Positive week of news for the Bills
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — New prospective owner. Big win. And even news of Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly being cancer-free.
The Buffalo Bills have certainly had a big week of uplifting news, and they hope the positive feelings carry over into their home opener against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
“I want to play today, really,” defensive tackle Kyle Williams said Wednesday. “It’s such a good week news-wise for the Buffalo Bills, for Buffalo Bills alumni with Jim Kelly, for our region with the Pegulas and going on the road and winning a football game and coming back and playing the Dolphins of all teams. I’m excited about Sunday.”
The Bills returned to the practice field on Wednesday following one of the most positive weeks in franchise history. On top of the Kelly news, Buffalo Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula reached an agreement Tuesday to buy the Bills from Ralph Wilson’s estate for $1.4 billion.
Oh, and the Bills pulled out an upset victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday in their opener.
All of that had the Bills in even higher spirits as they began preparations for Sunday’s game against the Dolphins (1-0), who began their season with an upset victory over the New England Patriots.
“It’s been a special week for the City of Buffalo, for Western New York,” said Bills cornerback and Buffalo native Corey Graham. “A lot of things have gone in our favor over the last week; you couldn’t ask for a better person to buy the team. With Jim Kelly and his health, that’s unreal. For us to go down in Chicago and then win (our) first game ever in Chicago, it’s a pretty good feeling.”
Bills fans have been celebrating ever since news of the sale was official. The Pegulas had long been considered front-runners to buy the Bills and have a vested interest in the City of Buffalo; construction of their privately funded $172 million HarborCenter entertainment complex is nearing completion in downtown Buffalo.
Their intentions to keep the Bills in Buffalo long-term and preserve Wilson’s legacy have resonated not just with Bills fans, but with Bills players as well.
“You’re obviously excited and happy for the community, knowing what this organization and this team means for the community,” defensive tackle Kyle Williams said. “Having a unique perspective of having a relationship with Mr. Wilson, going through a change of the guard here ... the greatest thing is generations to come will be able to enjoy Buffalo Bills football in Buffalo. On a personal level, it made me excited and gave me a sense of joy knowing that 10, 15 years from now I can show my kids what a special place this was rather than describe it to them.”
Added running back Fred Jackson: “We’re happy that it’s a couple that is very familiar with this area and all the things they do. ... I’ve heard nothing but good things from him coming from being good friends with (Sabres forward) Pat Kaleta. He’s told me nothing but good things about the Pegulas so it’s a good thing to have the process done.”
Those feelings extend to members of the Sabres themselves, who have seen firsthand the many changes the Pegulas brought to their team in their first three years as owners.
“From a player’s perspective, I know for a fact that (Terry) will bring the passion and the care,” Sabres forward Drew Stafford said. “And every single player and every single employee and member of the staff there will know how much he cares and how much he wears his heart on his sleeve. I wish them nothing but the best.”
Notes: Cornerback Stephon Gilmore (groin) participated fully in practice after missing Buffalo’s season opener against the Bears. ... Safeties Aaron Williams (concussion) and Jonathan Meeks (neck) were limited. ... Linebacker Keith Rivers (groin) and tight end Lee Smith (toe) did not participate. ... Kicker Dan Carpenter was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance against the Bears. Carpenter converted all three field-goal attempts vs. Chicago, including the 27-yard game-winner in overtime.