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[BN] Blitz newsletter: Eric Wood's surprising retirement leaves void in Buffalo

A centerpiece of the Buffalo Bills franchise in more ways than one, Eric Wood announced his plans to retire from football on Friday.

Wood's official statement: "I was diagnosed with a neck injury as part of my season-ending physical with the Bills. After consultation with Dr. Cappuccino and other physicians, I was informed that I was no longer cleared to play football, even with surgery or further treatment. I appreciate and thank everyone for their thoughts, concerns and prayers, and I will shed more light on the situation at a press conference on Monday at the team facility."

"Wood was the Bills' nominee for the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year award in back-to-back seasons in 2015-16," Jay Skurski writes. "[A] team captain who has become a fan favorite over his nine seasons with the Bills, as much for his tireless work off the field as for his contributions on it."

Jerry Sullivan: Forced retirement of Eric Wood leaves hole on field and in the community

Twitter reactions: Bills fans thanked Wood for helping to end the playoff drought while current and former teammates offered  their well wishes to the popular locker room leader.

Showing their appreciation: #BillsMafia is making $70 donations in honor of Eric Wood to the Children's Hospital of Buffalo Foundation and the Eric Wood Fund.

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Silver lining? "At the moment, there's nothing that sounds even remotely positive about Friday's news that Eric Wood has been forced into retirement by a neck injury," Vic Carucci writes. "Yet, that Wood's exit is happening now could very well have a little bit of a bright side in terms of the Bills' ability to adjust."

Last wish: Wood delayed his retirement announcement for two weeks because he was hoping to make his farewell in Sunday's Pro Bowl.

In other news: Alex Smith loves Kansas City but "who knows?" if the Chiefs will keep him or try to trade him to a team like the Bills, and the Jets are expected to hire former Bills offensive coordinator Rick Dennison.

Sean Kirst: In the face of cancer, Bills icon buoyed by #PanchosPick

Sully's mailbag: Bills can't be afraid to move up for a QB

Another exit: Donald Jones will be leaving "The John Murphy Show" in the coming months.

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