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Bills safety Wilson on Toronto date: 'It's not a home game'

  • By Associated Press
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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills safety George Wilson regards Toronto as a nice and diverse place to visit. Just don't ask him to get excited about playing "home" games there.

"It's not a home game," Wilson said before practice Wednesday.

Making sure not to knock the city or its residents, Wilson focused his concerns on questioning the loyalty and passion of fans who have attended Buffalo's games at Toronto over the past three years.

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"Is that a question?" Wilson said, when asked about the support the Bills receive at Toronto's downtown Rogers Centre. "The fan support in Toronto is a night-and-day difference from what we have in Buffalo. For the most part, it's a show. You see just as many jerseys for the opposing teams as you do the Bills. They cheer for any big play regardless of whichever team makes it."

Wilson added it's impossible to replicate the raucous environment inside or outside Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, and expressed concern over the Bills losing an edge in home-field advantage.

"It's definitely not the same hostile environment that teams have to deal with coming into the Ralph out here," he said. "This is no knock on the citizens of Toronto. We know a large percentage of our fan base comes from Canada, and we're appreciative of their support. But at the same time, the environment is just not the same. That's just facts."

Wilson went public with his frustrations as the Bills (4-2) come out of their bye week off to prepare to host the Washington Redskins (3-3). Aside from the lack of fan support, Wilson also noted the players pay an additional Canadian tax -- over and above a New York state tax -- to play in Toronto.

The Bills-In-Toronto series is now in its fourth year after the franchise reached a five-year, $78 million pact with Toronto-based media and communications giant, Rogers Communication, to play eight games -- five regular season and three preseason -- in Canada's largest city and financial capital.

The Bills are 0-3 in regular-season games at Toronto, though they've won both preseason games. The series is scheduled to end next year with a preseason and a regular-season game, though both sides have expressed interest in renewing the deal.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press



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