Van Pelt disappointed, but optimistic

For the second time in his career, Alex Van Pelt's reign as the Bills' starting quarterback was a short one.

After the 1997 season, Buffalo signed Doug Flutie and Rob Johnson, sending Van Pelt back to the bench after his first three NFL starts. He didn't start another game until after Johnson was injured last season. Van Pelt started the final eight games in 2001, then signed a five-year contract that would average a bit more than $1 million a year.

Now the Bills have traded for former Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe.

"I'm obviously disappointed I'm not going to be the guy here, for selfish reasons," Van Pelt said." But as a Bills fan, I'm excited about having him on the team. Any time you have somebody with his record and his character . . . he's been to the Super Bowl; he's been to the Pro Bowl. He's obviously bringing a lot to the team. I'm excited to have a chance to work with him."

Van Pelt has seen the multiple moves Bills president Tom Donahoe has made during the off-season in an attempt to improve the team.

"You've got to be excited to add what we've added with the core group we already had. It's exciting. But I'm not surprised at all. I'm familiar with Mr. Donahoe, and I know what he can do to build a team."

The once-again backup quarterback seemed optimistic that Bledsoe and the Bills could do well this season.

"You've got him behind this line we have now with our running game that came on strona last year and a vertical pass offense that Kevin Gilbride is bringing in. I mean, here's a guy who can throw the ball downfield and he can do it in the weather in Buffalo. I've seen a lot of quarterbacks who had trouble throwing it up here. The weather never bothered Drew."


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