Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly Being Treated for Cancer Recurrence

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IMarch 14, 2014


Updates from Thursday, July 10

Syracuse.com Buffalo Bills beat writer Matthew Fairburn reports on the next step in Jim Kelly's recovery:

Updates from Monday, June 9

Mark Gaughan of The Buffalo News passed along the latest on Jim Kelly's recovery:

Buffalo Bills Hall-of-Famer Jim Kelly was released from Erie County Medical Center today and returned to his home.

The release comes 10 days after Kelly’s final radiation treatment in his battle against cancer. ...

... “He’s excited about getting home,” said Kelly’s brother, Dan. “We’re really excited for him and he’s glad to get going on the road to recovery.”

Updates from Sunday, June 1

Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino, a friend of Kelly's, came and visited him in the hospital, with the former Bills quarterback posting the visit on Instagram.

Kinda LOVED this visit! On the field warriors and off the field the best of friends. Amazing how a visit from this guy can lift Jim's spirits. Thank you Dan!@DanMarino Still all about squishing the fish though...#prayersforJK

Updates from Wednesday, May 28

Jim Kelly posted this photo to Instagram with the caption, "At 1pm today! Last Radiation. IT IS FINISHED! GLORY TO GOD!!!! DONE! THANK YOU FOR PRAYING! #prayersforJK #kellytough"

Kelly also posted this video to Vimeo:

Updates from Tuesday, May 20

The Buffalo Bills posted an update on Jim Kelly's treatment on the franchise's Twitter account:

Updates from Friday, May 2

Kelly's wife, Jill, posted an Instagram video from the Hall of Fame quarterback on Friday:

Updates from Sunday, April 20

Jim Kelly left New York for Buffalo, the Bills announced on Saturday:

Kelly later posted a video and statement on Instagram:

#12 has a quick HOMECOMING message for#BUFFALO and our amazing fans! WE ARE SO BLESSED by your love and we thank God for you! Keep praying! The battle isn't over! But we are confident in the ONE who leads the charge! And we celebrate Him!! #prayersforJK

Updates from Saturday, April 5

Mike Rodak of ESPN.com has the latest on Kelly: 

"My big battle is Monday when I go in to start my radiation and chemo," Kelly told MSG. "I hope when it's all over they get everything, but right now we're praying for a miracle."

Doctors will wait two to three months following Kelly's chemotherapy and radiation treatments to determine if he needs surgery.

"Kelly's condition remains very treatable and potentially curable," Dr. Peter Costantino, executive director of Lenox Hill's New York Head & Neck Institute, said in a statement Tuesday. "Even if chemotherapy and radiation are not successful in eradicating the cancer, his skull-base tumor remains operable."

Kelly, who was diagnosed with a recurrence of cancer in his maxillary sinus and adjacent tissues last month, was appreciative of the support he has received.

"It's a humbling experience and it makes you feel good when so many people are out there praying for you," Kelly told ESPNNewYork.com. "... Even people that were my enemies before from other teams have rallied to my support. It just makes you feel good deep down in your heart.

"Just keep praying for me. I am going to need them."

Updates from Friday, April 4

WKBW in Buffalo reports good news on Kelly:

Updates from Thursday, April 3

Jill Kelly revealed on her Instagram account that Dan Marino visited Jim Kelly in the hospital:

Updates from Tuesday, April 1

Mike Rodak of ESPN has the latest details on Kelly's treatment:

Updates from Monday, March 31

Tim Graham of The Buffalo News provides the latest update on Jim Kelly's health and why his treatment has been postponed:

Five days after Kelly learned surgery wasn't a current option to treat the cancer spreading inside his head, today's scheduled start for chemotherapy was postponed.

Doctors decided to push back Kelly's treatments because the legendary Buffalo Bills quarterback's temperature was up, and he needed an antibiotic.

"He's had a couple setbacks," his brother, Dan Kelly, told me tonight. "It's always this or that. We have to make sure Jim doesn't get sick leading into this."

