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Buffalo Bills flight to Wellsville to get home for Christmas? Message from Coach McDermott on staying in Chicago

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Quarterback Josh Allen, Offensive Coordinator Ken Dorsey and wide receiver Gaabe Davis (who caught a TD from Allen) board the plan in Buffalo for Chicago. Buffalo Bills photo.

The question came up yesterday, and it wasn’t a joke. Why not Wellsville?

The Buffalo Bills spent Christmas Eve in Chicago because the airport closed in Buffalo. As I-90 was closed, flying to Rochester wasn’t an option.

The Bills had just defeated the Chicago Bears, 35-13, and now had no way to go home and celebrate Christmas with their families.

However, the team did have two other options on Christmas Eve, the airports in Wellsville and Bradford, Pa.. Both airports have runaways meeting specifications for some of the largest commercial and private planes. 

In the end, Coach Sean McDermott gave the team a night off in Chicago with no curfew and a flight left today to Rochester so the players will be home at some point tonight for Christmas.

The 3-time defending AFC East Champion Buffalo Bills that is.

There is a reason the team is 12-3 and McDermott put things in perspective. When the team was not going to travel, he did an interview with a pool reporter who then gave the quotes to all the media.

“It’s hard to be away from your family, especially when you work so hard and you don’t have a lot of time to be around them,” McDermott said. “I told the guys, ‘If I’m not with my family and they’re not with theirs, there is no one I’d rather be with than them.”

He said others have it worse and praised the residents who are dealing with no power and worse during the storm.

“Listen, I know we can’t get home. Everyone’s health and safety is of the utmost importance, whether it’s us or people back home,” McDermott said. “There are a lot of military people who aren’t able to come home at all right now, or people out there, emergency workers … Yes, it’s a shame we can’t get home. But there are a lot of people who have got it a lot worse than we do out there, including some people back home right now.

“This is where communities come together, right?” As hard as this is, it’s only going to make us stronger as a community,” McDermott continued. “From everything we went through over the offseason there, when we had a chance to go downtown and serve our community and help some of the healing around the Tops situation. And then we had (almost seven feet of snow) that came through a month ago. I think we get a lot of the attention, right, just because we’re out there and we’re in the public eye, but there is a lot of other people who are going through just life.

“Forget just playing a sport. But just life. I mean, to get displaced and have to change schedules as a professional sports team is one thing. But when you’re struggling just on the everyday life end of things, trying to make ends meet, and how sometimes businesses are affected by these things. I think that’s proper perspective right now, especially around Christmas time,” McDermott concluded.

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