BUFFALO, N.Y. -- As if it weren't heavily implied already, former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly literally "passed the torch" to current quarterback Josh Allen this past weekend.
Allen and Bills defensive tackle Harrison Phillips spent a day with the Pro Football Hall of Famer and his wife, Jill, at an event at Hunter's Haven Lodge in support of Kelly's foundations -- Hunter's Hope and Kelly for Kids. The lodge in Ellicottville, New York, is named after the Kellys' late son, who died at age 8 in 2005 after battling Krabbe Leukodystrophy.
Jill documented the weekend event, which included skeet shooting and dinner, on social media with a photo of Kelly handing a football to Allen. Inscribed on the ball were the quarterback's signatures along with the words, "passing the torch." Kelly and Allen also signed a few footballs for future charity events.
Allen officially took the Bills' quarterback torch last year when he set single-season franchise records for completions (396), passing yards (4,544) and passing touchdowns (37), the latter of which belonged to Kelly.
Kelly, the Bills' leader in career passing yards and touchdowns, told Jill last season: Allen "is going to break every record I have."
No caption needed! @BuffaloBills @JoshAllenQB @JimKelly1212 🐐🐐 pic.twitter.com/k4LbH4n5Au— Jill Kelly (@jillmkelly12) June 6, 2021
The quarterbacks have been in constant contact since the Bills drafted Allen No. 7 overall in 2018, with Kelly publicly voicing support for Allen on several occasions.
"The constant thing he kept telling me was to take what the defense gives you, little tidbits here and there," Allen said last season. "But more so about embracing Buffalo and embracing the city here and this community -- the type of people and the food. It goes beyond football when we're talking, but he's been great with my development here. Not just as a player but as a person, as well. I couldn't have asked to be in a better situation."
Kelly made it a point in May 2018 to speak with Allen after his rookie minicamp, when Allen called him, "the greatest quarterback to play the game and obviously the greatest in Buffalo history."
There is no debating Kelly is the best QB in franchise history, but Allen hopes to at least be in the conversation by the time his career is finished.
"That's where I want to be. That's eventually [the goal of] my career, to be regarded in the city of Buffalo like a Jim Kelly," Allen said in 2018. "Every quarterback who plays here wants to be in the same sentence as him, just because of what he is and what he [means] to the city."
Allen is entering his fourth NFL season after leading the Bills last season to their first AFC East title since 1995 -- Kelly's penultimate season in the league.
Allen is also in line for a contract extension that could make him one of the highest paid players in league history. Bills general manager Brandon Beane said the deal could be done as early as this summer, or negotiations could extend into next year; either way, there is mutual interest on both sides to make Allen a Buffalo Bill for the remainder of his career.