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Josh Allen gets surprise visit from Jim Kelly

Posted May 11, 2018

Buffalo's first-round pick was understandably focused on his first practice as a professional on Friday, as rookie minicamp opened for the Bills. He never noticed the Hall of Fame QB watching him from the sidelines.

He wasn’t nervous during his first day as a professional Friday. Bills first-round pick Josh Allen looked pretty comfortable running a huddle and completing passes to receivers in the first day of rookie minicamp practices at One Bills Drive. The nerves didn’t set in until after practice when his head coach told him he wanted to introduce him to someone.

“After (practice) coach McDermott said he wanted to introduce me to Jim Kelly so I got a little nervous at that point,” said Allen. “I didn’t know he was here. I wasn’t really looking on the sideline.”

The Bills Hall of Fame quarterback, who is just off his latest surgery to remove the squamous cell sarcoma that returned after a successful initial bout with the cancer, made his way out to rookie minicamp and arrived about 20 minutes into the practice session.

Kelly confirmed to Buffalobills.com that he was interested in seeing Allen practice in person, but he had made initial contact with Allen not long after the Bills made him the seventh pick in the draft.

“It was the morning after the draft. He just said, ‘Welcome to Buffalo. I love the way you play.’ We texted a few times,” said Allen. “We got off to a healthy relationship. Hopefully in the near future we keep that relationship going and I can come to him for any sort of advice. I’m sure he’d give it to me and to have that relationship would be huge for me.”

Allen walked off the practice field with Kelly and the two talked all the way to the locker room. Kelly’s speech has been compromised by the removal of a good portion of his jaw and upper palate, but it was clear that Allen was intently listening knowing full well who was talking to him.

“It was awesome,” Allen said. “For him to come out and show his support and show everybody that he’s doing well speaks volumes. You want to talk about a tough guy, that’s a tough guy there to be what he’s been through. To come and still be himself.

“He said to embrace the city of Buffalo. He said a few more things that I’ll keep to myself. I’m still shaking from meeting him. He’s a special man.”

Allen was asked if he was previously aware of what Kelly accomplished in his Hall of Fame career. Speaking to the media in the ADPRO Sports Training Center at One Bills Drive, the rookie quarterback astutely pointed to the wall where the club’s four AFC title banners hang.

“It’s very cool just knowing what he did here and what he means to the city of Buffalo,” said Allen. “That’s where I want to be. That’s eventually the goal for my career to be regarded in the city of Buffalo like Jim Kelly. Every quarterback who plays here wants to be in the same sentence as him just because of what he is and what he means to the city. For him to come out here is just an awesome experience.”