"It doesn't hurt me to be starting new like this," Flutie insists. "Jim treats me good. There's no problem. I think we'll coexist."
A few days later Flutie looks a little less sanguine. That morning an article has come out in the New York Daily News with the headline KELLY WARNS FLUTIE. In it Kelly states that Flutie will have to scramble just to beat out Dillon as a backup, that Flutie "can win Heismans and everything and still wind up third string."
"Did you see that?" asks Flutie, shocked. "If you say something in the press, you better back it up. Especially in New York. Jim's new here."
So what did Flutie really think of Kelly last year, when the two quarterbacks were on different teams, opponents trying to beat one another?
"The truth? I thought he was a cocky s.o.b. Our guys hit him some late shots out-of-bounds and he just got right back up, talking——."
"I'm not sure he knows what his words are going to look like in black and white," says Paul Needell, the Daily News football writer who interviewed Kelly for the story.
In the Generals' locker room Kelly shakes his head. "Hey, I didn't know it would be like that," he says of the newspaper story. "He just asked me if I thought Doug could be third string and I said, 'Sure.' "
Later, thinking about Kelly, Flutie smiles. "He's happy, having a good time. We're all just kids. In this game you have to make a mature decision every now and then, but not that often."
Is Jim Kelly the best quarterback in pro ball? He's the best the USFL has produced, but what does that mean?
"I think that if I were starting a team right now and just picking sides with no league or offense or coach or anything, I'd have to choose Jim first," says Bennett. "If nothing else, you're going to excite all the people."