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Poloncarz: Bills never threatened to leave Buffalo during negotiations

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

On Sunday, Twitter was atwitter about the possibility that the Buffalo Bills might become the Austin Bills or move to another city because lease negotiations were contentious. We told you to take that with a grain of salt (actually, we said a “dump truck full of grains of salt”) and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz is refuting key parts of that report from The Buffalo News.

“At no time has the team representative said ‘if you do not build this and pay for it, we are moving’,” said Poloncarz. “I want the public to understand, there has been no gun put to the head of Erie County and New York State stating ‘if you do not do this, we are moving’.”

As Poloncarz elaborates, negotiations take time and compromise and he doesn’t expect it to be a quick process.

“My goal is to get a deal done that’s fair for all parties: Bills fans, to ensure the Bills are playing in Buffalo, but also the citizens of Erie County. There is no blank check,” said Poloncarz. “There will hopefully be a compromise in which we all come together one way or another and do what’s best for this community and ensure the integrity of the football team as the Buffalo Bills for decades to come.”

When the current lease expires in 2023, the Bills’ stadium will be 50 years old.

Kim and Terry Pegula, owners of the Bills, haven’t commented publicly since Sunday’s report.