He was the chosen one. It was said they'd destroy the New England Patriots, not join them.
Alex Van Pelt's former Western New York collaborators are coming to terms with his defection in the Buffalo Bills' long-standing rivalry with the New England Patriots, as the longtime backup quarterback now serves as the offensive coordinator in Foxborough.
Drew Bledsoe was understanding, being a former Patriot in his own right. For Jim Kelly, however, it's personal.
"We were going to have dinner, but he got a call from the (Las Vegas) Raiders to go out there for an interview," Kelly told Mike Reiss of ESPN. "Then I found out where he landed, the Patriots and I was like, 'Come on, man!"
"That was almost like when Thurman (Thomas) went to the Dolphins and I said to him, 'How could you do that?'"
How much more betrayal can Kelly take? Van Pelt was his sideline staple for the latter portions of his Buffalo career and he'd later serve as the understudy to his successors like Bledsoe and Doug Flutie during his decade-long stay in Orchard Park (1994-2003).
Since his departure from the field, Van Pelt had gone on to become one of the most attractive free agent assistants on the market and he later settled with a New England group seeking offensive redemption after an ugly campaign led to the end of the Mac Jones era. Van Pelt will now get to groom the next heir to the Tom Brady throne, which could arrive in the third slot in this spring's draft.
His distaste of the Patriots notwithstanding (posting a 12-8 record in 20 starts against Foxborough's finest), Kelly is nonetheless happy for his "brother" and is eager to see what he can do with a simultaneous fixer-upper and clean slate.
"I think the main thing is that I'm blessed to say Alex Van Pelt is one of my best friends," Kelly told Reiss. "I respect not only what he meant to me when I played, but what he means, right now, unfortunately, to the New England Patriots. Just a class act from start to finish and I love the guy."