#KellyTough: No. 12, Jim Kelly


“Fight the good fight of Faith . . . ” 1 Timothy 6:12

Jim Kelly and his fight to beat cancer is a powerfully potent, stimulatingly stirring story of health and hope. His strength and his stamina, his attitude and his fortitude, his will power and his staying power have carried him through the death of an infant son and now are carrying him through his battle with this dreaded disease.

Most, if not all great athletes are better people than they are competitors. Most great athletes are better at life than they are at sports. Most great athletes are bigger winners off the field than they are on. So, since Jim Kelly is a great athlete, it follows that he is a greater person. And his successes on the field are far outshined and overshadowed by his victory over this fearsome and formidable foe.

Jim Kelly, the Hall of Fame Buffalo Bills quarterback who lead his team to four consecutive Super Bowls, was once remembered as the quarterback “who couldn’t win the big game.” Now, we hope that he will be remembered as the quarterback who beat “The Big C.”

Cancer is an enemy that has claimed many lives and destroyed many more livelihoods. Cancer is an enemy. And it is an enemy that will be destroyed. But in order for it to be destroyed, if first must be beat, and in order for it to be beat, it must be fought. And Jim Kelly is a fighter, on the field and off, so he is more than fit for the fight.

Kelly will be an honorary captain when the Bills take on the Giants in the Hall of Fame Game, and NBC’s “Outside the Lines” aired a special on the former Bills quarterback leading up to the game. Kelly said he’s been trying to live his life as he normally would in recent months.

“I’m kind of beating this,” Kelly said. “That’s why I continue to do things I love and I enjoy.” Kelly goes on to say that “There is no way I’d be here without my faith; it’s been such a roller coaster (ride). So many things . . . the Super Bowl losses, the fabulous career, my son born sick, making the Hall of Fame, my son dying, two plates and 10 screws in my back after major surgery, one plate and six screws in my neck after another surgery, a double hernia, the cancer, surgery on my jaw, the cancer coming back, now what I’m facing. But …

He looked at (his daughter) Erin.

“When you’re going through pain, you’re what?” he said.

Not even a millisecond elapsed.

“Kelly tough,” said the eldest daughter of Jim Kelly.

So let’s pray and rejoice and pull for the great Jim Kelly. His grit and his guts, his moral fiber and his charismatic character are examples for us all. He’s a shining example of faith in action, of joy in the midst of sorrow, and of “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.”


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