The Bills were ready for all the pomp and circumstance that goes with the retirement of a long time, popular player.
A large stage was erected in the practice fieldhouse. Many current and former players were in attendance.
It was all for an 86 second statement.
Eric Wood’s retirement press conference on Monday began nearly an hour late and did not involve any questions from media. Wood read from prepared notes and that was it.
Wood never said he was “retired”, but he did echo the statement he made on Friday.
“Dr. Cappuccino has informed me that I will no longer be able to play football,” Wood said. “Even with further rehab, treatment or surgery, a return is not possible.”
Wood revealed he suffered a neck injury called a “stinger” in week five. It’s a fairly common football injury that often is not serious. Wood said he got another stinger the following week. That prompted a neck x-ray which revealed “no significant damage”.
The end of the season exit physical showed something different.
“We got an MRI that showed a disc that was dangerously close to my spinal cord at C-2, C-3,” Wood said. “That was alarming.”
Wood said the news came just an hour before the birth of his son Garrett on January 11th.
“As you can imagine, this news floored me.”
Officially, Wood is still on the Bills roster. Brandon Beane later said there are salary cap implications to be considered before making an official roster move with Wood.
Wood said he still wants to help the team out in some capacity.
It’s hard to imagine the team, along with Wood’s current and former teammates, went through all that trouble for a statement shorter than most two minute drills.
Wood concluded with, “I’m sure there are a lot of unanswered questions and I hope to address those at a later date.”
Whenever that happens, don’t expect another full-fledged gathering in the fieldhouse.