August 30, 2013
President & CEO Russ Brandon:
I want to thank everybody for coming out on short notice on a Friday, we appreciate it. This is a great day for the Buffalo Bills. It’s a great day for Eric and his wife Leslie. It’s a great day for Bills fans everywhere to have Eric signed long-term. As I mentioned back on January 1st, this sort of symbolizes what we were talking about. Being aggressive and trying to keep our draft picks and keep our core players long-term. Obviously we’re thrilled to have Eric in the fold for many years to come. He embodies everything that we talk about. He’s tough, he’s aggressive, he’s a competitor and he’s a dynamic leader. That’s what we’re looking to build here in Buffalo. I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank Jim Overdorf, our chief negotiator and Eric’s representation, David Dunn and Karen Han for all their efforts over the last view months. I’m going to turn it over to our general manager, Doug Whaley, and then you’ll hear from the man of the hour, Eric Wood.
General Manager Doug Whaley:
I just also want to second that about Jim Overdorf and Eric’s representation. They’ve been putting in tireless hours to get this done and we appreciate their effort. From a philosophical standpoint, we believe to build a consistent team you have to start from the inside out and it doesn’t get more inside than the center position. When you talk about Eric Wood, you talk about leadership and with a young team and we’re trying to instill a lot of different values at this time, we need a leader and he’s a strong leader. He’ll be able to lead us to where we need to go. From this standpoint forward, we’re looking to keep building and keep identifying and drafting good, talented players and sign them for the long-term. Without further ado the man of the hour, Eric Wood.
C Eric Wood:
Thanks Russ, thanks Doug. Obviously a very exciting time for me. Wanted to be back in Buffalo and to sign this four year extension means a ton. I want to first of start by thanking Ralph and Mary Wilson, Jim Overdorf, Russ Brandon, Doug Whaley, the coaches, the training staff, the strength staff, equipment, everyone in this building that allows us players to succeed on and off the field. First class organization all the way around and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of it for the long term. I wouldn’t have re-signed if I wasn’t extremely excited about where we’re going. Have a ton of faith in our front office right now that we’re going in the right direction and I think it’s going to start soon. Extremely excited about this season. Extremely excited to fill ralph Wilson (Stadium) next week with all the fans for New England. It’s going to be an electric atmosphere and I’m looking forward to it. I want to thank the community who has been so welcoming to me and my family since the day that I got here. The fans, everybody, have been great.
Q: Can you talk about your viewpoint during this whole process?
A: Yeah, all along I knew I wanted to stay here. I’m comfortable here, in a good comfort. Not comfortable where you’re sitting back and lazy. Comfortable where I love working with the guys I’m working with here and I would never want to leave here. Especially with the direction we’re going and to watch them make the playoffs without me…it’s going to be a special time and when we do it this year, if I would have missed it in years to come, I would’ve never forgave myself. Obviously interest from both sides all along. That’s how I handled all the questions from people asking if I wanted to re-sign or if I was going to re-sign. They have told me all along and been upfront with me that eventually they wanted to re-sign me and I told them I wanted to re-sign here. So obvious interest and great negotiating by Jim Overdorf and my agents allowed me to stay.
Q: What made this area appealing to you?
A: (It is) similar to where I grew up in Cincinnati. A blue collar town, down-to-earth people, good food. Just an area that’s welcoming. People have embraced me since the day I got here an di don’t know if it’s my style of play or just that I was relatable, but people have always embraced me. I knew long term that me and my family would feel comfortable here.
Q: How important for you was it to get this done before next Sunday?
A: It’s extremely important. From this point on, all of my focus is on no contract, no outside distractions and that was extremely important. I thought if it did linger on I was mature enough that it wouldn’t affect my play, that it wouldn’t affect my preparation, but deep down just knowing that the risk of something happening or maybe a poor performance could effect a contract, that could definitely come in to play.
Q: How rewarding is it to get that next contract?
A: It’s definitely rewarding. This organization has stuck by me through some tough times, some of the toughest times of my life. Two major injuries and I couldn’t have been more thankful for how they supported me through those times and how they’re still willing to give me a long-term extension even though everyone around me and everyone in the media wants to say that I’m injury prone and hopefully I’ll be able to prove that I’m not and hopefully get some good fortune to come in my favor. Like you said, definitely rewarding and definitely happy where I’m at.