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Jim Kelly on cancer diagnosis: “I know I’ll beat it”

Jim Kelly AP

Jim Kelly’s confidence was one of his trademarks as a player.

But he admitted Monday that it was shaken upon first hearing he was diagnosed with cancer in his jaw.

When you hear the word cancer, it scares the crap out of you,” Kelly said, via Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News. “It not only scared me, but it scared my family.

“But it’s just another river to cross, another stumbling block.”

Kelly said he’s having surgery Friday, and tried to compare the process to his playing days.

“I’ve been to the top many, many times, and I’ve been to the bottom,” Kelly said, “and it’s one of those rollercoaster rides I’ve been on throughout my life, and it’s just another challenge for me.

“I know I’ll beat it.”

In his statement this morning, Kelly expressed optimism that doctors had caught it in time. He echoed that during an appearance at his charity golf tournament.

“When I talked to the surgeon and when they went over the CT scan they knew I caught it early enough,” Kelly said. “But just like with anything you have to wait a number of months after the surgery to make sure nothing comes back.

“So I’m very confident. My faith is there, and that’s probably more than anything what’s kept me going.”

That will be even more important to him in the weeks and months of recovery to come.

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76 Responses to “Jim Kelly on cancer diagnosis: “I know I’ll beat it””
  1. braddavery says: Jun 3, 2013 11:53 AM

    Oh man. Good luck, Jimbo. You and your family are in our thoughts.

  2. mazblast says: Jun 3, 2013 11:54 AM

    When anyone gets on the Bills for those four consecutive Super Bowl defeats, I remind them that no team ever MADE IT to even three in a row before that team.

    I’m sure Kelly is facing this problem with the same dignity and grace he showed in those defeats. He’ll make it through this crisis, too.

  3. kingsforever says: Jun 3, 2013 11:57 AM

    Good luck kelly!

  4. heyguru1969 says: Jun 3, 2013 11:59 AM

    All the best Jim — your attitude is inspiring as always!

  5. mec693 says: Jun 3, 2013 11:59 AM

    God Bless, Jim!

  6. gallaghedj311 says: Jun 3, 2013 12:00 PM

    Love his confidence. Sounds like he’s got an incredible attitude and that’s a big plus. Thoughts and prayers Jim….

  7. rabidbillsfan says: Jun 3, 2013 12:01 PM

    Good luck Jim, I wish you the best.

  8. whatnojets says: Jun 3, 2013 12:02 PM

    Wishing you a speedy recovery and good luck!

  9. mec693 says: Jun 3, 2013 12:03 PM

    God Bless Jim!

  10. berniesmullet says: Jun 3, 2013 12:05 PM

    Go get em Jim

  11. joetoronto says: Jun 3, 2013 12:05 PM

    I’m really sorry to hear about this.

    All the best, Jim.

  12. phinfan says: Jun 3, 2013 12:06 PM

    Best of luck – NFL Fan Nation

  13. romoscollarbone says: Jun 3, 2013 12:06 PM

    Good Luck on your recovery.

  14. packerbackernj says: Jun 3, 2013 12:08 PM

    I remember as a youning making the common “boy i love losing superbowls = Bills” joke at jim kelly’s expense, but he was a heck of a player. Cancer sucks whether you’re a pro athlete or a dishwasher.

  15. rmal83 says: Jun 3, 2013 12:13 PM

    God Bless him! I hope he beats the cancer.

  16. sevenwords says: Jun 3, 2013 12:18 PM

    My favorite player of all time. Get well soon Jim!

  17. torontosbiggestturd says: Jun 3, 2013 12:21 PM

    Good luck to you, Jim

  18. ianijm says: Jun 3, 2013 12:21 PM

    Good luck and best wishes, Mr. Kelly. You always were and continue to be a class act. While I’m not a Bills fan, I really enjoyed watching you play during your career and hope for nothing but the best outcome for you and your family.

  19. milehigh53 says: Jun 3, 2013 12:22 PM

    Anyone knows if he dips tobacco? If he does, can’t really say it wasn’t coming. If he doesn’t, then it’s crazy how things happen. Either way, Godspeed Jim!

