BUFFALO, N.Y. — Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson was listed in good condition on Thursday after being taken to a hospital.
Team spokesman Scott Berchtold made the announcement, but was unable to provide further information regarding the Hall of Fame owner. Wilson has a home in suburban Detroit, and the news of him being hospitalized was released prior to Buffalo’s final preseason game at Detroit.
The 93-year-old Wilson had hip surgery in spring 2011, and his health has been slipping. He’s particularly had difficulty travelling, and that included attending Bills games. After regularly attending games both on the road and away since founding the franchise in 1960, Wilson was able to attend only one home game last season.
Wilson was healthy enough to attend the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony festivities earlier this month to open a new research and preservation centre named in his honour. A lifelong fan of football, Wilson donated $2.5 million to have the 10,000-square-foot centre built in order to preserve more than 20 million documents and three million photographic images.
Wilson was inducted into the hall of fame in 2009, along with the team’s star defensive end, Bruce Smith.
News of Wilson being hospitalized comes at a critical juncture for the franchise he founded as one of the inaugural members of the American Football League.
The Bills are in the middle of negotiations with Erie County to extend their lease at Ralph Wilson Stadium. As part of the talks, the Bills are seeking taxpayer dollars to help fund more than $200 million in proposed renovations to the 39-year-old facility.
The current lease expires in July. Though the Bills officials have maintained the team’s commitment to staying in Buffalo for the long term, there remain concerns of what happens to the franchise once Wilson dies.
Wilson has previously said he has no intention to leave the team to his family, and instead intends to have his heirs sell the franchise.