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Former county exec and all-purpose back Ed Rutkowski says Bills are staying

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BATAVIA -- Ed Rutkowski laughed when asked if he could drop some names.

"Nope," he replied.

Rutkowski has a unique perspective on the Buffalo Bills. He's a former player and Erie County executive. Parties that will determine the team's long-term future in Western New York have come to him for insight.

"People have talked to me, yes," Rutkowski said. "That's why I'm so confident it's going to stay right here in Buffalo.

"Take my word for it."

Rutkowski, the all-purpose back who played on the Bills' back-to-back AFL championship teams, was at Terry Hills Golf Course today for the 28th annual Jim Kelly Celebrity Classic. He's president of the Buffalo Bills Alumni Foundation and sits on the Kelly for Kids Foundation's board of directors.

There was no denying Rutkowski's optimism the Bills will stick around.

"There are people who are going to be able to step up to the plate," Rutkowski said. "I feel quite confident the team is going to be in Buffalo forever. There are just too many good people who want to see it happen."

Rutkowski doesn't seem to agree with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's stance that a new stadium is required to keep the Bills economically feasible here.

Rutkowski noted an ambitious, $400 million project at his alma mater, Notre Dame, where two buildings totaling 750,000 square feet are being added to the school's 84-year-old stadium.

"The stadium out there in Orchard Park, you can do the same thing eventually," Rutkowski said. "You can put a dome on it. You can turn it into an entertainment, convention-center complex so you can use it 365 days a year, and you don't have to spend an awful lot of money on a new stadium and have the taxpayers contribute to it.

"That stadium's got great sightlines. Some of the newer stadiums, you get nosebleeds in the upper decks. As people say, it's got good bones.

"After you get the $130 million renovations done, I don't know if you're going to need a new stadium. You'll just need it more renovated in the future and maybe put a dome on it."

  • lordcalvert

    When any politician says, "Take my word for it," don't.

    • Ridgewaycynic2013

      I just added that to my book of excellent sayings. Thank you.

  • John Nowak

    Buffalo Bills Domed Stadium on Lackawanna's Waterfront is the only right place!

    The best choice for all of Western New York, please sign petition.

    Bethlehem Waterfront Park

    * Change Western New York's image forever from the rust belt to a green belt.

    * 1200 acres waterfront, two miles wide and a mile deep of uninterrupted land for plenty of green space projects and parking.

    * A domed stadium (retractable roof) beside a large inner harbor, large front plaza and board walk overlooking the harbor, Splash lagoon, (possible museums/theme attractions), Wood-lawn beach extended, youth athletics area (football, baseball and soccer), boat ramps, 30,000 trees, two hundred Rv/camper sites, amphitheater/elevated patios overlooking the beach, park and sunsets, picnic shelters, wildlife/bird nursery, art area, garden area, hotel district, restaurant and shopping district on Ridge Road and old Route Five Boulevard and condo district.

    * The land has multiple six existing access roads. A seventh fast track thruway connector (quick access to waterfront for thruway drivers, attracts visitors) can be built on an abandon 2.3 miles railway to link up with Route Five and Waterfront with no tolls. Fast track Route Five, with no stop lights. These will enhance and maximize existing traffic flow for the City of Buffalo rush hour, park and events.

    * The domed stadium would be enough away from the immediate shoreline to protect tens of thousands of tailgating Bills fans from the weather. Take advantage of the temperature of the air will be ten degrees warming from the lake retaining the summer heat in the later season.

    * The City of Buffalo's numerous hotels, restaurants, shops, parking and waterfront can be connected by way of the Buffalo's light rail transit system extended out and along the waterfront to the park.

    * A natural wonder showcase for 80,000 fans and the NATIONAL AWARENESS of millions of viewers to see on TV multiple times a year, attract the SUPER BOWL.

    * Western New York offering a vast multiple use and family friendly atmosphere all along the waterfront.

    * The greatest of youth plans in miles of waterfront natural beauty, which re-energizes souls and spirits.

    * Create tens of thousands of jobs

    https://www.change.org/petitions/jim-kelly-buffalo-bills-domed-stadium-on-lackawanna-s-waterfront-is-the-only-right-place

    • Haswyg

      John, just stop. Every article on every site that has to do with the Bills, you spew your diatribe and link to change.org, as if that's ever convinced somebody of doing something different than what they originally wanted.

  • Shaun Harper

    Words from another person who hasn't left Erie county in twenty years. Get out and see the rest of the world and you will see how bad RW stadium is.

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Vic Carucci returned to The Buffalo News as a Bills beat reporter in September. Carucci covered the Bills for 17 years before joining NFL.com as a columnist in 1999. Prior to rejoining The News, he spent three years as a senior editor for the Cleveland Browns.

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida.