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What He Said: Josh Allen on Day 1 of Bills minicamp, meeting Jim Kelly

Q: So, just give us your feelings on how your first day as a professional went?

A: [It] felt good. It’s awesome to get back on the field, throw to some guys, and just start moving around again. We’re out of the draft process and now it’s real football. I feel like a little kid again, just doing what I love to do.

Q: What are some things that the coaches really wanted you to work on today especially? Not diving into everything, but first day jitters, what did they want you to do?

A: Just to grasp the concepts that we were putting in. [It’s] about taking one step at a time and today was the first step. The coaches were very enthusiastic and very helpful and instrumental with everything. They obviously want me to play well and go out here and go out there and throw the ball like we did today and let our guys make some plays. It was fun to get out there.

Q: Josh, are you letting it sink in a little bit? What was it like meeting Jim Kelly for the first time?

A: It was awesome. For him to come out and show his support and show everybody that he’s doing well speaks volumes because if you want to talk about a tough guy, that’s a tough guy right there to do what he’s been through and to come out and still be himself. He’s going to be, hopefully, a mentor to me. I’m going to take everything that he said very heavily, just because of what he’s done on the field and what he’s done for the city of Buffalo. As a quarterback in Buffalo, it’s like a dream come true to meet a guy like him.

Q: How much do you know, [or] how much did you know about his career before you got here?

A: Well, it’s all on the wall. It’s very cool, just knowing what he did here, what he means to the city of Buffalo. Like I said, he’s just a tough man and he’s been through a lot. His spirit has never changed, and that’s what everybody just can’t grasp on. He’s been through some of the toughest moments and he still comes out here and shows his support. He’s still the man he was and for a man like that to- it just speaks volume to how tough he is as a man.

Q: In some ways does it maybe sink in of what shoes you might have to fill?  A lot of quarterbacks have tried, but here you are next to a guy whose shoes-

A: Well, yeah, that’s where I want to be. That’s eventually [my goal in] my career to be regarded in the city of Buffalo like a Jim Kelly. I think that every quarterback who plays here wants to be in the same sentence with him just because of what he is and what he holds for the city. For him, like I said, to come out here is just an awesome experience.

Q: You mentioned the coaches, [and] Brian Daboll is like right on you at every moment. Are you anticipating that in every drill and everything that you’re doing?

A: I hope so. I love it. He’s got a lot of enthusiasm in him. Obviously, he’s been around a lot of great quarterbacks, so he knows what he’s doing, he knows what he’s talking about. Anything that he says, I take that very dearly. I want to be molded by him and just anything that he says, for me [I need] to grasp that concept of whatever he’s talking about, embed it into my mind, and then carry it out and do it on the field.

Q: Josh, now that you’ve dug into the playbook a little bit, how much can you be familiar with? I know the terminology will be different, but [you may say] ‘oh, I recognize this from something I did at Wyoming or wherever’.

A: Yeah, there’s a few similar concepts, it’s just verbiage is different. It’s football. The game hasn’t changed. There’s not tons of new concepts every year that go in. Offense is offense; it’s our job to move the ball, to score points and keep our defense off the field.

Q: Hey Josh, not knowing how much of a perfectionist you might be, but because you’re working with so many new guys, not only here but when the rest of the guys get here, it’s going to be so much newness. What level of patience do you have with yourself is something doesn’t go right on a day? A lot of that would be because you’re unfamiliar, but do you have the level of patience to push through?

A: I definitely do. Obviously, you want to jump in and compete and go out there and perform as well as you can [while] grasping the concepts and trying to put it onto the field and still read the defense and throw the ball on time to where it needs to be. It’s not going to happen every time at first; that’s why we go out there [and] do rookie minicamp for that reason. This is kind of unfamiliar territory, we’re diving into it now, and I’ve got a good coaching staff and a great team surrounding me.

Q: You seemed pretty animated out there today during practice. Have you always been that way?

A: Oh yeah.

Q: Competitive?

A: Very competitive. I try to put that upon my teammates, just making sure that they know that I’m doing everything I can to help the team and put our team hopefully in a position to win games one day. [I’m] just going out there and being who I am, being a voice out there, going and high fiving and slapping butts. That’s what guys do here.

Q: Just wondering if you were a little nervous? Everybody’s out there going, ‘oh, is he accurate, is his throw a little off?’ Do you get the sense of that? ‘[That] everybody’s watching to see how accurate I am even in practice?’

A: Not really. I’m going out there and I’m going to play football how I know to play football. I’m still working on a lot of things. Coach Daboll’s going to help me out. Through this whole draft process, I felt like I’ve made a lot of strides. Coming out here, [I] felt like we did well today; felt like I put the ball where I needed to be most of the time. Obviously, there are throws I’d like back, but, as we progress through this rookie minicamp, and through the rookie developmental period, I plan to improve every day.

