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It all started for fan in Bills’ initial season

The Buffalo Bills gave me a lifetime of memories and passion for the team. It began for me as a 9 year old in 1960 sitting in the $1 kids bleachers in the left field end zone at War Memorial Stadium on a sunny warm fall day.

My most vivid memory of that day was watching Elbert Dubenion coming right at me down the sideline for a long touchdown run. It seems I could hear his heavy breathing and exertion as he left all defenders behind him.

The AFL was the pinnacle for me in my love of football, but to this day I still watch each game in the hope they will do it and now win it all for Mr. Wilson Jr.

Paul Schlau

Williamsville

Wilson helped shape what NFL is today

Buffalo Bills fans in Buffalo and around the world are mourning the loss of team owner Ralph Wilson Jr. Mr. Wilson started the Buffalo Bills franchise with $25,000 and later also assisted other teams so they wouldn’t fold.

Mr. Wilson’s dream of uniting the two leagues made the NFL what it is today and NFL football is enjoyed by millions of fans worldwide thanks to Mr. Ralph Wilson Jr.

James Ziolkowski

Buffalo

Ex-Kansas City GM pays tribute to Wilson

Ralph Wilson, Jr., was cut from the same cloth as Lamar Hunt, a man I worked for in Kansas City for nearly 20 years. The historic AFL-NFL merger that these men brought to fruition more than 50 years ago helped make the NFL the pinnacle of sports that it is today, capturing our imaginations like little else.

Whether you live in Buffalo, Kansas City or anywhere else, if you love pro football, you owe Ralph Wilson Jr. a debt of gratitude. He was the last of the AFL founders and was a true pioneer of our sport. His vision, courage and conviction – especially when others said he couldn’t do something – rightfully placed him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and helped take this ultimate team game to spectacular heights, which ascend higher by the day.

Carl Peterson

USA Football Chairman and former Kansas City Chiefs President, General Manager and CEO.

Four Super Bowls will be Wilson’s legacy

Ralph Wilson Jr. will be missed by all Buffalo Bills supporters in Western New York. Wilson was instrumental in creating and keeping the AFL financially stable in the 1960s.

Mr. Wilson loved the Bills organization, along with his desire to keep the team in Buffalo. He also showed a genuine interest with the teams fan base. The Bills four consecutive Super Bowl appearances in the 1990s will be Wilson’s legacy. The Bills should dedicate the upcoming 2014 season to Buffalo’s adopted son, Ralph Wilson Jr.

Anthony P. Levatino

Rochester

Let’s hope the Bills find way to stay here

Let me start off by saying that I am not a Bills fan. I’m a recent transplant from Seattle who happens to be a rabid Detroit Lions fan (another team that recently lost its owner).

However, since moving here, I have noticed how fanatical Bills fans are. T-shirts, jackets, bumper stickers, hats. Everyone represents his/her passion for the team in some way. In light of the recent passing of Ralph Wilson Jr. it made me think more about the impact the Bills leaving would have here.

I lived in Seattle through the whole Sonicsgate episode back in 2008. People there felt as strongly about the Sonics as Buffalonians feel about the Bills. Being home to a Super Bowl contender and now champ has softened things, of course, but, at the time, it was extremely painful to see lifelong Seattle residents have their team ripped away from them.

I can’t even imagine seeing that happen to WNY. Buffalo needs to have an NFL team. The Bills were a part of the original AFL.

Why not save a huge, time consuming, heart wrenching step and keep the Bills where they are? Nineteen years of exponential fiscal growth for the NFL speaks volumes about how little an L.A. franchise is needed. Buffalo is one of those cities that is meant to have NFL football. It’s part of the historical fabric of the league. Hall of Famers. Super Bowl appearances. They gotta stay. RIP, Ralph.

John Wokas

West Seneca

Jim Kelly will win his latest battle

The great Jim Kelly, who is battling cancer, is facing the challenge and game of his life. As on the field, Jim was a fighter and his team had his back.

With his family, friends and young Hunter watching above Jim will win this battle because he is a true warrior.

John Jendrysek

Orchard Park

Better development would help Sabres

The Sabres talk about developing players but who’s on their roster that they’ve “developed” from the last four years? I saw some “developing” players score or get an assist against them recently.

They didn’t play Grigorenko much, stating he wasn’t ready. What’s better than on the job training? They weren’t going anywhere this season anyway. Let’s hope this new management manages our young players better.

Paris Mims Jr.

Buffalo

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