BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) The Buffalo Bills organization went above and beyond to include its most famous fan in the excitement of the opening night of the NFL draft.
Ezra Castro, who is best known as “Pancho Billa” at the Bills games, us currently in Hospice care at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Houston to be near his family as he battles cancer. He had been invited to be on stage at the NFL draft to announce the Bills first pick on Thursday, but his health wouldn’t allow it.
So, the Bills brass arranged the next best thing. In a video the team posted to Twitter, you can see the communications by phone between Pancho and the ‘war room’ where the team was strategizing its pick.
“Pancho, are you there?” said Bills General Manager Brandon Beane.
PANCHO BILLA-“Yes sir, I got my mask on. Boy, I gotta record this for my records.”
BEANE-“Awesome, well everybody in the draft room is listening to you and we kind of like this defensive Tackle from Houston, Ed Oliver. What do you think?”
PANCHO BILLA-“Oh, Ed Oliver, yea Baby!”
BEANE-“Okay, I’m gonna put you up near the speakerphone. You gotta tell our rep who’s in Nashville. Here we go Pancho. tell Jeff who we want”
PANCHO-“Our Buffalo Bills want Ed Oliver from Houston. Viva Los Bills, Baby”
TERRY PEGULA-BILLS CO-OWNER-“Hey Pancho it’s Terry Pegula.”
PANCHO-“Terry Pegula, I love you buddy.”
PEGULA-“We love you too, we’re praying for you up here, you hear.”
PANCHO-“Yes sir. I appreciate that. I’ll keep fighting like the Buffalo Bills.”
PEGULA-“Thank you. We love your spirit.”
PANCHO-“Alright let’s go Buffalo.”
Then minutes after selecting their first pick, Bills Coach Sean McDermott went before reporters, and made a point of first offering some perspective about Pancho Billa. “I know tonight’s a big night for the organization, our families, but just to send our support, prayers on behalf of the entire organization to Pancho Billa in his battle right now, letting him know that we’re with him in spirit even though we can’t be there physically right now.”
Castro in on oxygen 24 hours a day. he says his right lung is “pretty much shot”.