ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) - The Bills are releasing veteran center Eric Wood in what is considered a formality after the player was diagnosed with a career-ending neck injury in January.

The decision on Thursday to release Wood allows the Bills to limit the effect the player's remaining bonus money will have on their salary cap. The money owed will now only count against the team's salary cap this year rather than be spread over the two years left on Wood's contract.

Though Wood said he'll never play again, the nine-year veteran balked at the last minute to announce his retirement during a news conference in January.

According to the NFL's collective bargaining agreement, teams could have asked for a portion of bonus money to be returned if a player retired before his contract expired. There was, however, a gray area if a player retired as a result of a career-ending injury.

Wood said tests revealed the severity of his neck injury shortly after Buffalo's season ended with a 10-3 loss to Jacksonville in the AFC wild-card playoff game.

___