Dan Kelly said Jim is now "locked and loaded" for treatments to begin next Monday at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. Dan Kelly added the accelerated regimen of intense radiation and chemotherapy will last seven weeks.

Updates from Thursday, March 27

Thurman Thomas' wife Patricia tweeted a picture of the former Bills running back visiting Kelly:

Updates from Wednesday, March 26

Jim Kelly's wife Jill posted an update on Jim's battle with cancer, stating he will elect to undergo chemotherapy and radiation, rather than have surgery at this time:

ESPN's Mike Rodak provides more information from the doctor who is treating Kelly:

Updates from Tuesday, March 25

George Richert of WIVB.com confirms Jim Kelly will undergo surgery on Thursday:

Jim Kelly and his family are in New York City as the Hall of Fame quarterback is preparing to undergo surgery for his cancer recurrence.

Kelly is said to be weak and “in bad shape.” He’s been in and out of hospitals for the past 10 days, but News 4 has learned that Kelly is scheduled to have surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan on Thursday because doctors wanted to see him immediately.

Richert continued with a statement from Kelly's close friend:

Dennis DiPaolo, co-owner of Ilio DiPaolo’s restaurant and a close friend of the Kelly family, said, “He is the specialist. I believe he’s like one of the top five in the world to perform the surgery. Needless to say, the community all says, ‘You know what, he’s the main guy, go to him.” So the whole Western New York community from Roswell Park, to ECMC, all the people say, “Jim, whatever you need, we’re here for you.” And needless to say, the rehab’s going to be very difficult.”

ESPN's Adam Schefter expressed his support for Kelly on Twitter:

Original Text

Hall of Fame quarterback and former Buffalo Bills star Jim Kelly is being treated for a cancer recurrence.

WGRZ-TV in Buffalo was the first to report that the 54-year-old would begin receiving treatment in New York City early next week:

The Bills released a statement on the team's website:

Jim Kelly came to ECMC this week for continued testing related to his oral surgery. Unfortunately, it has been determined that his cancer has returned. Our team of head and neck cancer specialists is determining a course of treatment that will allow Mr. Kelly to battle this cancer successfully. Mr. Kelly has asked that you to keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

In early June 2013, Kelly announced that he was battling cancer of the jaw and underwent surgery a few days later on June 7. At the time, Kelly thought that sharing his struggle was the best way to assist his fight, per The Associated Press (via USA Today):

"The past couple of weeks have been difficult for me," he said. "Because of the nature of social media, I thought it would be best to share with everyone what has been going on with my health."

When Kelly first announced his battle with cancer in June 2013, former Bills general manager and friend Bill Polian offered his thoughts on the situation, per the AP:

The first thought is you say a prayer that everything works out OK. Secondly, he didn't earn a reputation as the toughest guy ever to play quarterback for no reason at all. So if anybody can overcome this, Jim can. He takes challenges head on.

It remains to be seen for how long Kelly will have to undergo treatment and what his prognosis looks like moving forward, but regardless, the five-time Pro Bowler is unlikely to lose focus or faith anytime soon. 

Last summer, Kelly admitted that he was confident heading into the initial recovery process and backed up Polian's remarks by confirming his game plan of attacking the challenge "head on," per the AP:

"I am extremely confident in my road to recovery," he said. "I plan to tackle this challenge head on, as we Kellys always do, with toughness perseverance and faith."

Apr 26, 2013; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills first round draft pick quarterback E.J. Manuel and former Bills quarterback Jim Kelly at the press conference at Ralph Wilson Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Kelly, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 2002, led the Bills to the Super Bowl in four consecutive seasons from 1990 to 1993. Unfortunately, Buffalo came up short on each try.

A former first-round pick in the 1983 NFL draft, Kelly played 11 seasons in Buffalo following a brief stint in the United States Football League. Despite having no titles to show for his efforts, his impressive numbers and overall success in the Bills' no-huddle offense have earned him legend status in Buffalo. 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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