Marchibroda, Kelly to huddle Coach: Bills line culprit for QB's poor '96 finale

January 20, 1998|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

Ravens coach Ted Marchibroda said he plans to talk with former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly next week about the possibility of returning to the NFL in a Baltimore uniform.

Marchibroda, back in Baltimore after he and his staff coached the North squad in Saturday's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., has watched tape of Kelly during 1996, his final season with the Bills.

Kelly, who will turn 38 next month, retired after that season, the worst of his 11-year run in Buffalo. His passing rating (73.2) and touchdown passes (14) were career lows and he threw 19 interceptions. Kelly worked this season as a TV analyst.

Marchibroda worked with Kelly for five years (1987 to 1991), first as the Bills' quarterbacks coach, then as offensive coordinator. Kelly led the Bills to four straight Super Bowl appearances, beginning with the 1990 season.

"The talks with Jim will be preliminary. There is nothing definite," said Marchibroda, who added he liked what he saw of Kelly on tape. "What it showed me is that he can still throw. That was probably our main concern."

Kelly originally talked with Marchibroda about coming out of retirement when he was doing research for NBC before a Ravens game two months ago.

"Jim said he felt he could still play," Marchibroda said. "Part of his problem in that last year was the Bills' offensive line was not a pro-caliber line. He thought we had a good line here."

Marchibroda has said that Ravens quarterback Vinny Testaverde, who was benched for the final two games and is under contract through 2000, remains "part of the equation here."

Owner Art Modell denied the Ravens are about to sign Kelly. "We have no plans at this time to acquire Jim Kelly," Modell said. "There is no proposal on the table."

Kelly could not be reached yesterday.

Pub Date: 1/20/98

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