Inside The Bills

Kelly weighs in on Bills QB competition

Posted by Chris Brown on June 27, 2013 – 11:20 am

Bills head coach Doug Marrone has labeled the quarterback competition between Kevin Kolb and EJ Manuel a virtual dead heat going into training camp. Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly was asked to weigh in on the competition in his Thursday morning appearance on the NFL Network.

“Both are throwing the ball very, very well,” said Kelly, who attended a few of the spring practices. “I think Kevin Kolb might be a little bit ahead because of the mental approach. He’s been in the league for a number of years. EJ Manuel is a very smart, bright guy. He has the athletic ability that maybe Kolb might not have. I’d say the early pick would probably be Kevin Kolb at this time, but they picked EJ Manuel for a reason. That’s for the future. It’s good that we have two guys that can hopefully take over and lead this team back to the playoffs.”

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Jim Kelly taking “special medicine”

Posted by Chris Brown on June 27, 2013 – 10:36 am

Bills Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly appeared on NFL AM on NFL Network this morning and provided an update on his recent bout with cancer and his 26th annual football camp.

Kelly said he’s taking medication where his stitches are located from his June 7th surgery to remove half of his upper jaw that was stricken with cancer.

“The pain is still there,” said Kelly. “I’m taking special medicine for my upper jaw where all the stitches are still in and watching my diet and the things I’m eating and drinking.”

Kelly detailed how the antibiotics he was taking for what was initially presumed to be an infection did not work.

“I knew something was different with the pain I was having in my jaw,” said Kelly. “I went through six antibiotics before I knew I had cancer. But I’ve been very blessed. Now no cancer and have a CT scan every two months to check on it and pray that it doesn’t come back.”


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Diet restrictions leave Kelly lighter

Posted by Chris Brown on June 24, 2013 – 11:19 am

One of the minor benefits from Jim Kelly’s cancer surgery is a stringent list of restrictions with respect to diet. After announcing Monday that he was cancer free, Kelly explained that by having most of his teeth removed, the Hall of Fame quarterback’s diet has been severely limited. That’s led to a loss of weight, which Kelly was happy about knowing he had to drop some weight anyway.

“I’ve lost 14 pounds, which is good,” Kelly said. “I need to lose about 10 or 15 more. I cannot eat any solid foods like steaks or chicken or anything hard that I have to bite on because I did have most of my teeth removed in the front and in the back. So it’s
mostly soft foods. No nuts or anything hard that I have to chew on a lot. But it doesn’t bother me because I need to lose weight. I can think of other ways to lose that’s better than this, but I feel pretty good.”

Kelly called the soreness from surgery, which he’s still experiencing now as constant and worse than anything he endured as a football player or in his three most recent surgeries (back, neck, hernia). But he also understands it’s a part of the recovery process.

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Checkup schedule for Jim Kelly

Posted by Chris Brown on June 24, 2013 – 11:14 am

Part of the recovery process from cancer surgery are frequent follow-ups to make sure the cancer has not returned. Here’s how Kelly’s schedule will proceed from here, after announcing Monday he was cancer free following his June 7th surgery.

“I have to go back every two months and have a CAT scan done to make sure nothing comes back,” he said. “Right now I feel pretty good. It’s very sore, but that’s just part of it.”

Kelly will also have blood work done at those checkups as the monitoring process will be frequent by the oncologists.

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Kelly glad to avoid chemotherapy

Posted by Chris Brown on June 24, 2013 – 10:12 am

Bills Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly is one tough bird, but even he was hoping to avoid chemotherapy after being diagnosed with cancer in his jaw.

The 53-year old Kelly said he was hoping to avoid chemotherapy at the time he announced he had cancer back on June 3rd. So to find out last week that he’d be able to do so was big for him.

“Big time relief. Trust me, prayers definitely have a big part in it, not just from my family, but all across the country. I’ve received so many letters and emails from people that have had similar circumstances as I did and some of them were not very good and some of them were very good. You’re encouraged on one hand and discouraged on the other. To find out where they’ve been and the prognosis of where I’m going I’m very excited. I’m happy.”

Kelly announced Monday that he was cancer free following surgery as he opened his annual football camp at One Bills Drive. And that means he’ll be able to avoid chemotherapy, something he was hoping for all along.

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Jim Kelly is cancer free

Posted by Chris Brown on June 24, 2013 – 10:08 am

Good news as Jim Kelly kicked off his annual football camp at One Bills Drive. The Hall of Fame quarterback is cancer free following surgery June 7th to remove part of his jaw bone that contained the cancer.

“It’s a long process, but I found out great news on Wednesday,” Kelly said. “I don’t have to go through radiation treatment and chemo, which is a blessing. From what I’ve been told everything that they did in surgery that if I had to do radiation or chemo it would put me way back.”

With the doctors at ECMC getting all the cancer removed during surgery Kelly will not need to undergo any radiation treatment at this time. He’ll continue to get checkups periodically as a precaution.

Kelly announced that he had cancer back on June 3rd.