Q: Have you seen a bigger ‘Mike’ linebacker when you get to the line than [number] 49 [Tremaine Edmunds]?

A: I’m telling you, Tremaine is a freak. I told him, just don’t hit me. He’s a presence out there because he’s tall, he lengthy. You look at him [and] he’s just built; he doesn’t have an ounce of fat on him. I’m glad he’s on my team.

Q: Josh, what did Jim Kelly say to you that resonated with you? I know it was a short walk, but I’m sure he can impart a lot of wisdom on that short walk.

A: Obviously, just what he said [was] how to embrace the city of Buffalo. He said a few more things, [but] I’ll keep those behind closed doors. [I’m] still shaking from meeting him. He’s a special man.

Q: Did he give some hunting tips, it sounded like at one point?

A: At one point he did. He knows a guy, so he’s going to hook me up he said.

Q: He mentioned a text message to you, when did you first have interactions with Jim?

A: It was the morning after the draft. He just said, ‘welcome to Buffalo, I love the way you play’. We texted a few times, and juts 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 that he’d give it to me and to have a relationship like that, that’s going to be huge. Not just myself, but any rookie that can develop a mentorship with a former quarterback, like a guy like Jim Kelly, is going to be huge for myself.

Q: At one point during practice he was kind of standing around the quarters and you made a throw and he said, ‘it kind of reminds me of the way I would’ve done it’. When you hear something like that, you’re smiling already, when you hear something like that, what does that mean to you?

A: It means that I’m doing the right things day one. Day one doesn’t mean anything, so I’ve got to go out there, I’ve got to consistently do it and just get the balls to my guys and let them make plays.

Q: Josh, how much will you be keeping tabs on your fellow draft class, the quarterbacks this year, whether it’s personal or professionally?

A: I mean, if we’re playing them that week. The thing is, I don’t really pay attention to the other quarterbacks, I’m paying attention to the defense. I want everybody to succeed except when they’re playing the Buffalo Bills. I’m not up here to say that I want to make sure that everybody fails and I’m the only one to be successful in this class. Obviously, you want to be the most successful in this class to come out. Sam [Darnold] is one of my really good friends; I know he’s with the Jets now and we’re big rivals, but I wish all the success to him and everybody else in this draft class.

Q: You talked about your personality out there on the field. Will you adjust that at all when the veterans are here? Are you conscious of that or are you just going to be who you are?

A: I’m just going to be who I am. I think, maybe at first with the older guys, just seeing the sense of how they operate things because I sit with a bunch of rookies, so nobody really knows the ropes and the ins and outs of daily NFL life. I’m just trying to get here and learn from those guys. [I’m] still trying to learn where the locker room is and the weight room, so we’re on the right path, though.

Q: How old were you when you realized you had something special there, past your right shoulder, that you had a special arm? Were you real little?

A: I thought so, yeah.

Q: Was it baseball, football?

A: Baseball, I mean, all of it really. I did a lot of sports growing up. I think my senior year in high school is when I knew that I had the arm to go division one, especially, and from there it just kind of took off.

Q: These are only just a scattering of the receivers you’re going to work with hopefully as time goes on here. Just on a first day with this group, they’re rookies like you are and they don’t know just as you don’t. How did that all kind of come together in the time you were out there?

A: They did a really good job today. They were at the right depths most of the time. We’re here to get better, and everyday we’re going to get better. Tomorrow, you’re going to see crisper routes, you’re going to see guys at the right depth more often than not. I’m excited to see these guys progress and learn and transform into the receivers that they’re going to become. It’s fun to throw to these guys, because there are some quick dudes out there, [like] Robert Foster and Austin Proehl, Ray-Ray McCloud III. Obviously, those [last] two are two of our drafted guys. It’s just awesome, knowing that these are guys that, hopefully, I’ll be throwing to and start developing that relationship now.

Q: Was it jarring seeing Jim Kelly in that shape?

A: He’s doing well, he’s doing really well. I can’t say anything else, but he’s a special man. He’s been through a lot and to be in the spirits that he is and to come out here, like I said, and show support for the Buffalo Bills, that just shows to me how much, one, he means to Buffalo and, two, how much Buffalo means to him. It’s awesome.

Q: I’m sorry if it was asked, but he’s observing you, watching everything you’re doing. We’re you conscious, maybe after you came off the field [that] those Hall of Fame eyes were on you?

A: I honestly didn’t know [he was there]. I wasn’t looking on the sideline. After, somebody came up to me, Coach McDermott came up to me and said, ‘I’m going to introduce you to Jim Kelly’. So, [I] got a little nervous at that point [laughs]. Thank you, guys.

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