  20. jacunn2000 says: Jun 3, 2013 12:26 PM

    Fight, fight, and keep fighting Mr. Kelly. You can beat this thing. Good luck to you and your family.

  21. pmonte3122 says: Jun 3, 2013 12:27 PM

    Get well soon Jim, we’d love to see you stick around the organization as long as you can. I can tell you we love having you around.

  22. zo121179 says: Jun 3, 2013 12:28 PM

    Good luck Jim!

  23. bigwaveseeker says: Jun 3, 2013 12:30 PM

    Sending prayers your way Mr. Kelly. Hang in there and keep fighting the good fight.

  24. denverbronconj says: Jun 3, 2013 12:32 PM

    Question is, are you going to keep on smoking cigars?

  25. greencheeto says: Jun 3, 2013 12:32 PM

    Good luck Jim! Class guy.

  26. studio26seattle says: Jun 3, 2013 12:33 PM

    You will beat it Jim. No Huddle Offense that cancer. :)

  27. greglloydrules says: Jun 3, 2013 12:33 PM

    You go Jimbo, kick some cancer ass. By the way I loved you in Neccessary Roughness.

  28. dennisatunity says: Jun 3, 2013 12:34 PM

    Faith always knows more than doctors. Always. Blessings and prayers to you, Jim.

  29. davikes says: Jun 3, 2013 12:36 PM

    I really hope he beats it. Scary stuff.

  30. deadeye says: Jun 3, 2013 12:38 PM

    Jim Kelly, may your recovery be swift and complete!

  31. cuda1234 says: Jun 3, 2013 12:43 PM

    Did he get it the same way Michael Douglass did? And isn’t there anything we DON’T need to know?

  32. pooflingingmonkey says: Jun 3, 2013 12:46 PM

    Sad story. Kelly and his family have already been through enough. with his late Son Hunter. I hope he’s able to make a full recovery. Good luck, Jim.

  33. punkyqb says: Jun 3, 2013 12:47 PM

    Great Player. Good luck to him.

  34. trollaikman8 says: Jun 3, 2013 12:48 PM

    Anyone named Norwood on his medical treatment staff?

  35. kd75 says: Jun 3, 2013 12:51 PM

    Hey Jim, I hope you beat it. But something is gonna get you eventually.

    Death and taxes.

  36. mhs8031 says: Jun 3, 2013 12:52 PM

    Mr. Kelly,
    I have had 2 battles with 2 forms of lymphoma. While I wish you the best and hope your optimism is realized, I would like to correct you on your verbage.

    You don’t beat cancer. You survive it. And survival is not something you do– that credit goes to the research scientists and doctors. Alone, you will beat nothing. You are not the QB here. You are as helpless as a baby in mother’s arms.

    Good luck.

  37. sbmcintosh36 says: Jun 3, 2013 12:59 PM

    I was diagnosed with same and caught late was given 12 months to live, 3 years,10 surgeries l’ve got a jaw that’s made out if my leg and I’m here cancer free good luck and god bless my brother

  38. sikoix says: Jun 3, 2013 1:03 PM

    It’s hard to be a life long fan of the NFL over the age of 30 and not have tremendous respect for Jim Kelly. Wishing him and his family the best of luck as they get through this rough time.

  39. mrrmiyagi says: Jun 3, 2013 1:04 PM

    Jimbo you got this. I’m not remotely worried.

    Remember the time you caught me calling you a sissy at that restaurant after the game in Buffalo? Well you certainly convinced me that you’re anything but that. Now all you have to do is give cancer the same death stare and it’ll back the hell off!

    God Bless #12! GO BILLS!

  40. joetoronto says: Jun 3, 2013 1:04 PM

    Here’s an idea, how about PFT blocks the thumbs down for stories like this?

    SMH.

  41. dirtybirds24 says: Jun 3, 2013 1:05 PM

    Good luck Jim!

  42. bobhk says: Jun 3, 2013 1:06 PM

    What kind of idiots are hitting thumbs down on good luck messages! They should have their keyboards taken away.

  43. peester15 says: Jun 3, 2013 1:13 PM

    I’d love to beat the crap out of these punks hitting the thumbs down button. Even if you didn’t like Kelly as a player…I would never wish cancer on my worst enemy!!

