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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – 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.