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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.



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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