Longtime NFL scout Jesse Kay, whose career spanned nearly 30 years, died at the age of 79 Saturday at a healthcare facility in Green Bay.
He worked as a scout for the Green Bay Packers and New York Jets.
Kaye is perhaps best known for trying to convince the Jets to recruit Tom Brady prior to the 2000 NFL Draft, as 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 on and tried to get the Jets’ brain trust, which included then-director of football operations Bill Parcells, to the second quarterback draft. After already beating Chad Pennington in the first round for 18th overall.
“(Kay) loved Brady and there was nothing on the surface that would make you think ‘Brady would show up like he did,’” then Jets manager Dick Haley told Packers.com’s Cliff Christel in a 2002 interview.
“First of all, he (Brady) was in his 190s and he was like 6-4. “So he was really skinny,” Haley added. “He didn’t run fast at all. Henson was considered a great player. I watched a game early on and Brady didn’t play at all. But it was a matter of (Kai) going in and looking for the man and finding him.”
Three years ago, ESPN’s Rich Cimini added that former Jets CEO Mike Tannenbaum — who held various positions in the organization from 1997-2012, including general manager and senior vice president of football operations from 2006 until the end of his career — said Kaye He loved Brady and viewed 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 professional scout on players, according to the Packers website.
He eventually became the Packers’ director of scouting in January 1992 and was later named a collegiate scout for the Jets in August 1994.
Kai, who also scouted the Steelers and BLESTO in the 1980s, retired from the Jets organization in 2014.