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Eric Wood: 'I would've never forgave myself' for leaving Buffalo

By Tim Graham

Eric Wood has toiled for the Buffalo Bills. He has slogged through losing seasons. His legs have been mangled in pursuit of success.

He doesn't want all that to be for naught.

Wood, the Bills' veteran center, signed a multiyear contract extension today. Terms of the deal were not yet known, but Wood's intentions were clear.

Wood said, "I would've never forgave myself," had he not re-signed with Buffalo, "especially with the direction we're going and to watch them make the playoffs without me."

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Bills extend contract with Eric Wood

By Mark Gaughan

WoodMugThe Buffalo Bills have extended its contract with center Eric Wood, sources close to the talks tell The News.

Wood, 27, is entering the fifth and final year of the rookie contract he signed in 2009. He was a first-round pick from Louisville. He is widely viewed as the most elite player the Bills have on their offensive line, and he's considered one of the Bills' team leaders.

Wood has rebounded from two serious injuries in his four pro seasons. He suffered a broken leg 10 games into his rookie season. He came back to play 14 games in 2010. Then he suffered a knee injury in Dallas in the ninth game of the 2011 season. He came back to play at a high level in 14 games last season.

Eric Wood on EJ Manuel's TD drive: 'What we needed to do'

By Tim Graham

INDIANAPOLIS -- There are all sorts of ways to rationalize EJ Manuel's performance today in Lucas Oil Stadium.

He looked pedestrian early. But he was nervous in his NFL debut.

He looked sharp on his final drive. But he operated from behind his starting offensive line and faced the Indianapolis Colts' third-string defense.

He drove the Bills 92 yards for a go-ahead touchdown before halftime. But it's merely the preseason.

So I asked veteran Bills center Eric Wood: What should we make of Manuel's performance in a 44-20 victory over the Colts?

Continue reading "Eric Wood on EJ Manuel's TD drive: 'What we needed to do'" »

Eric Wood wants HGH testing before NFL stumbles into scandal

By Tim Graham

PITTSFORD -- Buffalo Bills center Eric Wood agrees that only a fool would think human growth hormone isn't being used in football.

HGH would give football players an unfair advantage, and the NFL still doesn't test for it.

"Something needs to be done," Wood told me this week after practice at St. John Fisher College, "because if that many baseball players are doing it in a non-contact sport, I'd image football players are doing it.

"Do I know of any? No, but, uh ..."

Major League Baseball last week suspended 13 players for violating its policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Now Jack Clark, the former All-Star now working as a radio host in St. Louis, has accused Albert Pujols of using PEDs.

Wood, a vocal proponent of HGH testing in the NFL since last summer, has been paying attention to what's happening in baseball and dreads what could befall football.

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Eric Wood trying to soak up all he can from Kevin Mawae

By Tim Graham

PITTSFORD -- Kevin Mawae sits behind Eric Wood when the offensive linemen hold their meetings. Mawae also runs drills and teaches techniques from a 16-year NFL career that sent him to eight Pro Bowls.

You better believe Wood listens to every word Mawae has to say as if it's gospel.

"Some stuff that worked for him might not work for me," Wood said, "but I'm going to give it a try because he was an unbelievable player.

"I looked up to him as a young player and through college. To have him around is awesome."

Mawae joined the Bills' coaching staff Monday and will stay through training camp as part of the Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship program.

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Stevie Johnson on the playoffs: 'Why not now? Why not us?'

On making the playoffs this season, Bills receiver Stevie Johnson said, "I feel like we've got the team to make that move, and I believe in that." (File photo by James P. McCoy/Buffalo News)


By Tim Graham

PITTSFORD -- The Buffalo Bills have reported to training camp here at St. John Fisher College since 2000, the year after their last playoff appearance.

They began arriving on campus today with the hope of breaking the NFL's longest postseason drought.

"It's very realistic," Bills receiver Stevie Johnson said. "I feel like we've got the team to make that move, and I believe in that.

"Why not now? Why not us? We're going to do it. We're going to make it happen."

Continue reading "Stevie Johnson on the playoffs: 'Why not now? Why not us?'" »

Why 'franchise tag' can be a filthy term for some players to hear

By Tim Graham

What's the big deal with franchise tags?

When a team uses it on a free agent, the player should be honored, right? The franchise tag is a special designation, right?

The player is guaranteed a one-year contract in a league without guaranteed contracts. He'll make an average of the five highest-paid players at his position.

What a bonanza, right?


In an enlightening story at, reporter Joe Buscaglia takes a look at how the franchise tag is interpreted by agents, players and fans. There are nuances to the process. But to many players, the franchise tag is considered an insult.

"Nobody wants to get tagged," said agent C.J. LaBoy, who represents Bills receiver Stevie Johnson and former Bills receiver Donald Jones.

Continue reading "Why 'franchise tag' can be a filthy term for some players to hear" »

Buffalo Bills wrap spring practices with red-zone work

By Mark Gaughan

The Buffalo Bills closed their spring practices today with a lot of red-zone work.

Once again, quarterbacks Kevin Kolb and EJ Manuel split most of the work, with Kolb getting the first snaps for the starting unit. Once again, the defense probably was a little ahead of the offense, which is to be expected at this point in the offseason.

Coach Doug Marrone on the end of the team's three-day minicamp and five-week spring workout schedule:

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Jason Peters revisited: Bills, agent say trade won't affect Jairus Byrd

By Tim Graham

There isn't a contract scoreboard in Russ Brandon's office.

Influential agent Eugene Parker might have forced the Buffalo Bills to trade left tackle Jason Peters four years ago, but that doesn't mean safety Jairus Byrd's situation will be considered a rematch.

In interviews for a Parker profile that will run in Sunday morning's Buffalo News, he and Brandon revisited the Peters contract standoff in light of Byrd's contract negotiations.

Continue reading "Jason Peters revisited: Bills, agent say trade won't affect Jairus Byrd" »

Doug Marrone's no-huddle attack not some Dick Jauron experiment

By Tim Graham

I have a feeling Doug Marrone isn't going to ditch his offseason plans to pick up the pace like Dick Jauron did four years ago.

In today's Buffalo News, reporter Mark Gaughan shines a spotlight on the Buffalo Bills' up-tempo offense through the eyes of the offensive linemen.

"You're putting a lot more yards under your feet and just getting ready for an offense that's not gonna stop," Bills tackle Chris Hairston said. "We're going to try to put pressure on all the teams and dictate the tempo and pace. We've done that since we've gotten back here. You're just really pushing yourself to go as fast as possible."

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |