Sports

Jim Kelly, Bills Legend And Hall Of Fame QB, Fighting ‘Aggressive’ Cancer

Jim Kelly (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

Jim Kelly (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly is expected to have surgery again following the recurrence of cancer that his wife described on her blog as “aggressive” and “starting to spread.”

Jill Kelly added on her Instagram page that surgery is “tentatively scheduled for Thursday.”

Doctors for the 54-year-old former Buffalo Bills star are leaning toward surgery Thursday or perhaps April 1 at a New York City hospital, brother Dan Kelly confirmed to The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Jim Kelly’s daughter, Erin, posted a photo on Saturday of the Bills legend in his hospital bed.

Kelly’s doctors in Buffalo said March 14 the cancer was found to have returned when Kelly had follow-up tests after surgery last June to remove cancerous cells from his upper jaw.

Since then, Jill Kelly has been providing updates on social media. In a March 21 blog post she described the hospital rooms “where we ‘huddle-up’ as a family to call the next play and plan the next move now that the cancer’s back, aggressive, and starting to spread.”

Two March 21 photos posted by Erin Kelly show former teammates Andre Reed, Bruce Smith and Thurman Thomas smiling with Kelly during a visit at his home.

News of Kelly’s cancer has brought an outpouring of well wishes from the community and beyond for the family, which has remained in Buffalo since Kelly’s retirement from football following the 1996 season.

Kelly spent 11 seasons with the Bills and was the face of Bills teams that made four consecutive Super Bowl appearances in the early 1990s, only to lose them all. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002.

Jim and Jill Kelly established the Hunter’s Hope Foundation here in 1997 after their son, Hunter, was born with Krabbe disease, an inherited degenerative disorder of the central and peripheral nervous systems. Given little more than three years to live, Hunter died at age 8 in 2005.

“So incredibly overwhelmed and thankful” for “the multitudes who are praying for Jim,” Jill Kelly wrote on Twitter on Sunday after the congregation at the Chapel at CrossPoint in the suburb of Getzville prayed for Kelly in a service streamed online.

“He’s strong,” Dan Kelly said. “Jim is humbled by all the prayers coming in.”

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