Eric Wood remains on Bills' roster, puts retirement on hold due to salary-cap issue

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- After arriving 55 minutes late for his scheduled retirement news conference Monday, Buffalo Bills center Eric Wood gave about a one-minute statement that he remained on the team's roster and did not take questions.

General manager Brandon Beane said Wood was late in part because of a phone call with his agent and confirmed Wood remains on the Bills' roster. Wood has yet to be placed on the retired list or released.

"We don't have any cap room right now," Beane said. "You roll it over [into the next season]. He'll be on our roster for a while, until we figure things out.

"We'll get it worked out. He'll do stuff on his end, and we'll do it with the help of the league office and management council. We'll figure it out from there."

After a report surfaced about Wood's career ending because of a neck injury, the nine-year veteran confirmed in a statement Friday that a season-ending physical by team doctors revealed his injury would prevent him from being cleared to play again even with surgery or treatment.

Wood said in his statement Friday that he would announce his retirement at a news conference Monday. Some of his former teammates, including Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and former Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Kraig Urbik, were among the group of at least 100 people attending Wood's news conference.

"In Week 5, I got the first stinger of my life," Wood said Monday. "I got one the following week. After that game, we did an X-ray on my neck that showed no significant damage. After the season, as part of the exit physical, we got an MRI that revealed a disc that was dangerously close to my spinal cord at C-2, C-3. That was alarming.

"Although I will no longer be cleared to play football, I am still on the Bills' roster and look forward to helping out the team in some capacity."

Beane confirmed that Wood received a second opinion on his neck from a non-team doctor and said he does "not believe" there is a chance Wood is cleared to play again.

Wood remains under contract through 2019 after he signed a two-year extension last August. His $4.8 million base salary in 2018 is guaranteed for injury, and he would count about $10 million against the Bills' salary cap next season if he is placed on the retired list or released. He would have counted about $8 million had he remained playing.

"He'll stay on the roster now and we'll figure out what's the best tactic for the Buffalo Bills as we move forward," Beane said. "But really, we're a long way from figuring out where we're going."