Bon Jovi writes to Bills fans
JON BON JOVI is hoping he's written a hit with Buffalo Bills fans in a bid to stem concerns of whether his prospective ownership group plans to buy and potentially relocate the franchise to Toronto.
In a letter published yesterday by the Buffalo News, Bon Jovi wrote that it's his ownership group's objective "to make the Bills successful in Buffalo." The letter, titled "Why We're Bidding on the Buffalo Bills," marks the first time the New Jersey rocker has publicly discussed his plans regarding the franchise.
The team is for sale after Hall of Fame owner Ralph Wilson died in March.
"There has been a lot of conjecture, so we think it's important to clarify our intentions to the fans of the team and people of Buffalo," Bon Jovi wrote. "I know how much the Bills mean to the people of this region. So I want you to hear this from me: I'm not risking it all to let you down. If we are given the chance to be the next owners of the Buffalo Bills, I promise you that we will bring the same passion that you do every Sunday, every day."
Calling it his intention to "carry on Ralph Wilson's legacy" in Buffalo, Bon Jovi said his group is committed to working with state and local officials and the business community to identify a new stadium site in the region.
At no point in the seven-paragraph letter does Bon Jovi name his two partners or mention they are both from Toronto. His group is rounded out by Larry Tanenbaum, chairman of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, and the Rogers family, which controls Rogers Communications.
The Toronto group's intentions have been met with skepticism in Buffalo.
Two weeks ago, Erie County executive Mark Poloncarz told the Associated Press that he has no doubts regarding the group's long-term intentions to move the team to Toronto.
Under their lease that runs through 2022, the Bills are essentially locked into playing at Ralph Wilson Stadium through the 2019 season. There is a one-time exception that would allow them to break the agreement for just under $28.4 million in 2020.
The deal also includes a strict non-relocation clause in which the Bills - including Wilson's estate - are not allowed to negotiate with anyone, who to their knowledge, has an intention of relocating the team during the term of the lease.
The Bills Fan Alliance, a group of fans and business leaders, questioned Bon Jovi's intentions in a statement.
"While we appreciate his sentiment, it's worth noting that nowhere in his letter does he write or directly state that he will 'not move the Bills from Buffalo.' ''
* Quinton Dial put a punishing hit on running back Alfonso Smith late in 11-on-11 work. Tony Jerod-Eddie pounded Jonathan Martin not once but twice, even sending him to his backside.
In their first audition to become San Francisco's starting nose tackle, Dial and Jerod-Eddie each showed off impressive physical strength in the middle of the defensive line. They have a tough job to replace Glenn Dorsey, who went down with a torn left biceps on Friday and will need surgery. While he isn't being ruled out for the entire 2014 season, the recovery is expected to be extensive - perhaps three to four months.
"It was kind of a freaky thing," defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. "Very disappointed for Glenn and him personally. He was in great shape."
* The Cleveland Browns claimed injured offensive lineman Michael Bowie off waivers from Seattle.
Bowie was a seventh-round pick a year ago and made eight starts during his first NFL season. But he needs shoulder surgery that will sideline him for four to six months, and he was cut by the Seahawks on Saturday.
In last night's game
* At Canton, Ohio, former Malvern Prep star Ryan Nassib threw a 73-yard touchdown strike to Corey Washington with 13:17 remaining to lift the New York Giants to a 17-13 victory over Buffalo in the preseason-opening Hall of Fame Game.
Nassib, drafted in the fourth round in 2013 out of Syracuse, was 7-for-12 for 139 yards, the TD and no interceptions.