Bills center Eric Wood to retire because of neck injury

Buffalo's starting center is calling it a career.

Eric Wood, 31, is retiring from football because of a neck injury that was diagnosed during his end-of-season physical, the team announced Friday. Wood's retirement news conference is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET Monday.

Wood's retirement is a big blow for a Bills team looking to build upon reaching the playoffs for the first time since the 1999 season. The 2015 Pro Bowler has played a key role in helping protect quarterback Tyrod Taylor and establishing a competitive running game spearheaded by LeSean McCoy.

"Eric] is doing a great job of staying positive," [Bills offensive guard Richie Incognito told NFL Network's Jane Slater on Friday during Pro Bowl practice. "He has my support. He's a brother to me. I love him. He's like family to me. I know he'll transition to whatever he wants to do and he'll be successful at it."

Under contract through 2019, Wood has a $4.8 base salary that is guaranteed for injury and a $8.63 salary-cap number, per Spotrac.

Selected 28th overall in the 2009 draft out of Louisville, the center has started in 120 games for the Bills since 2009. Among current players, only defensive tackle Kyle Williams has played longer on the team.

With Wood set to walk away from football, Bills general manager Brandon Beane will have to add center to his list of offseason priorities heading into free agency and the draft.

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