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Ralph Wilson statue to be erected to honor Buffalo Bills founder

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On the anniversary of their former owner's passing, the Buffalo Bills announced a plan to build a commemorative statue outside his namesake stadium.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

It has been one year since Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. passed away at the age of 95. The Buffalo Bills franchise entered a transitional period that ultimately led to the team's purchase by Kim and Terry Pegula, but today the team announced plans to build a bronze statue to recognize Wilson's legacy.

The statue is a collaboration between the Pegulas, Wilson's widow Mary, and a team of designers from Pegula Sports and Entertainment (who also designed the French Connection tribute outside First Niagara Center). The statue will be based on an image of Wilson standing on the sidelines with Thurman Thomas during a 1990 win over the New York Jets.

"Wilson was wearing a warm smile and in the background of the photo was Hall of Fame head coach Marv Levy," the team site wrote about the still unreleased photo.

"It just seems so fitting to honor Ralph with a statue in Founder’s Plaza where fans will have the opportunity to interact and pose for photos," said Mary Wilson in a statement. "Ralph was so approachable and he absolutely loved the fans and he would have been honored and humbled to stand among them for all-time. I think everyone will appreciate the detail in the statue, even to the point that it replicates what Ralph wore to the stadium on game days, and I want to thank Terry and Kim Pegula for honoring Ralph in this special way."