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Jim Kelly's teammates react to news of his cancer diagnosis

By Mark Gaughan

BATAVIA -- Former teammates and friends of Buffalo Bills great Jim Kelly reacted to this morning's revelation Kelly will undergo surgery Friday for cancer in his jaw:

From special teams great Steve Tasker:

"He cuts a wide swath through life. He never forgets anybody. He's truly gifted in that respect. He's got friends that he's had for decades. ... And he doesn't forget people, and for that people love him. That's why Buffalo loves him. That's why I love him. That's why he's been my friend for 25 years.

"He's a teammate in life, not just on the football field. He's a leader in life as well. People want to join him. So now it's time for us to help him any way we can, be his teammate, which is what I think all the guys are trying to do."

From former Bills general manager Bill Polian:

"The first thought is to say a prayer that everything works out OK. Secondly, he didn't get a reputation as the toughest guy ever to play quarterback for no reason at all. So if anybody can overcome this, Jim can.

"Our thoughts and prayers are for Jill and the girls and for a successful resolution. This is a very difficult time for the Kelly family. And it's doubly difficult for him to have to deal with this as publicly as he's going to have to do today, but that's typical of him. He takes challenges head on. All you can do for any person in this situation is say a lot of prayers and wish them the best."

Bills all-time great receiver Andre Reed:

"Jim's a fighter, so I think he'll be OK. We're all in his corner. He's just a tough dude. ... He's such a resilient guy, and that's been our motto forever in what we did. His family has always been 100 percent behind him. The Kelly family, they're my favorite people. We're like a family to them, too. I think he's got support, and Jim will be OK."

Bills Wall-of-Famer Phil Hansen:

"He will fight through it. That's the only way he knows to go. In football terms he'll be the guy at the bottom of the pile. So that's the way he is, and that's why he's been so successful in everything he does."


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 |