Buffalo Bills release center Eric Wood

Eric Wood can finally announce he’s retiring after the Buffalo Bills released the veteran center in a move considered a formality after he was diagnosed with a career-ending neck injury in January.

The NFL transactions list on Thursday listed the Bills reaching an injury settlement and releasing Wood under the designation: Termination of vested veteran.

The decision by the Bills ends a lengthy waiting period for the team and Wood.

Wood is from Cincinnati and spent four seasons playing at Louisville before being selected by the Bills with their second of two first-round picks in the 2009 draft. Wood earned a starting job entering his rookie season and appeared in 121 games, including one in the playoffs.

He was a respected team leader, popular in the community for his charitable work, and was the team’s Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee in 2015 and ’16.

Aside from Wood, Buffalo’s offensive line must also replace starting left guard Richie Incognito, who abruptly retired in April and was then released by the Bills earlier this month.

Mathieu, 26, made the All-Pro team in 2015. In his five seasons in Arizona, he made 303 tackles, 11 interceptions, 41 passes defended, 28 tackles for losses, four sacks, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

Houston signed him to a one-year, $7.5 million deal in March, expecting Mathieu to bring a physical presence to the secondary.

Well, I take great pride in really every aspect of my game, Mathieu said. Then, the physicality, obviously I have this little man syndrome so, being physical is part of my nature. It’s definitely a part of how I play.

Most of the questions revolved around, ‘Will we go to the Super Bowl?’ and ‘Will we make the playoffs?’ I just throw it back at them saying, ‘Do you think we will?’ and they say, ‘Yes’. They’re confident, and that’s a good place to start.

He never made another visit.

This was the only place I took a trip … I took my trip, and Aaron was here in the locker room. I started talking to him, Lewis said Thursday. I started talking to Jimmy and I kind of made my decision that day.

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