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With ties to Hall-of-Fame past, Bills rookie QB Manuel eager to open promising future

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    The Buffalo Bills No. 1 draft pick quarterback EJ Manuel, from Florida State, talks with former Bills quarterback Jim Kelly after an NFL football news conference at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., Friday, April 26, 2013. Manuel was selected 16th overall in the first round of the NFL draft on Thursday. (AP Photo/David Duprey)The Associated Press

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    The Buffalo Bills No. 1 draft pick quarterback EJ Manuel, from Florida State, walks off the field after posing for photos before an NFL football news conference at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., Friday, April 26, 2013. Manuel was selected 16th overall in the first round of the NFL draft on Thursday. (AP Photo/David Duprey)The Associated Press

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    The Buffalo Bills No. 1 draft pick quarterback EJ Manuel, from Florida State, talks to reporters as former Bills quarterback Jim Kelly, right, looks on during an NFL football news conference at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., Friday, April 26, 2013. Manuel was selected 16th overall in the first round of the NFL draft on Thursday. (AP Photo/David Duprey)The Associated Press

  • b4d5a9810418290e300f6a706700a356.jpg

    The Buffalo Bills No. 1 draft pick quarterback EJ Manuel, from Florida State, poses for a photo before an NFL football news conference at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., Friday, April 26, 2013. Manuel was selected 16th overall in the first round of the NFL draft on Thursday. (AP Photo/David Duprey)The Associated Press

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    E.J. Manuel, who was selected as the No. 1 draft pick for Buffalo Bills, is introduced to the media at the Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park on Friday, April 26, 2013. (AP Photo/The Buffalo News, James P. McCoy) TV OUT; MAGS OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT; BATAVIA DAILY NEWS OUT; DUNKIRK OBSERVER OUT; JAMESTOWN POST-JOURNAL OUT; LOCKPORT UNION-SUN JOURNAL OUT; NIAGARA GAZETTE OUT; OLEAN TIMES-HERALD OUT; SALAMANCA PRESS OUT; TONAWANDA NEWS OUT.The Associated Press

Buffalo Bills rookie quarterback EJ Manuel is already well-connected to the franchise's Hall-of-Fame past.

Bruce Smith, the NFL's career sack leader, is his godfather. Former star quarterback Jim Kelly is ready to take Manuel under his wing.

On Friday, Manuel began looking ahead to the future, a day after being the only quarterback selected in the first round of the NFL draft. The Florida State product accepted the challenge of helping usher in a new and improved future for a win-starved franchise.

Saying "I'm ready to go," Manuel is aware of the expectations that come with being drafted 16th overall.

He's the heir-apparent for a starting job that's been unsettled since Kelly retired in January 1997. Manuel also joins a team that's not made the playoffs in 13 seasons.