Buffalo Bills News - March 27, 2014

Marker Ralph Wilson's legacy [1:28 AM]
WGR-AM reports: 'Trying to sum up Mr. Wilson's tenure atop the football team isn't easy. He had somewhat of a roller coaster relationship with the fans of his franchise.'

Marker Ralph Wilson loved the community [1:27 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: 'A strong believer in hometown projects, Mr. Wilson played an active role in obtaining matching grants from the NFL’s Grassroots program for Buffalo area athletic fields totaling over one million dollars in recent years. He also contributed significant funds for the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Athletic Field in Detroit as part of the NFL’s Youth Education Town Legacy gift during Super Bowl XL.'

Marker Bills planning summer practices with Steelers [1:26 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: '“We are looking for certain things and things that Coach Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers bring to the table that would help us,” Marrone said. “I think there are things we can do that help them prepare for the season.”'

Marker Bills players committed to cementing Wilson's legacy [1:25 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: '“He’s a guy that we were all motivated by, but especially with his passing we want to continue to cement his legacy going into next season,” said Fred Jackson. “That’s something that all the guys here will focus on. We want to honor him and what better way to honor him than to win a lot of football games for him.”'

Marker Doug Whaley, Doug Marrone comment on the passing of Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. [1:24 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: 'Mr. Wilson said it best ‘this is a people business’. He cared about everyone – from the security guards to the training staff to the players, coaches and management. We are a family and everybody matters.'

Marker Steelers vs. Bills, at Saint Vincent College [1:23 AM]
Steelers.com reports: 'The Bills and Steelers have agreed to hold joint practice sessions on a home-and-home basis during the 2014 and 2015 training camp periods. The Steelers will host the Bills this summer, with Buffalo serving as the host in 2015.'

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March 26, 2014

Marker Local fans feel the loss of Ralph Wilson [1:15 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: '“We were season ticket owners since 1960, my dad and I,” Mr. Lickfeld said. “It was very rare if you didn’t see him walking around at the game, always talking to fans. I was just a young kid then, but I remember my dad saying, ‘That’s Ralph over there.’”'

Marker Ralph Wilson, founder and owner of the Buffalo Bills, dies at 95 [1:59 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Wilson did not put Buffalo on the map, but he did as much as anyone to keep it there.'

Marker At NFL meetings, owners mourn loss of one of their own [1:58 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '“There were tears,” Lurie said, “but it was just absolute quiet.”'

Marker His loyalty to Buffalo crowned Wilson’s legacy [1:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '“He would come in and high-five guys,” Darryl Talley said by phone from Florida. “Leonard Smith would run the length of the locker room and high-five you, damn near break your hand. The funniest thing I came remember, Ralph came in one time and I told Leonard, ‘If you hit him hard and break his hand so he can’t sign my check, I’ll kill you’."'

Marker Bright lights, big market of L.A. becomes big threat for Bills fans [1:56 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The NFL would like to return to L.A. – commissioner Roger Goodell said as much last fall at the league’s owners meeting.'

Marker Father’s example inspired Wilson in football and business [1:55 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '“My father had a great personality,” the Bills’ owner said. “He could sell ice to Eskimos. He was the world’s greatest storyteller, without using profanity. He never told a dirty story or listened to one in his life. He and I were more like brothers than father and son.”'

Marker Pegula and wife pay tribute to Wilson [1:54 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '“The entire Buffalo Sabres organization was saddened to learn of the passing of Ralph Wilson Jr.,” the statement read. “His contributions to the city of Buffalo over his 50-plus years of owning the Bills were immeasurable, and his legacy in Western New York and the sports world will be long-lasting. With his passion for the game and never-ending loyalty to the great fans of Buffalo, he embodied what all owners in sports strive to be.'

Marker Is stadium revamp enough to keep Bills? [1:53 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'When the project is done at the start of this season, blue-collar fans – from the sidelines to the top row of Section 335 – will benefit from amenities previously reserved for those buying the most-expensive tickets.'

Marker Other NFL teams faced succession questions [1:52 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Five other NFL cities have faced similar questions in the last eight years. In four of those instances, controlling interest in the team was passed on to surviving family members. In the other, a minority owner exercised an option to purchase controlling interest.'

