Jim Kelly wants everyone to come together.
On Monday, that meant patching up some differences he created.
Kelly has had enough of both the comments from President Trump and the player protests during the national anthem.
He supported Donald Trump during his presidential campaign, but said he wishes the president would worry about other problems instead of the NFL.
After the anthem in Orchard Park Sunday, Kelly shared a hug with Marcell Dareus. Kelly said he’s talked with Thurman Thomas. He thinks the players have made their point with the protest.
“I get it. I understand. You made your point. I agree, but now it’s time to not disrespect what our country stands for. I do believe we need to lock arms, stand and realize how blessed we are to be national football league players and to live in the United States of America,” Kelly said. “If you don’t think our country is good enough, then leave. Go somewhere else.”
Kelly was particularly upset about LeSean McCoy who, instead of standing or kneeling during the anthem, was doing stretches and pre-game calisthenics.
After the game, McCoy told reporters he was very bothered by Trump’s comments Friday night.
“As the president you’re supposed to bring us together. I can’t stand or support something when our leader of this country is acting like a jerk,” McCoy said.
Kelly addressed McCoy’s actions during an appearance on 97 Rock radio in Buffalo Monday morning.
“I like LeSean McCoy, I like him, but I totally disagree 100 percent with what he did,’ Kelly said. “You want to kneel — but when you go and do what he did yesterday, that bummed me out and I lost a lot of respect for him. You know what, I’m a Buffalo Bill from start to finish but when people start doing that, that’s where I draw the line,” Kelly said.
“You want to kneel, that’s your prerogative. You do it, I will never do it. I will always stand and thank the good Lord for what I’ve got. But when you disrespect it the way he did and then just go about his duty when the national anthem is being sung, I don’t go for that. I’m just so bummed out right now.
“When I left the stadium, there was a guy selling a LeSean McCoy jersey for $5 bucks and nobody was buying it. And I was like, come on Shady, that’s not right. You just don’t do that. That’s my personal opinion.”
According to the Associated Press, Kelly and McCoy have patched things up. Kelly’s publicist said they talked it out via text.
Sean McDermott did not answer questions about McCoy Monday but did say Kelly would still be welcome on the Bills sideline. McDermott has not talked with Kelly about his comments and does not plan to.
“He’s one of hallmarks of this organization and an alum of this organization and this football team,” McDermott said. “I don’t, at this point, see that changing.”
McDermott doesn’t know what protests may happen in the future. “I don’t have a crystal ball.”
The Bills head coach often referenced Sunday’s game in Atlanta, using the Bill Belichick strategy when answering questions about anthem protests.
He stands by the statement released by the team Saturday night and the progress gained from the team meeting that preceded the statement.
“Communication is important in terms of our family and our football team,” McDermott said. “That’s exactly what unfolded (Saturday night). We had a great meeting Saturday night with Terry and Kim. Great communication. Good first step.”
Marcell Dareus was one of those family members who took a knee Sunday. According to Kelly, it wasn’t expected.
“My father worked in the military, and I talked to Marcell in detail last night. He said he never thought he’d be getting on one knee during the national anthem. He had a lot of his relatives, family members who worked in the military. I don’t know Marcell’s background but he felt strongly that what the president did was very disrespectful, and I agree. But one thing we need to do is stand for our country – black and white,” Kelly said.
“There are so many people who put their lives on the line right now for what we have in the United States. Ok, Trump did his thing, we get it. But, now let’s all unite and come together as the NFL so we don’t have people walking out of stadiums.”
Quarterback Tyrod Taylor called Trump’s comments an attack on players but added players needed to remain proactive in an effort to work toward a solution.
McDermott acknowledged there are larger things in life than football, but says he has 13 games left and has to focus on that.
“We don’t spend much time looking at our rearview mirror,” McDermott said.
In the NFL, players often get pulled in different directions. The anthem protest is just the latest possible distraction.
“(The NFL) is a test, I believe. of how long a group of men and women and hang together and grow together,” McDermott said. “It’s important we handle things right way. Do the right thing. That’s why we’re having those conversations (Saturday night). It shows that it matters.”
“We have a pretty resilient group of guys. I’m extremely proud of the way they played (against the Broncos).”
Kelly hopes the Bills and all teams in the NFL do things a different way next weekend.
On his Instagram account, Kelly wrote, “I hope next week next week we can STAND, LOCK ARMS and become ONE FAMILY.”
He echoed similar sentiments on the radio.
“I sure hope when I turn the TV on next week, the people, the players that kneeled and sat during the national anthem will realize ‘OK, we made our point we totally disagree’ – and I’m with them – with what Donald Trump has done said at times. The thing is now we need to come together.”