ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Tyler Bass, the Buffalo Bills kicker, faced disappointment after missing a crucial 44-yard field-goal attempt in the final moments of a 27-24 playoff loss to Kansas City. However, amidst the tough defeat, Bass found solace in the unexpected outpouring of support for a charitable cause close to his heart.
Since Sunday’s game, where the potential game-tying kick veered wide right, over $260,000 in donations have flooded in from across the nation to support the Ten Lives Club cat rescue shelter in suburban Buffalo.
“We are just mind-blown by this generosity,” expressed shelter spokeswoman Kimberly LaRussa.
The surge in donations, which began immediately after the game, has shown little signs of slowing down. Corporations and celebrities, including TV cook and pet food maker Rachael Ray, have joined the cause, pledging their support.
LaRussa acknowledged the unique circumstances, saying, “Of course, we wish it was under better circumstances. We haven’t spoken to him. But I’m pretty certain that he’s seen what’s going on, and I hope it brings him a smile.”
Bass, who hasn’t spoken publicly since addressing reporters post-game, suspended his social media accounts. The reason for this move remains unclear, and attempts to reach him through his agent for comment on the donations were unsuccessful.
Despite the tough moment on the field, Bass received support from teammates and the organization. General manager Brandon Beane emphasized the unwavering belief in Bass’s abilities and the support within the team.
Bass, a South Carolina native, has been associated with the Ten Lives Club for two years, promoting awareness against animal cruelty. The nonprofit no-kill cat shelter, established 24 years ago, plans to utilize the funds raised for the well-being of the cats and to honor Bass’s commitment to their cause.
Bills fans, known for their charitable initiatives, have a history of rallying behind causes in the aftermath of significant sports events. In 2017, donations flooded in for then-Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton’s foundation after he helped the Bills secure a playoff berth. Similarly, in 2020, over $1 million was donated to Buffalo’s Oishei Children’s Hospital in honor of quarterback Josh Allen.
Now, the spotlight is on the cats as they become the beneficiaries of Bills fans’ compassion.
“I hope this makes him feel better,” LaRussa concluded. “We just want him to know that Ten Lives Club here is his No. 1 fan, and so are the cats.”