BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Buffalo Bills center and respected leader Eric Wood is retiring after nine seasons as a result of a debilitating neck injury.
Wood revealed his decision in a statement the Bills posted on their Twitter account on Friday. Wood says the injury was discovered during a season-ending physical. Wood adds he has since been informed by doctors that the injury is so severe he would no longer be cleared to play — even with surgery or further treatment.
Wood is scheduled to address reporters during a news conference at the team’s facility on Monday.
The revelation of the injury came as a surprise after Wood said he 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