just so glad I won’t have to answer ‘so what’s different this year? How are we going to end the drought this year?’ Now, it’s [about how] we have a foundation to build on. Let’s keep improving and let’s go try and win a Super Bowl. Q: When it comes to improving on offense, obviously, there’s been a lack of finish for much of the season, what needs to happen there to take that next step forward on offense, do you think?A: I’m honestly not sure. I’ll let the coaches and staff handle that. I think we have a lot of great pieces on offense, so I do have confidence moving forward. Q: You talk about now you don’t have to answer the questions about the drought, but last year when you cleaned out the lockers, it seems like it’s a complete 180 [degrees] – there was no direction, there were a lot of question marks. How much different is it going into this offseason?A: Way different. It always feels good not going into a coaching search and having some stability there. We Continue Reading

Eric Wood reverts to his days as a Bengals fan after Buffalo’s big win

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Eric Wood had flashbacks Sunday. Growing up in Cincinnati, the veteran Buffalo Bills’ center was a die-hard Bengals fan. Those feelings came rushing back to him in the locker room following the Bills’ 22-16 win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium. A playoff berth belonged to the Bills – if the Bengals could knock off the Baltimore Ravens. “I rooted for them until I got here,” Wood said. “Not a ton of playoff appearances, and then I get here and they're all of a sudden great. I'm happy for Marvin Lewis. I've got to know him over the years and if that's his last game in Cincinnati, what a way to send him out.” And what a way for the drought to end. When Andy Dalton hit Tyler Boyd for a 49-yard touchdown pass – coming on fourth and 12, no less – a huge roar went up inside the Bills’ locker room. A couple minutes later, once the Bengals’ defense had wrapped up a 31-27 win that sent Buffalo to the playoffs, the party was on. “It was wild,” Wood said of the celebration. “We're riding every throw Dalton makes on that last drive, and then he makes the huge play. Then a big stop. We celebrated pretty hard. It's funny. This team's so close -- I'd imagine it would be that situation with any team -- but the way this team interacts, I mean, we jump around to start the beginning of practice, so you can imagine how wild it got when we made it to the playoffs.” A nine-year veteran, Wood is the second-longest tenured member of the Bills behind only defensive tackle Kyle Williams. “It means a ton. To get into the playoffs and get a shot to make a run at a Super Bowl is huge” Wood said. “This city has suffered with us. I’m happy for them. They showed up for us today down in Miami. ‘Let's go Buffalo’ chants drowning out the Miami fans. It was a special day. Wood is the only offensive player to take every offensive Continue Reading

Eric Wood, Bills teammates free drivers from Buffalo snow

Eric Wood, the Buffalo Bills' starting center and a former Elder High School standout, joined teammates at DiPaolo's Restaurant in Buffalo on Sunday after a hard-fought overtime win against the Indianapolis Colts in a snowstorm. But instead of rest and relaxation, the players insisted on helping people like restaurant manager Peggy Manning free her car from the snow.More from buffalonews.com's Sean Kirst: A group of Bills, tall silhouettes in the backlit mist, had hustled out of the restaurant to help her, the same thing they'd been doing for many customers for at least a solid hour. Manning recognized center Eric Wood, punter Colton Schmidt, long snapper Reid Ferguson, tackle Dion Dawkins, guard Ryan Groy and tackle Conor McDermott, who stands 6-foot-8. And there might have been more. That meant she had somewhere in the area of 1,800 pounds of human being helping to push the car, guys whose entire job is essentially to move the unmovable. A couple of them were shoveling and a couple of them were pushing and Manning, at their direction, hit the gas. After a few seconds of back and forth she felt that sweet feeling we all know, that magnificent instant when your car bursts loose after being stuck in the snow. Manning, free and clear, was on her way back to Angola. Speaking to reporters Monday, Buffalo coach Sean McDermott said he hadn't heard about any Bills pushing cars, but that "it doesn’t surprise me with our guys. We’ve tried to do things the right way, and the players know that this is what we do."Wood, a first-round pick of the Bills in 2009 who made the Pro Bowl in 2015, Tweeted in celebratory fashion on Monday: Get the latest news from your favorite high school teams. Download the Varsity app on both the Apple App Store and Google Play. Continue Reading

Michael Sam not picked up by NFL team, Bills’ Eric Wood tweets ‘Blame ESPN’

At least one Buffalo Bills player thinks he knows why Michael Sam did not catch on with an NFL team after being cut Saturday. Eric Wood, an offensive lineman for the Bills says to "Blame ESPN" in response to a reporter wondering why Sam didn't catch on after a solid preseason performance. Ross Tucker, an analyst for NBC and Sirius XM NFL Radio among other outlets, wondered aloud via Twitter: "Michael Sam performed much better than most expected and still isn't even on a practice squad?"  Wood tweeted in response: "blame that on espn. No one wants the distraction." Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted by an NFL team - in the seventh round by the Rams this summer - was not signed to the Rams practice squad after being cut. ProFootballTalk.com had the find. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading