Longtime NFL scout Jesse Kaye, whose career spanned roughly 30 years, died at 79 years old on Saturday at a Green Bay health care facility.
He worked as a scout for the Green Bay Packers and New York Jets.
Kaye is perhaps best known for attempting to convince the Jets to draft Tom Brady prior to the 2000 NFL Draft, in which the then-Michigan quarterback was famously selected in the sixth round, 199th overall, by the New England Patriots.
He worked as a scout for the Green Bay Packers and Jets.
Kaye was promoted to director of college scouting after eight years with the Jets, which overlapped with the infamous 2000 draft, where he saw Brady’s potential early and attempted to get the Jets’ brain trust, which included then director of football operations Bill Parcells, to draft a second quarterback after already taking Chad Pennington in the first round at No. 18 overall.
“(Kaye) liked Brady and there wasn’t anything on the surface that would make you think (Brady would turn out like he did),” then Jets director of player personnel Dick Haley told Packers.com’s Cliff Christl in a 2002 interview.
“First of all, (Brady) was in the 190s and like 6-4. So he was very thin,” Haley added. “He didn’t run fast at all. And Henson was considered to be a big-time player. I saw a game early and Brady didn’t play at all. But it was a matter of (Kaye) going in and digging out and finding the guy.”
Three years ago, ESPN’s Rich Cimini added that former Jets executive Mike Tannenbaum — who held various roles in the organization from 1997-2012, including general manager and senior vice president of football operations from 2006 until the end of his run — said Kaye “loved” Brady and projected him as a “great player.”
Kaye was originally hired by the Packers in May 1989 to work as an administrative assistant to coach Lindy Infante and as a pro scout in player personnel, according to the Packers’ website.
He eventually became the Packers’ scouting director in January 1992 and was subsequently hired as a college scout for the Jets in August 1994.
Kaye, who also worked for the Steelers and BLESTO scouting in the 1980s, retired from the Jets organization in 2014.
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