2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Rookie QB Manuel has ties to Bills famed past

By JOHN WAWROW - AP Sports Writer
    2013-04-26 17:10

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) - Having Bruce Smith for a godfather and with Jim Kelly already offering his support, quarterback EJ Manuel has well-established connections to the Buffalo Bills' Hall-of-Fame past.

On Friday, Manuel began looking ahead to a hopeful future. Arriving in Buffalo a day after being selected with the 16th pick in the NFL draft, he accepted the challenge of helping usher in a new and improved chapter for what's been a win-starved franchise.

``I think there is always pressure whenever you're the quarterback coming into a situation like this. Obviously, there's a lot of expectations,'' Manuel said. ``But I expect greatness for myself. When I went to Florida State, it was the same way. So now, moving forward to the next step, the highest level of football, I'm ready to go.''

Manuel was the only quarterback selected in the first round of the draft. At 6-foot-4, he's a strong-armed and mobile player who the Bills deemed to have the most potential out of what was regarded as a below-average draft-eligible quarterback class.

He joins a team that's not made the playoffs in 13 seasons, and is rebuilding under rookie head coach Doug Marrone. And Manuel's being given the opportunity to immediately compete with newly signed six-year veteran Kevin Kolb for a starting job that's been unsettled since Kelly retired following the 1996 season.

``I think I'm a winner,'' said Manuel, who played a role in the Seminoles winning four consecutive Bowl games. ``To me, the biggest thing is to come in and earn the respect of my teammates. I think the best way to do that is not do a lot of talking. Just come in and try to learn as fast as possible.''

Kelly's on board with the selection.

``I think I'm as hopeful as every fan in Buffalo,'' said Kelly, who attended Manuel's inaugural news conference. ``You get tired of people always referring back to when I played. I don't want to do that. I want to refer to somebody that has taken us to the next level.''

With a little patience, Kelly believes Manuel can be that player.

``I just hope EJ's the guy that he is,'' he said. ``I'll put it this way, we're starting out on the right foot.''

Manuel still refers to Kelly as ``Mr. Kelly. The two first met two years ago, when Kelly joined his nephew, Chad, on a recruiting visit to Florida State.

Then there's Smith, who has known Manuel since he was born. Smith and Manuel's father, Erik, remain friends after growing up together in the Virginia Beach, Va., area.

Little did anyone realize EJ would wind up following in his godfather's footsteps to Buffalo.

``It's crazy,'' EJ Manuel said. ``I met Bruce when I was a small kid. I remember looking up and staring at him.''

Now, they have a chance to be on a more equal NFL footing.

``I'm optimistic,'' Smith said, during a telephone conference call. ``I think with the right components, the right system, the right head coach, the right quarterback coach, the right teammates, that he can be the one who's the face of this franchise.''

Manuel went 25-6 in four years with the Seminoles, and completed nearly 67 percent of his attempts to finish as the school's most accurate passer.

Questions remain about his decision making. He finished with 47 touchdowns and 28 interceptions, which were the result of him occasionally forcing throws.

NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock referred to Manuel as ``a piece of clay: Raw, but you can mold him into something special.''

ESPN analyst Todd McShay knocked the Bills for selecting Manuel.

``EJ Manuel is not a first-round draft pick at the quarterback position,'' McShay said. ``I think it's going to be a big mistake for this organization.''

The criticism didn't bother Manuel.

``I think it only takes one team to fall in love with you,'' Manuel said. ``And I'm happy the Buffalo Bills fell in love with me.''

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Jamarca SanfordMar 6 01:33p

New Orleans Saints SS Jamarca Sanford re-signed to a one-year contract Friday, March 6. Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Brandon MarshallMar 6 01:23p

Chicago Bears WR Brandon Marshall was traded to the New York Jets in exchange for a fifth-round pick, pending a physical, per a league source.

Niles PaulMar 6 12:33p

Washington Redskins TE Niles Paul re-signed Friday, March 6. Paul could earn up to a little under $10 million with the new contract.

Matt PraterMar 6 12:13p

Detroit Lions PK Matt Prater signed a three-year, $9 million contract extension Friday, March 6.

Marques ColstonMar 6 10:43a

New Orleans Saints WR Marques Colston restructured his contract Friday, March 6, and will return in 2015.