  44. stigman2012 says: Jun 3, 2013 1:19 PM

    I echo the sentiment that on stories like this, or someone’s death, disable the thumbs down. Or have no comments period. Shame a bunch of anonymous morons make humanity look like crap.

    Anyway, best of luck Jim. My prayers are with you.

  45. u4iadman says: Jun 3, 2013 1:25 PM

    I met you at Toy Fair in NY over a decade ago (I was showing the very first Tony Hawk video game)….you were such a good sport. Wish you the best Jim.

  46. mrrmiyagi says: Jun 3, 2013 1:26 PM

    Yup. Typical Patriot fans.

  47. rabidbillsfan says: Jun 3, 2013 1:26 PM

    Rarely do, but I agree with Joetoronto on shutting off the “thumbs for stories like these. It simply shows that internet trolls are alive and well and that humanity is truely spiraling down the proverbial tubes. @mhs, while I don’t discount your battle with the disease, to simply say you survived it is an understatement. I’ve never experienced it myself, but 10 of my friends and family have. It takes determination and an undying will to overcome it, something the doctors and researchers can’t do. They don’t “make” you undergo surgeries and go through treatments that ravage your body. It is your choice, and you could quit at anytime and succumb to the sickness, but many chose to fight on, and endure the hardships to regain what many of us have without any battles, and that is their life. This just drives the point home of PFT banning the “thumbs” on stories like these, it would truely show a sense of class on your part. Anybody who bad mouths somebody with such a disease should be administered the same treatments even though they are surely in perfect health. It is a life or death struggle what men and women go through to BEAT cancer, poking fun at that makes you lower than the garbage I clean off my boots after a day at the dump. Again, good luck Jim, I’m sure we will be seeing you around for many years to come

  48. bspn2 says: Jun 3, 2013 1:32 PM

    Maybe the heartless idiots clicking the thumbs down button will get cancer someday, too?

  49. nytroutdog says: Jun 3, 2013 1:32 PM

    Best of luck, Jim!

    As for the folks asking why people hit thumbs down: it’s the anonymity if the Internet. It’s meaningless…just ignore them.

  50. hehateme2 says: Jun 3, 2013 1:39 PM

    mazblast says: Jun 3, 2013 11:54 AM

    When anyone gets on the Bills for those four consecutive Super Bowl defeats, I remind them that no team ever MADE IT to even three in a row before that team.?

    Um mazblast… the Dolphins went to 3 in a row and won two of them during the 70ies. So, there’s that…

  51. thisonesforpat says: Jun 3, 2013 1:40 PM

    God bless, Jim. Good luck.

    Did he ever chew spit tobacco?

  52. theinformerman says: Jun 3, 2013 1:41 PM

    mhs8031 says: Jun 3, 2013 12:52 PM

    Mr. Kelly,
    I have had 2 battles with 2 forms of lymphoma. While I wish you the best and hope your optimism is realized, I would like to correct you on your verbage.

    You don’t beat cancer. You survive it. And survival is not something you do– that credit goes to the research scientists and doctors. Alone, you will beat nothing. You are not the QB here. You are as helpless as a baby in mother’s arms.

    Good luck.
    _______________________________

    Let me correct you Mr. MHS because you are wrong. Survival and beating cancer is strongly related to the victims mental strength and will. You are never helpless in this life unless you choose to be. Save your God fearing BS for somewhere else. There are also countless proven stories of beating cancer strictly by holistic treatment.

    For someone who has beaten cancer twice, you should know better.

  53. floridaslonechargersfan says: Jun 3, 2013 1:46 PM

    Who are all the jacka$$e$ disliking the comments wishing this guy well in his battle against cancer?

  54. leatherface2012 says: Jun 3, 2013 1:47 PM

    what if it was from the same thing that michael douglas got his from?

  55. mungman69 says: Jun 3, 2013 1:56 PM

    Glad that he caught it early. That’s the key.

  56. torontosbiggestturd says: Jun 3, 2013 2:27 PM

    joetoronto says: Jun 3, 2013 1:04 PM

    Here’s an idea, how about PFT blocks the thumbs down for stories like this?

    SMH.

    —————————-

    Rarely do I cast a thumbs up in your direction, but you got one this time.

