ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Stray cats are benefitting from Tyler Bass’ field-goal attempt going astray.
Down as the Buffalo Bills kicker felt after missing a potential game-tying 44-yard attempt wide right in the final minutes of a 27-24 divisional playoff round loss to Kansas City on Sunday, Bass can be uplifted in knowing how thousands have rallied to support his charitable connection.
As of Wednesday afternoon, more than $260,000 in donations from around the nation have since poured in to suburban Buffalo’s Ten Lives Club cat rescue shelter.
“We are just mind blown by this generosity,” shelter spokeswoman Kimberly LaRussa said.
“Of course, we wish it was under better circumstances,” she added. “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.”
The surge in donations began late Sunday and shown little signs of slowing with corporations and celebrities, such as TV cook and pet food maker Rachael Ray, making pledges.
Bass hasn’t spoken since addressing reporters following the game.
“I feel terrible, you know? I love this team and it hurts. This one hurts bad,” he said. “It’s a feeling that I can’t even describe. It’s a tough feeling, but you know, just got to keep your head high.”
Bass suspended his social media accounts, though it’s unclear why and when he did so. And a message left with his agent seeking comment on the donations was not returned.
Bass was consoled by numerous teammates following the game, with general manager Brandon Beane saying he gave the kicker a hug.
“I hate that’s the kick he’s got to live with until next September,” Beane said on Tuesday. “I would hope that fans or whoever, if someone’s giving him a hard time, would take in his career and how hard he works and how much his teammates and this organization believes in him. ... There’s no wavering of support in this building.”
From South Carolina, Bass has spent his entire four-year NFL career with the Bills.
He was first introduced to Ten Lives two years ago through a nonprofit organization called Show Your Soft Side, which recruits athletes and celebrities to advocate against animal cruelty. Ten Lives is a nonprofit no-kill cat shelter and was established about 24 years ago.
LaRussa said Bass, who has two cats, immediately warmed to the campaign, which included him posing with strays in photos.
“They were crawling all over him. It was hysterical,” she said.
The money raised will go toward providing everything from food to medical services for the cats. Plus, LaRussa said, the shelter plans to honor Bass in some form.
Bills fans are renown for their charitable donations through the years.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars were sent to then-Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton’s charitable foundation after he led Cincinnati in rallying to beat Baltimore in the 2017 regular-season finale, with the Ravens loss clinching Buffalo its first playoff berth in 18 seasons.
In 2020, more than $1 million in donations were made to Buffalo’s Oishei Children’s Hospital in honor of quarterback Josh Allen after his grandmother Patricia died.
Now its the cats' turn to benefit.
“I hope this makes him feel better,” LaRussa said. “We just want him to know that Ten Lives Club here is his No. 1 fan, and so are the cats.”
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