Reggie WayneMar 6 10:43a

Indianapolis Colts impending free-agent WR Reggie Wayne will not be re-signed for 2015, the team announced Friday, March 6.

Jerome SimpsonMar 5 05:33p

Free-agent WR Jerome Simpson (Vikings) signed a two-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers Thursday, March 5.

LaMarr WoodleyMar 5 05:13p

Oakland Raiders LB LaMarr Woodley was officially released Thursday, March 5.

Vince WilforkMar 5 01:23p

Free-agent DT Vince Wilfork (Patriots) said he still plans to play in 2015, and he could return to the New England Patriots. 'Can I still play football? Hell yea! [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 5 01:03p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's meeting with head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman Wednesday, March 4, went well after the parties spent more than four hours [ More ]

Peyton ManningMar 5 12:53p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning officially passed his physical and will return for the 2015 season.

Dwayne BoweMar 5 11:53a

Kansas City Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe my be cut if the team can not trade him.

Vince WilforkMar 5 09:53a

New England Patriots DT Vince Wilfork announced that the Patriots will not pick up his option for the 2015 season, which makes him a free agent.

Darnell DockettMar 5 09:53a

Free-agent DE Darnell Dockett (Cardinals) agreed with the San Francisco 49ers Thursday, March 5, according to his agent Drew Rosenhaus.

Keith RiversMar 4 08:23p

Free-agent LB Keith Rivers (Bills) signed a one-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys Wednesday, March 4. Rivers will add depth to the team's linebacking group. He has plenty of [ More ]

Matt CasselMar 4 07:53p

Minnesota Vikings QB Matt Cassel was traded to the Buffalo Bills Wednesday, March 4. The Bills swapped their 2015 fifth-round pick for the Vikings 2015 sixth-round draft pick. Minnesota [ More ]

Pierre ThomasMar 4 07:53p

New Orleans Saints RB Pierre Thomas was released Wednesday, March 4.

Trent ColeMar 4 04:13p

Philadelphia Eagles LB Trent Cole was officially cut Wednesday, March 4.

DeMeco RyansMar 4 01:03p

Philadelphia Eagles LB DeMeco Ryans (Achilles'), who tore his Achilles' halfway through the 2014 season, probably won't be back with the team after they acquired LB Kiko Alonso from [ More ]

Andre JohnsonMar 4 11:23a

Houston Texans WR Andre Johnson has asked the team to release him this offseason.

LeSean McCoyMar 3 06:43p

Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy will reportedly be traded for Buffalo Bills LB Kiko Alonso.

Kiko AlonsoMar 3 06:43p

Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy will reportedly be traded for Buffalo Bills LB Kiko Alonso.

Tyvon BranchMar 3 05:23p

Oakland Raiders SS Tyvon Branch was officially released, as expected, Tuesday, March 3.

DeMarco MurrayMar 3 01:43p

Dallas Cowboys impending free-agent RB DeMarco Murray would likely re-sign with the Cowboys if the offer they make him is equal or similar financially to offers he receives from [ More ]

Cole BeasleyMar 3 01:13p

Dallas Cowboys WR Cole Beasley agreed to a four-year contract extension worth $13.1 million. The extension could be worth as much as $15.1 million.

Andre JohnsonMar 2 11:03p

Houston Texans WR Andre Johnson was asked to accept a reduced role, but he declined and asked to be traded or cut, according to people familiar with the situation.

Bernard PollardMar 2 07:23p

Tennessee Titans SS Bernard Pollard has been informed that he will be released, according to sources familiar with the situation. Pollard asked the Titans to release him last month. [ More ]

Le'Veon BellMar 2 04:33p

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell could be suspended up to four games, according to the NFL's new substance-abuse policy. A two-game suspension is standard for a DUI resulting from [ More ]

J.D. WaltonMar 2 04:13p

New York Giants C J.D. Walton was released Monday, March 2.

Lance MooreMar 2 04:03p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Lance Moore was released Monday, March 2.

Brad JonesMar 2 03:53p

Free-agent LB Brad Jones (Packers) signed a two-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles Monday, March 2. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Charles ClayMar 2 03:12p

Miami Dolphins TE Charles Clay received the transition tag Monday, March 2, according to a source. The transition tag for tight ends is worth $7.071 million.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group