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Jim Kelly calls Pats 'vulnerable,' Aaron Hernandez a dummy

Jim Kelly
Jim Kelly says "sooner or late the Bills got to rise to the top."

By Tim Graham

Jim Kelly isn't all that busted up about the New England Patriots' offseason troubles.

"I don't really feel too sorry for them," Kelly said this morning on the NFL Network, "because sooner or late the Bills got to rise to the top, and if we have to take it that way? Oh, well."

Kelly was a guest on "NFL AM" to talk about his recovery from cancer surgery and heard some football questions, too.

The state of the Patriots is a hot topic these days.

"They're very vulnerable from the standpoint if you look at what Tom Brady's lost," Kelly said.

Of the prolific receiving stats on New England's roster last year, 88 percent of its catches, 87 percent of its yards and 88 percent of its touchdowns are off the roster or hurt.

Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd and Danny Woodhead are gone. Aaron Hernandez is in jail. Rob Gronkowski is recovering from another surgery.

Tom Brady's top returning and healthy target is Julian Edelman, who caught 21 passes for 235 yards and three touchdowns in nine games.

The loss of Welker, Kelly said, is "like me losing Andre Reed as a guy you depend on, not just for the week in, week out, but in clutch situations. You always look towards your No. 1 target. Mine was always Andre Reed.

"When you lose a Wes Welker, that's going to hurt. There's no doubt. They have to feel something when it comes to losing their four, five top receivers."

Kelly called Hernandez's arrest "very, very sad," and expressed his regards to the victim. Kelly also noted we haven't heard about any direct evidence Hernandez committed the murder, but even if Hernandez didn't do it, Kelly was aghast that a player could allow himself to be associated with such a nasty circumstance.

"Stupidity," Kelly said. "What are you thinking? This is a society today where you have to watch what you do, watch what you say.

"If this holds true, man, it's a sad day not only for Hernandez's family, but for the NFL in general."

On the Bills' quarterback competition, Kelly said Kolb was in the lead, but suggested that shouldn't be the case for long.

When they open their season against the Patriots, the Bills will use their 11th starting quarterback since Kelly retired.

"Both are throwing the ball very, very well," Kelly said. "I think Kevin Kolb might be a little bit ahead because of the mental approach. He's been in the league for a number of years.

"EJ Manuel's a very smart, bright guy. He's got the athletic ability that Kevin Kolb might not have, but I'd say that the early pick would probably be Kevin Kolb at this time, but they picked EJ Manuel for a reason and that sort of future.

"But it's good that we have two guys that hopefully can take over and lead this team back into the playoffs. I mean, I'm just like any other fan. I'm tired of watching other teams play in January."


Andre Reed | EJ Manuel | Jim Kelly | Kevin Kolb
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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 |