  57. latchbeam says: Jun 3, 2013 2:33 PM

    Good luck Jim, thoughts and prayers to you!!

  58. jerruhjones says: Jun 3, 2013 2:57 PM

    Who are the clowns giving a ‘thumbs down’ to someone fighting cancer?!?!? No excuse.

  59. whodatnhollywood says: Jun 3, 2013 3:19 PM

    According to your faith Jim, be it unto you: HEALED.

  60. kabasaman says: Jun 3, 2013 3:22 PM

    Jim, good luck. I am personally a two time cancer survivor, and a big strong athlete like yourself, you should be fine. God speed and keep the faith.

  61. swagger52 says: Jun 3, 2013 3:41 PM

    Best wishes and prayers from the land of the Ravens.
    I will explain to my kids praying for you how great of a QB you were in Buffalo. They don’t like the Patriots, so they may also pray for your return to the field as well.

  62. granadafan says: Jun 3, 2013 3:47 PM

    “dennisatunity says: Jun 3, 2013 12:34 PM
    Faith always knows more than doctors. Always. Blessings and prayers to you, Jim.
    ================================================

    Oh please. I hope one of your children NEVER has to suffer through a debilitating disease and has you as a parent who would rather pray than seek the help of a doctor. Sheesh, are we in 21st century America or in backwards thinking Afghanistan?

  63. EJ says: Jun 3, 2013 4:28 PM

    Kelly’s wife must be having a heart attack right now. She just lost her son to a terrible illness, now she has to relive the possibility of losing another loved one. It sometimes makes you wonder…
    If God does exist, why does he always hurt or take away the good people?

  64. SparkyGump says: Jun 3, 2013 4:32 PM

    Best wishes, Jim!

  65. lowleadman says: Jun 3, 2013 4:35 PM

    For everyone who left a thumbs down on the comments wishing Jim good luck, please see your therapist. Today.

  66. followme2boston says: Jun 3, 2013 4:51 PM

    “Fight on” sir Andrew said, “I am hurt but not yet slain, I’ll lie down and bleed awhile and rise and fight again.” –From the poem Marv Levy read to the team after the first Superbowl loss. God Bless, Jimbo.

  67. steelers24019 says: Jun 3, 2013 4:53 PM

    Good luck, Mr. Kelly!

  68. 315judman says: Jun 3, 2013 4:59 PM

    I saw Chris Spielman’s “A Football Life” the other day. The Bills and the fans will be with you all the way, just as they were for him and his wife.

  69. billsboy88 says: Jun 3, 2013 5:02 PM

    Jim, you are my earliest memory of football. Without you, I would have never been a fan of the game, much less the bills. Reading this news actually shook me today, I’ve never met you, but felt as though i got bad news about a close friend. Power through #12

  70. joemac1114 says: Jun 3, 2013 9:17 PM

    Good luck Jim, if anyone is tough enough to beat this it is you.

  71. jus1man says: Jun 3, 2013 9:37 PM

    Praying that Jim beats this thing.

  72. laserw says: Jun 3, 2013 10:24 PM

    Best wishes, Jim. You were always a class act. It’s a shame you would have to suffer through. I’ll keep you in my prayers.

    Redskins fan sharing the love for a former opponent.

  73. billsboy88 says: Jun 4, 2013 12:24 AM

    Wow, what the heck is wrong with the roughly 34 people who decided to thumbs down so many people wishing Jim luck in his recovery??

    What is wrong with you people?? Some things in life way bigger than football!

    If you simply don’t like sentiment, why did you even bother to read the comments section? You knew it would be full of condolences.

    That’s just messed up.

  74. rafterman11 says: Jun 4, 2013 11:05 AM

    Best quote I heard, in regards to Jim Kelly’s toughness: “Jim Kelly isn’t facing cancer. Cancer is facing Jim Kelly”.

  75. Deb says: Jun 4, 2013 11:30 AM

    Catching up on PFT news and shocked to see this headline. Kelly has always been a favorite in our family. He’s one tough guy, and we’ll be praying for his complete recovery. God bless, Jim!!!

  76. pabillsfan says: Jun 4, 2013 12:09 PM

    You’ll get through this. This world is not ready to lose you yet, you have your son to look over. You got this.

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