For many current and former players, summer football camps are a marketing tool or a revenue stream.
For Bills Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, his has always meant something more, and now more than ever.
“This is what I look forward to every year, even last year when I wasn’t feeling good at all,” Kelly said, via Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News.
He wasn’t able to do as much during his battle with cancer last summer, but this week, he’s been out with the kids, throwing passes, teaching fundamentals, and enjoying being able to be out among Bills fans young and old.
“Some even have told me that their dad has broken out the VHS [tapes] and put them on,” Kelly said of his campers knowledge of his game. “I said, ‘You still have a VHS?’ But all these kids here were not here then. They weren’t even born yet.
“But we know about the Bills fans. The fathers are going to tell their kids about the days the Bills were going to the Super Bowl and how much fun it was. When they left on Sunday from here, they knew their Mondays were going to be sunny whether it was raining or snowing. They were going to be happy.”
That’s what the 55-year-old Kelly apparently was this week, as he worked with kids during his 28th annual camp.
“The bottom line is you don’t want to let the kids down,” Kelly said. “I was going to be here no matter what. I feel so much better. Last year, I was doing it because I wanted to do it, but really couldn’t do it. This year, I want to do it and I can do it.
“My arm is really sore today, but I feel good. I finally gained some weight, I’m feeling better, and thank the good Lord, I’m still here.”
And as his health improves, the hope is that he’s around for many more of these.