Hall of Fame QB Kelly says tests show return of oral cancer
Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly has once again been diagnosed with oral cancer.
Kelly released a statement Thursday through his publicist saying he is “shocked and deeply saddened” by the news, and vows to once again fight to overcome the disease. He did not go into specifics on the diagnoses except to say the cancer was discovered following a test.
“As our family has faced many trials and triumphs throughout the years, you have blessed us with your prayers. We are asking for those prayers once again,” Kelly said. “With all of you by my side, we will fight and win this battle together.”
Kelly then closed his statement by saying: “Staying ‘Kelly Tough’ and trusting God will carry us through this difficult time.”
The diagnosis comes a few weeks after Kelly celebrated his 58th birthday.
Kelly had been cancer-free since September 2014 , but had been required to undergo routine follow-up testing.
He was first diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, which led to him having surgery to have a portion of his upper jaw removed in June 2013.
Follow-up tests nine months later showed the cancer spread to his sinus, which led to radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Kelly lost 70 pounds while being treated.
The effects of the cancer and treatments led to Kelly having trouble speaking. He could also no longer produce saliva and had lost the sense of taste.
Kelly’s wife, Jill, posted a note on her Instagram account accompanied with a picture of her with her arm around her husband.
“We are shocked, heartbroken, sad, angry, confused and just darn tired,” Jill Kelly wrote. “Yet despite how we feel, we KNOW that God is a promise maker and keeper. ... The more life and heartbreak I experience, the more I realize that this is not the end of the story.”
Several Bills players and NFL teams, including Buffalo, posted notes of encouragement on Twitter.
“Jim is a tough and courageous man, and we know he will fight this battle with strength and determination,” the Bills said in a statement released by the team. “The Buffalo Bills will support the Kelly family during this trying time, and we ask our fans to pray for the family, as Jim beings the treatment process and the road to recovery.”
Kelly spent 11 seasons with the Bills before retiring following the 1996 season and has since made Buffalo his home.
He is the Bills most accomplished quarterback and part of a team that reached four consecutive Super Bowl appearances — all losses — in the early 1990s. Kelly remains very active in the community particularly through his Kelly for Kids charitable foundation.
In January 2017, Kelly teamed with several cancer organizations and pharmaceutical giant Merck to produce a promotional campaign titled “Your Cancer Game Plan “ to assist and advise people diagnosed with cancer. The campaign emphasized nutrition, education, communication with caregivers and maintaining a positive attitude.
Kelly told The Associated Press that staying upbeat helped him cope in beating cancer. He also refused to feel sorry for himself, which reinforced his desire to share his experiences with others.
“I have no room to complain,” Kelly said. “If tomorrow the good Lord decides that’s my last day, then I’m not going to go down with a frown. I’m going down with a smile on my face, knowing that I’ve gotten everything out of life.”
Browns GM Dorsey willing to take calls about No. 1 pick
John Dorsey might make a deal for the top pick in this year’s NFL draft — if the price is the right.
At the league’s scouting combine on Thursday, the Cleveland Browns general manager took his sales pitch public.
“There are a lot of things we can do at No. 1 and not just get a quarterback,” Dorsey said. “If someone wants to come up and make a trade, I’d make a trade, too. Just give me a call and see what’s up.”
Cleveland’s constant quest to find the right quarterback has become perhaps the most-watched show in the league.
They’ve used 28 different starters since 1999, and it’s unclear if they’ll cast aside yet another youngster, DeShone Kizer, after he led the league in interceptions and went 0-15 as the starter.
Dorsey has the advantage of having watched Kizer perform in the final four games of 2017.
“What I really liked was how much he improved from week to week,” Dorsey said. “I think I’ve told you that a young quarterback usually makes exponential growth from Year 1 to Year 2.”
Back home, anxious fans are still clamoring to find that elusive franchise quarterback.
They’re frustrated after watching Cleveland whiff on Johnny Manziel in 2015, trade the No. 2 pick to Philadelphia in 2016 that allowed the Eagles to choose Carson Wentz and pass last year on Deshaun Watson. Instead, they took Kizer in the second round.
And with a deep quarterback class and two of the top four picks in April, some think this could finally be the time. Dorsey might not see it the same way.
After acknowledging the Browns interviewed an unnamed quarterback on Wednesday night and intend to meet all of the big names before the bulk of the combine work wraps up Sunday, he dropped no hints about what the Browns might do with either pick.
Instead, he’s looking for long-term solutions.
Coach Hue Jackson, who is 1-31 over the last two seasons, certainly isn’t advocating for more change.
“I would hope not,” Jackson said when asked Wednesday if he intends to start a rookie QB. “There’s going to be other opportunities as we all know. We’ve just got to see how it all fits as we move forward.”
Finding a veteran quarterback in free agency, such as AJ McCarron, remains a possibility, too.
But if a quarterback-needy team is willing to make a quality offer, Dorsey could spend all of those precious picks on putting a better supporting cast around Kizer.
Dorsey also didn’t provide an update on the status of longtime left tackle Joe Thomas. After playing more than 10,000 consecutive snaps, Thomas ended the season on injured reserve with a torn left triceps and has been pondering retirement.
“I have greatly admired Joe from his time at Wisconsin through his time with the Browns,” Dorsey said. “I think he deserves a little respect and when it comes time to make the proper decision, I’m sure he’ll make it.”
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