Destiny Knocking for Van Pelt

Jeffery LandersContributor ISeptember 5, 2009

9 Dec 2001:  Quarterback Alex Van Pelt #10 of the Buffalo Bills calls a play during the NFL game against the Carolina Panters at Ralph Wilson Statium in Orchard Park, New York.  The Bills defeated the Panthers 25-24.  Mandatory Credit: Rick Stewart/Getty Images

Could it be that time? Has fate finally rewarded Alex Van Pelt for his work behind the scenes and on the sidelines since he graduated from Pittsburgh with the school's all-time record for passing yards? 

The Bills promoted Van Pelt from quarterbacks coach to play-caller Friday after head coach Dick Jauron fired Offensive Coordinator Turk Schoenert.

The Steelers drafted Van Pelt in 1993, but he spent his entire career in Buffalo (1995-2003). He learned behind Jim Kelly, split time with Todd Collins, held a clipboard during the Flutie-Johnson debacle, and consistently supported whomever might be the starting quarterback that week.

After he retired earlier this decade, Van Pelt went overseas to help coach the Frankfurt Galaxy in 2005. Later that year he volunteered as the offensive quality control coach for the Bills. In 2006, he went cross-town to help out the University at Buffalo. For the past two years, Van Pelt has taught the quarterbacks that take the field on which he once played in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Is this what they call building from within? Has this been what Van Pelt has been working toward since 2005? Maybe.

The Bills haven't given him the title of Offensive Coordinator, and he only has 10 days to prepare for a Bill Belichick coached Patriots squad on the first Monday Night Football game of the season. Is it ideal? Nope. But he'll take it for what it's worth: a chance to call plays in the National Football League.

Van Pelt has been roaming the sidelines in Orchard Park, looking to make an impact on the field and inside the organization.  Now, this could be his chance. 

He's inherited an offense that looked anemic in the preseason. It's his job to turn it around. Can he do it?  Some Bills fans might not think so, but he's been dedicated to the city of Buffalo since the moment he signed with the Bills in 1995. 

It is the moment he's been working toward, and maybe, just maybe, fate put him in the right spot at the right time.