Kelly on Tebow: 'A class act, great guy'

Updated: March 30, 2010, 1:29 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly kick-started his public campaign to pull his former team back into the NFL fold Sunday night.

It began with Tim Tebow.

Kelly, who has talked up Tebow the past few months, had dinner with the former Florida Gators quarterback Sunday night, Kelly's spokeswoman Tricia Cavalier said Monday. It's unclear whether the dinner occurred before or after the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner met with the team.

Kelly was traveling and unavailable for comment. Kelly's wife, Jill, first revealed the two had dinner in a post on her Twitter account Sunday night.

Tebow
Tebow
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Kelly

"He's a class act and a great guy," Kelly said of Tebow, according to his wife's post.

Bills coach Chan Gailey expressed interest in Tebow last week, saying he has "every tangible" you could ever want in a quarterback.

Kelly has been a vocal supporter of Tebow and has made it little secret he'd like to see the team draft him.

"I wish I could say more," Jill Kelly wrote. "If only I were there too! LOL! It was a great night! Now before U go 2 bed - pray for our Buffalo Bills!"

The Bills, who hold one draft pick in each of the first four rounds (overall Nos. 9, 41, 72 and 107), have started nine different quarterbacks since Kelly retired. Trent Edwards and Ryan Fitzpatrick split time in 2009, with Fitzpatrick taking the reins in Week 6.

The quarterback who led the Bills to four AFC championships has said a key to a return to greatness for the franchise begins under center.

"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," Kelly said to USA Today in November. "And you look for a guy with good character, good leadership ability and good arm strength."

The Bills went to four straight Super Bowls from the1990 through 1993 seasons with Kelly at quarterback. But there's been little to shout about at Ralph Wilson Stadium lately: Coach Dick Jauron was fired in November, and 2009 was the team's 10th consecutive season without making the playoffs.

Kelly said he sought to offer assistance in luring coaches and players to Buffalo and eventually wanted to become part of an ownership group that would keep the Bills in western New York.

"You have to start with the head coach and you have to start with finding a good signal-caller," Kelly said, according to the USA Today report. "You look at Indianapolis. You look at Pittsburgh. You look at New England. You look at what Drew Brees is doing in New Orleans. San Diego. All the teams that are doing well, they all have quarterbacks.

"The teams that are struggling, they don't have a quarterback," Kelly added. "You need that guy behind center, not only the guy who can throw the ball and make big plays. But to be the leader and be able to pull people together."

Tebow spent Monday and Tuesday visiting with the New England Patriots, according to a league source, and his scheduled visits next week include stops with the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Browns. A trip to Seattle also might be scheduled, sources said.

Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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