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Mary Wilson named Buffalo Bills controlling owner

The Buffalo Bills have announced that Mary Wilson will be the controlling owner of the team moving forward while they look to secure the sale of the team - which could happen much sooner than expected.

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Spor
Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

The Buffalo Bills have announced that Mary Wilson, wife of the late Ralph C. Wilson, Jr., will be the team's new controlling owner moving forward. That doesn't mean the team is not for sale, as the team's press release explains:

"A process will be established at an appropriate time for the sale of the franchise," wrote the team in their release. "[Appointing Mrs. Wilson] will ensure that the club complies and is faithful to NFL rules and to its obligations to New York State and Erie County. We plan to have detailed discussions with the NFL, the State and County, and others as we determine the timing and structure of any sales process."

This period of transition will also keep Russ Brandon in place as President. Mrs. Wilson said in a statement that she has "complete confidence" in Brandon, as well as in GM Doug Whaley and head coach Doug Marrone, as they continue their duties.

The news is widely considered a formality, and the first step in the eventual sale of the team - which, according to a source of Tim Graham of The Buffalo News, could happen much sooner than expected.

Per Graham, the Bills will begin evaluating bids to buy the team within the next few months, and that they could have an offer in place for league owners to vote on as soon as October (but more likely later in December, or perhaps next March). When Mrs. Wilson and the Bills find an acceptable offer, they'll take it to league owners, and 75 percent of them must approve it before the sale can become official.