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Paul Maguire wants Bills to reconsider separation from alumni foundation

Paul Maguire said he understands.

New owners have new ideas. Terry and Kim Pegula are no different.

"They should want to make it bigger and better," Maguire said of the owners of the Buffalo Bills and Sabres. "And they're going to do that."

The only thing Maguire, who played for the Bills from 1964 to 1970, doesn't want to see is the team create too much distance between itself and those who played for it during its formative years beginning with the birth of the American Football League in 1960. He believes recent developments indicate a widening gap.

Maguire would like the team to reconsider its decision, revealed in May, to separate from the Buffalo Bills Alumni Foundation. The organization, which is primarily comprised of players from the team's earliest seasons, no longer is allowed to use the Bills' logo on its website or in other communications. It also no longer receives direct funding from the team, following an NFL-wide trend of keeping alumni relations in-house.

"I can't even imagine that you can say that we don't exist or you cannot use the Buffalo Bills Alumni logo," Maguire said. "What are you talking about? If someone asks now, I say, 'Well, I played on the team in Buffalo. I can't tell you what it is.' Let's be reasonable.

"I think they're on the right track of what they're trying to do with the Buffalo fans and make things better. But you just can't forget. Ask us to help. We'll be glad to help. We want to participate."

Paul Maguire's full life in football and broadcasting provides wealth of memories

The Bills say they continue to support the foundation, but that the organization will work independently.

Marlon Kerner, the Bills' director of player engagement and alumni, said the team will invest in beefing up its alumni relationship department. Thanks to a full-time staff, Kerner said the Bills have more resources than the alumni organization to directly manage contact with players, requests for player appearances, player requests for assistance and other matters.

"It's not a matter of dissatisfaction; it's a way to uplift and bring recognition to what they've already started, and to continue that tradition and add resources to it,"  Kerner said in May.

Maguire said the foundation will continue fund-raising efforts for charities, and is moving forward with plans to stage its an annual golf tournament in the fall.

"Let me tell you something, you're not allowed to forget us," he said. "We built it. The most insulting thing that ever happened to professional football, as far as I'm concerned, is when (the NFL Players Association) were going to eliminate the pre-'59 players from the pension. You know how absurd that is? They built the thing.

"That's all we're trying to say is, we built the Buffalo Bills."

Buffalo Bills and team's Alumni Foundation split over logo, control

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