It's been more than 14 years since a hit by Jacksonville Jaguars safety Chris Hudson knocked Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly into retirement. In the time since, the Bills have tried the old, the new, the mobile and the immobile in attempt to fill that void left by their Hall of Fame passer.
They're still looking.
Maybe Trent Edwards, one of the 10 quarterbacks who has started a game since Kelly left, summed the situation up best.
"Trying to fill the shoes of Jim Kelly is difficult to do," Edwards said.
The Bills open training camp in two weeks and there is no definitive starter at quarterback. Instead, there's an open competition, according to first-year coach Chan Gailey.
Translation: They still don't have that guy.
Edwards is considered the favorite in the competition heading to camp. The others are Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brian Brohm, none of those names exactly the type to conjure images of Kelly running that old K-Gun offense.
That offense under Kelly helped the Bills go to four Super Bowls, losing all four. Since he retired, the Bills haven't won a playoff game and haven't been since 1999.
Last season, the Bills started Edwards, Fitzpatrick and Brohm, but all three struggled. It didn't help they played in a bad offensive system and the offensive line wasn't good -- and that's being nice.
Edwards opened the season as a starter, struggled early, and then was knocked out for a couple of games with a concussion. He lost his job to Fitzpatrick, and he finished with seven starts. Fitzpatrick had eight and Brohm had one.
It really didn't matter who played -- Buffalo finished 30th in the league in passing. They had just 31 pass plays of 20 yards or more, third lowest total in the league. For comparison sake, the New Orleans Saints won a Super Bowl with 58 passing plays of 20 or more yards.
In this era of the pass, you can't win without consistent quarterback play and big-chunk yards in the passing game.
"Not to use a cliché, but this is a quarterback-driven league," Edwards said.
"I have to look at it as an open competition, because that's what it is. I have to use it to make me better."
Gailey likes his quarterbacks mobile. Fitzpatrick and Edwards both can move, but Edwards has the better arm. That had led to the talk that he's the leader going to camp, even if Gailey won't say.
In terms of the 4for4 rankings, Edwards is the highest ranked Bills quarterback, but he's not worth drafting even if he wins the job. Buffalo's quarterback, whoever it is, just needs to do enough to help their running backs and Lee Evans post decent fantasy numbers.