The Buffalo Bills received devastating news on Friday (Jan. 26). Center Eric Wood, a key player on the offensive line, was forced to walk away from the game of football forever. The news came from the center himself, who tweeted the diagnosis in a very matter-of-fact fashion. The loss is a tough blow for both the football team and the player and serves as a reminder of the danger of the sport. The situation isn't entirely related to his football career (reportedly), but it's enough to bring it to an end.

Wood walks away

After nine years in the NFL, Wood's body simply couldn't take any more of a beating without a long-term risk to his health.

Like all players, he underwent a physical at the conclusion of the team's season. His, however, did not go as planned or hoped. Instead, the longtime Bills center found out that he has a condition that he could never be cleared from again, at least in terms of his football career.

Wood has played his entire career with the Bills, starting 120 games for the team and serving as a team captain; only Kyle Williams has been with the team longer.

He was a first-round pick in 2009 and a Pro Bowler in 2015. He was one of the more consistent offensive linemen in the entire NFL. He even started every snap for the team this season, when they made a long-awaited return to the postseason. His loss will prove to be immeasurable for the Bills.

How Buffalo moves forward

As tough as it is to simply move on from Wood, the team won't have much of a choice - they're still going to play the games next season.

Fellow offensive linemen Richie Incognito called it a "huge loss" as soon as it was announced. There isn't an obvious replacement on the roster. The team retained restricted free agent Ryan Groy last season, who started in place of an injured Wood during 2016. He would only be a short-term replacement for the Bills, though.

One place the Bills can look for a center is free agency.

They aren't historically big spenders, but there aren't elite options available anyway. Former Baltimore Ravens center Ryan Jensen will be available after a solid first year as a starter. Former New York Giants center Weston Richburg is also available, though he's been limited by concussions. Buffalo could also look to the draft. Arkansas center Frank Ragnow is the best prospect at the position and might go in the first round. Other top prospects at the position include Alabama's Bradley Bozeman and Iowa's James Daniels.