The message from Eric Wood was simple.
“Pumped to have #5 back,” the Buffalo Bills’ center wrote Wednesday on Twitter.
That number, of course, belongs to quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who will be back with the team in 2017 on a restructured contract.
Taylor’s teammates were thrilled to hear the news.
“I was hoping that they could get something worked out,” left guard Richie Incognito said. “The reports were all over the place, so you've got to kind of wait until the decision is final to really get something to hang your hat on. I'm glad it worked out this way.
“I think Tyrod is a special player. He's a great person, a great teammate, and I know he can help us win a lot of football games.”
With Taylor leading the way in 2016, the Bills ranked 16th in total offense and tied for 10th in scoring, averaging 24.9 points per game.
“I think this offense, we came in together, kind of as a unit,” Incognito said. “I got there, Shady got there, Tyrod got there, all at the same time. We've taken steps to be successful. You definitely want to keep players at key positions so we can keep this thing going, keep marching forward, because we do have an offense that's on the verge of being really special.”
Incognito was like the rest of football world in watching – and waiting – to see what the Bills would do with Taylor.
“Anything in this league, it goes back and forth until it comes down to the actual decision,” he said. “One day Tyrod's on the team, the next day he's off the team. I was just really pulling for him. I've been texting with him and talking with him, just sending positive thoughts his way. I was hoping that he was back, because I know he's the guy that can lead us. I know what type of guy he is. I know the arrow is pointing up for him.”
The Bills have now confirmed that Taylor and defensive tackle Kyle Williams will return in 2017. Those are two key pieces, and two signs that the team does not plan to enter into any sort of rebuild.
That’s good news to Incognito.
“We have a competitive team,” he said. “We're looking to add talent at all positions. It's not a rebuilding effort, because we have the pieces in place. We're looking to bring in guys to bolster this roster ... to help us win.”
Next up for the Bills may very well be a decision on the future of safety Aaron Williams. He has finished both of the last two seasons on injured reserve because of neck problems, and indicated at the end of 2016 that he would take some time before deciding if he wanted to continue his playing career.
Based on an Instagram post Wednesday, however, Williams could be nearing a decision.
“Looks like our suit/cleat game battle continues,” Williams wrote on the social media platform, with his post accompanied by a picture of him with Taylor. “Bring ya A game this year my friend. Glad you’re back 5!”