Former Bill Joe Delamielleure Discusses the State of the NFL and More
Buffalo Bills legendary offensive guard Joe Delamielleure never played with Jim Kelly, as he retired a year before Jim Kelly entered the league. But he did take the credit for the Bills signing the future Hall of Famer.
“I retired in 1985 and when I left, I told [Ralph] Wilson who owns the team, ‘You have a great team here. You have Bruce Smith, Darryl Talley’. Their whole offensive line was there. I said all you have to do is get the quarterback from Houston [of the USFL)]. [Jim Kelly] was already there, so they went there and signed him and the rest is history,” Delamielleure told Victor Green of Class Act Sports.
He was on hand to support Jim Kelly’s Foundation, which raises money and awareness about testing babies for diseases at birth. While no one in his family has been affected by it, Delamielleure understands how important Kelly’s initiative has been.
“I got six kids and nine grandchildren, and they are all healthy. I am one of ten and my wife is one of eight. We’ve never had a problem. When you hear about things and you can make a difference, you come out and you help. That is the bottom line,” he said.
Delamielleure played a physically demanding position, and it has taken it’s toll on him.
“Physically I’ve never had a surgery. But that doesn’t mean I am OK. I broke my thumb. I have arthritis from playing on lousy Astroturf. Plenty of concussions. I didn’t even know what that was. I don’t know the residual effects, but so far I am holding up,” he told Class Act Sports.
The 2003 Hall of Fame inductee also discussed the new state of the NFL, with regards to the safety and integrity of the game.
“I am all for having safety in the game. You don’t want to what’s happened with guys of our era. But you can’t change the rules in the middle of the game. No. 92 for Pittsburgh the great linebacker, I can’t remember his name, [James] Harrison, he makes a tackle, a great tackle and then all of a sudden he gets in trouble. He did exactly what he was taught his whole life, and then that week, it is wrong,” Delamielleure said.
He thought that a way to fix this would be to put players or former players on the committee.
“I think they have to get more players in the rule changes, guys who have actually played. Guys like yourself who have played, who was a safety and know how difficult it is to come up and hit somebody in the open field. There’s a lot of rule changes and it’s for the safety. That part is good, but I don’t like the way they are going about it,” he told Class Act Sports.