Marker Buffalo loses a No. 1 fan [1:51 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'To resist those kinds of pressures takes a person of steely strength, and Wilson was that. He took an enormous – and ultimately, enormously profitable – risk in helping to create the AFL as a competitor to the National Football League. With that, he became a member of what some called “The Foolish Club.” They might better have been called The Visionaries, for Wilson’s $25,000 investment in 1959 is today valued at $870 million.'

Marker Wilson was a player’s owner [1:50 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '“He used to call me his favorite son, and we used to always laugh and joke about that,” said Bills Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas. “When you have that type of relationship, it hits home. I was very close to Mr. Wilson. It hurts.”'

Marker Revamped stadium to be more fan-friendly [1:49 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'When the project is done at the start of this season, blue-collar fans – from the sidelines to the top row of Section 335 – will benefit from amenities previously reserved for those buying the most-expensive tickets.'

Marker Poloncarz orders flags in county to be flown at half staff for Ralph Wilson [1:47 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '“Our community would not be the same without the Buffalo Bills. It is some ways the glue that binds us together as Buffalonians and western New Yorkers and we have Mr. Wilson to thank for this.” he added.'

Marker What's next for the Bills? For now, the team will be controlled by a trust [1:46 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'In fact, the trust is likely to control and manage the team for at least a couple of years before any sale of the team is arranged, both team and National Football League sources tell The News.'

Marker Local political leaders praise Wilson for his commitment to region [1:45 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '“He was misunderstood at times,” Gorski said. “But for the most part, I think he will be remembered as one of the most significant Buffalonians ever – even though he was not from Buffalo.”'

Marker Bills' organization unites for fallen owner [1:44 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '"I'm sitting in the locker room (before the game) and this gentleman walked up, coat and tie, trench coat," Tasker explained. "'Hey Steve, I'm Ralph Wilson, welcome aboard, I hope it goes really well for you. I had to go over to Ed (Abramoski, the trainer) and I said, 'Who's Ralph Wilson?' He said, 'He's the owner of the team.' From that moment on I knew it was going to be different in Buffalo."'

Marker Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson dies [1:43 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Voted by The Buffalo News as western New York's "Top Sports Figure" in the past millennium, and described once by a writer as the "conscience of the NFL," Wilson leaves behind a legacy nearly unrivaled in professional sports franchise ownership.'

Marker Bills fans fondly remember team's 'patron saint' [1:42 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '"The first time I met him he said, 'Call me Ralph,' " Shah said. "I still call him Mr. Wilson."'

Marker Bills lost their biggest fan [1:41 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Moulds called him a "father figure." That sentiment echoes over five decades worth of players.'

Marker Bills' Wilson was hardly 'foolish' [1:40 AM]
Niagara Gazette reports: 'His decisions were not always popular or at least unanimously welcomed. Yet he always seemed to emerge ahead. His body may have slowed down in his later years but his mind remained tuned.'

Marker WNY football faithful remember [1:39 AM]
Niagara Gazette reports: '“I wish him God speed wherever he is,” Kudela said. “Who knows if the franchise can stick it out here without him. I think the people here can support the team if it can stick it out here, but we’ll see.”'

Marker It was a pleasure, Ralph [1:38 AM]
Niagara Gazette reports: '“Thank you for bringing the team here,” I told Mr. Wilson. “No,” he replied. “Thank you, Rick, for being a fan.”'

Marker Wilson's passing brings fond memories, fears for the future [1:37 AM]
Tonawanda News reports: 'Why didn't Ralph do something to prevent it? Why didn't he announce a succession plan? Why couldn't he cement his legacy as Buffalo's greatest sportsman and a true civic icon by doing something — doing anything — to ensure his beloved team would stay ours after he left it?'

Marker Ex players, fans remember NFL's 'conscience' [1:36 AM]
Tonawanda News reports: '“Unfortunately, in five years, I can see them no longer being here. I hope they find someone to keep them here,” said Denis Fountain, who had stopped in at East Avenue Tavern on Oliver Street in North Tonawanda Tuesday evening. “They were one of the original AFL teams. They really drive the economy. If they leave I think people will be disappointed in a big way.”'

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