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Jim Kelly 'tired' of being Bills' standard, rooting for EJ Manuel

By Tim Graham

Two of the strongest traits EJ Manuel brings to the Buffalo Bills are intelligence and a quarterback's charisma that makes his teammates want to play with him and for him.

So did Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Bills legend Jim Kelly is aware of this. But when it comes to finally finding a franchise quarterback to replace him, Kelly sees potential in Manuel's arrival.

The Bills' opening-day quarterback will be the 11th starter since Kelly retired, and the list is ugly.

"I think I'm as hopeful as every fan in Buffalo," Kelly said today at One Bills Drive. "I live here. This is my home now. I said it earlier: You get tired of people always referring back to when I played. I don't want to do that. I want to refer somebody that is taking us to the next level now."

Manuel became the first quarterback the Bills have taken with their first pick -- in club history. Prior to Thursday night, they'd drafted three of the 191 quarterbacks taken league-wide since Kelly retired.

"I'm not only a former player, but I'm a fan, too," Kelly said. "I can feel what the fans feel. And to have somebody to come in and hopefully he can grasp not only the offense, but this city.

"And just the type of player he is, you can tell he's a good kid, but good kids always don't take you to the top. Ryan Fitzpatrick -- great friend of mine -- just couldn't get it done.

"I just hope EJ's the guy that we hope that he is."


2013 draft | EJ Manuel | Jim Kelly | Ryan Fitzpatrick
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |