Buffalo Bills legend Jim Kelly is making one more very important pass for the team.
The Hall of Fame quarterback posed for a photo this week that showed him “passing the torch” to the team’s new signal-caller, Josh Allen. The two have forged a strong relationship over the last three years, with Kelly offering some mentoring and support to the quarterback who just led the Bills to the AFC Championship game for the first time since Kelly was at the helm.
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Kelly Passes the Torch
In a post shared on Twitter by his wife, Jill Kelly, the former Bills quarterback handed a football to Allen with the words “Passing the Torch” and autographs from both quarterbacks. The two appeared to be meeting for a visit at Kelly’s scenic cabin in Ellicottville, New York, close to an hour south of Buffalo. Kelly has mentored other NFL quarterbacks through trips to the cabin, including Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
As ESPN reported in 2016, Roethlisberger would travel to Kelly’s cabin every offseason to go turkey hunting with the Bills legend. Roethlisberger added that Kelly kept in touch, checking in on him and offering some feedback.
“We talk a lot,” Roethlisberger said. “It’s not like any specific things, but I’ll get texts after games like, ‘Great job, keep it up,’ things like that. Those mean a lot coming from a guy like that.”
Allen has forged a relationship with Kelly as well. Back in December, when Allen tossed four touchdowns in a blowout win over the New England Patriots and passed Kelly’s single-season franchise record of 33 touchdown passes, the former Bills quarterback took to Twitter to congratulate him.
Allen Aims Higher
After turning in one of the best seasons in franchise history, Allen said he hopes to get even better in 2021. Allen told ESPN that he’s been spending time watching tape from last season and finding areas where he can improve.
“As many good things as we did last year,” Allen said, “there was still a lot of stuff on tape where I look back and say, ‘Why did I do this?’ That’s the common theme every year and that’s really cool that you get to look back and like I said, even though the wins and the numbers and all that stuff looked good on paper, there’s still so much room to improve and I’m excited for that process.”
While Allen looks to up his game and help to get the Bills over the hump after falling just short of the Super Bowl, Buffalo’s front office is working on making him the first long-term quarterback the team has seen since Kelly. The team has reportedly been working with Allen’s representation on a contract extension, one that is likely to make him one of the highest-paid in the league. In an analysis published earlier this year, Sportrac predicted that Allen would get something in the neighborhood of a four-year, $168 million contract with an average annual salary of $42 million and $115 million in guaranteed money.