ORCHARD PARK - The first day of the Buffalo Bills mandatory minicamp Tuesday morning was conducted under a cloud of concern after the team was informed that co-owner Kim Pegula is dealing with an unexpected health problem.
The Pegula family put out a statement to announce that Kim is undergoing medical care for the undetermined condition, and it asked for prayers and privacy regarding the situation.
The statement read:
“Kim Pegula is receiving medical care as a result of some unexpected health issues. We are very grateful for the progress she has made over the past few days. She has an exceptional team of medical experts at her side. We ask that you keep Kim and our family in your prayers and ask that you respect our need for privacy.”
The 53-year-old Pegula, who grew up in Fairport after being adopted as an orphan from South Korea by Ralph and Marilyn Kerr in 1974, is the wife of Terry Pegula.
She graduated from Fairport High School and later attended Houghton College in the southern Tier. She married Terry Pegula in 1993, and together they bought the Buffalo Sabres in 2011 and the Bills in 2014.
Their ownership portfolio also consists of the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League, and the Buffalo Bandits and Rochester Knighthawks of the National Lacrosse League.
The health issue she is dealing with is unknown, and neither the Pegula family nor the Bills organization want to elaborate at this time. It is known that she is in a hospital near the family home in Boca Raton, Florida.
Bills coach Sean McDermott began his press conference Tuesday before the start of the Bills’ practice by addressing the situation.
“Before I get started, I just want to open with a couple of words on Terry and Kim and what they're going through, and let them know that our thoughts and our prayers are with them,” McDermott said.
“What they've done for me, for my family, for this team and this city and western New York, just being there for them, all of us collectively offering our prayers, our support and giving them the privacy they need I think is important during this time. I know you'll have some questions. I respect those questions. But I also know what's important right now and that is that we're all thinking of them and supporting them every way we can.”
After the two-hour practice was complete, quarterback Josh Allen essentially spoke for the players.
“I'd like to just send my condolences to the Pegulas and their family, obviously,” Allen said, though he probably didn’t mean to use the word condolences. “Don't know all the details of what's going on, we're all praying for them and we appreciate everybody else in the community praying for them as well. She's done so much for all our organization and we all love her so much.”
Allen was asked if there was a sort of pall hanging over the practice, and he admitted there was.
“It's such a surprise to the team to hear about that, so you can definitely feel that,” he said. “She's on our minds and this is a time that they need privacy and just as many prayers as they can get.”
Sal Maiorana can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @salmaiorana.
This article originally appeared on Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: Kim Pegula, Buffalo Bills co-owner, dealing with health issue