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Jim Kelly on cancer diagnosis: 'It scares the crap out of you'

By Mark Gaughan

BATAVIA -- Legendary Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly met with reporters this morning to elaborate on this morning's announcement he has cancer in his upper jaw.

"When you hear the word cancer, it scares the crap out of you," Kelly said at Terry Hills Golf Course, where he's hosting his annual charity golf tournament. "It not only scared me, but it scared my family.

"But it's just another river to cross, another stumbling block."

Kelly said he and his family are approaching his diagnosis and Friday's surgery with the same mentality that garnered him the reputation for being among the toughest quarterbacks in NFL history.

"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."

Kelly's confidence is buoyed by the belief doctors found the cancer early enough. Kelly announced in a statement this morning his cancer has not spread.

"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."


Jim Kelly
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |