As we’ve previously articulated, in no uncertain terms, Browns owner Randy Lerner needs to find a way to run his team without giving former Cleveland players a seat at the table and/or a spoon in the stew.
Put simply, great players from the past who did not immediately get into a roll-up-the-sleeves-type role with an NFL franchise have no business popping off about what the team for which they one played should do when it comes to hiring a head coach or making personnel moves.
Bills ownership is now dealing with a former player who thinks his Hall of Fame credentials as a quarterback translates into a broader ability to make high-level decisions regarding the course of the franchise.
According to Jim Corbett of USA Today, Jim Kelly wants to meet with owner Ralph Wilson and COO Russ Brandon to offer his “full support” in helping the team return to prominence. Kelly also hopes to be “a big part of the ownership group” in the future.
In the interim, Kelly has opted to play to the mob as he attempts to nudge the team in the direction he’d like to see it move.
For starters, Kelly wants to see the Bills dump their starting quarterback.
“I like Trent personally,” Kelly told Corbett. “He works hard. But he’s had three years. It’s time to find somebody
who is the future of the Buffalo Bills. If I’m the owner, that’s what I’m thinking.
“Whether it’s Tim Tebow, whether they’ll have a
shot at him when draft time comes . . . you have to look at the top three
quarterbacks in the draft, really study them. And you look for a guy
with good character, good leadership ability and good arm strength –
and a guy who doesn’t come from California.”
Somewhere, Troy Aikman, Warren Moon, Dan Fouts, and John Elway just simultaneously said, “What the f–k?”
Look, Kelly was a great quarterback. But he hasn’t worked as a scout and he hasn’t worked in a front office and he’d be the worst kind of owner/executive/adviser because he wouldn’t be able or willing to acknowledge the limits of his knowledge or abilities.
So Mr. Wilson should find a way to politely tell Kelly to butt out, and Bills fans shouldn’t fall victim to that same Cleveland-style misconception that great players somehow have all the answers when it comes to the challenge of assembling a great team.
[UPDATE: As some of you have pointed out, future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady is from California, too. Fortunately for his NFL team, he's not required to play in the unforgiving elements of Buffalo.]