BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - While Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr. remains in a Detroit area hospital, being treated for a small illness, concerns have once again risen over the lease situation at the stadium that bears his name, and the future of the franchise that calls it home.
The Buffalo Bills are currently in the final year of their lease at Ralph Wilson Stadium, and the team and Erie County are still in negotiations on a new one that would keep the team here long term.
Following the news of Ralph Wilson's hospitalization, County Executive Mark Poloncarz released this statement, which read in part:
"He has our best wishes for a speedy recovery and return to good health. Lease negotiations will continue as he recuperates."
A spokesman went on to say that since Mr. Wilson is not present at negotiations, his recent illness will not be an impediment to talks.
The last person to successfully negotiate a lease with the Bills was former Erie County Executive Dennis Gorski, who did so in 1997.
"I'm going to say unequivocally that Mr. Wilson's illness will not affect the negotiations between the State of New York, the County of Erie, and the Buffalo Bills," Gorski said.
Gorski says he is confident a new lease can be worked out and the Bills can be kept in Buffalo, citing the regionalization of the team, support of the NFL Commissioner, and the fact the Bills could've left under the old lease by simply paying a fine, but didn't.
The current stadium lease is set to expire in July of next year.