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Jim Kelly Camp scholarship winners

Posted by on June 20, 2013 – 4:08 pm


Congratulations to the following recipients of a Jim Kelly Camp scholarship.

Grayson Z. from Ontario, NY
Cody G. from Andover, NY
Drew L. from Rome, NY
Sam C. from Raleigh, NC
Brett P. from Falconer, NY
Alexander F. from Alden, NY
Nicholas K. from Alden, NY
Michael S. from East Aurora, NY
Austin L. from Buffalo, NY
Hunter D. from Cheektowaga, NY

The 26th annual camp is June 23rd through June 27th at Ralph Wilson Stadium.  Participants must be between the ages of 8 – 18.  This non-contact camp has staff of carefully-assembled instructors and current Bills players.

Limited spots are still available. For more information or to register your child, click here.

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Posted in Community, Inside the Bills, Off the Field

Jim Kelly resting comfortably post surgery

Posted by Chris Brown on June 7, 2013 – 12:20 pm

Good news out of ECMC today (Friday) as the hospital in a statement said Bills Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly had successful surgery and is resting comfortably.

Here’s the statement from ECMC, which also stated that they anticipate a “speedy recovery.” Certainly good news for the Hall of Famer.

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Polian’s outlook for 2013 Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on June 4, 2013 – 10:56 am

Bills former GM and current ESPN NFL analyst Bill Polian was asked for his outlook on the 2013 Bills lead by new head coach Doug Marrone. Here was his synopsis, which included a reference to top draft choice EJ Manuel.

“I’ve said numerous times before that Doug Marrone is a great coach. I think he proved that at Syracuse,” Polian said. “I know he’s got a plan for how to proceed. I know he’ll get the players attention and respect. I’m sure he’s got that already. He’s decisive, he’s tough, he’s hard-nosed. He knows how to play. He’s got a great track record not only in college football, but in the NFL. The truth is we both went to the same high school so I’m not neutral  when it comes to him. I’m proud of what he’s achieved.

“That is the first step in the right direction. They’ve got a coach who knows how to win and plans to win. The rest of it now is putting the pieces in place. They’ve got to get better play from the quarterback position. That’s no secret. Buddy (Nix) said that quite clearly. But in the young man that they have he’s got a world of talent, perhaps the most since they drafted Jim (Kelly). I don’t want for one minute to compare him to Jim, that’s not fair to him. The fact is that he’s got some growing to do and I think he’ll go through some growing pains so fans need to be patient with that. But I do think that the future is bright and some good pieces are in place.”

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Marrone comments on Kelly diagnosis

Posted by Chris Brown on June 3, 2013 – 4:57 pm

Bills head coach Doug Marrone did speak with Jim Kelly at his golf tournament gala Sunday night and was made aware of his condition. He commented on Kelly’s situation while making his first visit to the St. John Fisher campus in Pittsford in preparation for training camp.

“Cancer in whatever form it may be really affects all of us in some way,” said Marrone. “We can all reach out and we can all feel it. I saw Jim Sunday night and he was in good spirits and the people around him were very supportive. I think for myself and the organization obviously our prayers go out to Jim and his family and everyone who is touched by this disease.

“It’s tough. I just went through it, my wife and family with someone, a young girl. To hear it happen to Jim, it just makes you think and makes you realize. You just do the best you can with your prayers and wish his family the best and for a speedy recovery.”

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Kelly discussing cancer fundraising

Posted by Chris Brown on June 3, 2013 – 4:48 pm

It’s only been a couple of weeks that Jim Kelly and his family has known definitively that he has cancer, but in making his diagnosis public Monday, Kelly is already considering a fundraising effort to fight the disease.

Already a champion for a countless number of children’s causes including his own Hunter’s Hope Foundation named after his late son, Kelly sounds prepared to explore organizing fundraising efforts for cancer awareness, prevention and most importantly a cure.

“We have done so many things to make a difference for so many people, whether it’s kids… I know I’ve already talked to (Bills VP of Communications) Scott (Berchtold) to see if we can set something up to help kids with cancer,” said Kelly. “I know with my son’s foundation I’ve got my hands full with what we’re doing there, but if what’s happened to me can help other kids down the road can bring more awareness to certain types of cancer then we’ll do that. Everybody understands that that’s something the whole country and around the world is trying to kick and that’s cancer.”

“I would say we’ll have maybe two benefits. One for the Kelly for Kids of Western New York and maybe have to come back twice a year, one for a golf tournament for the Cancer Society or whatever he chooses,” said Phil Hansen.

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Berman believes in Kelly’s toughness

Posted by Chris Brown on June 3, 2013 – 4:42 pm

Just about anyone that watched Jim Kelly play or knew him off the field was aware of his individual toughness. It’s that toughness that ESPN football anchor Chris Berman believes will carry him through his battle with cancer.

“Jim is one of the toughest hombres that we’ve ever met,” said Berman in attendance at Kelly’s annual golf tournament in Batavia. “Once again he’s being asked to be really tough. He’s got a lot of support from a lot of friends and people that love him. He called me last week and said he had some news and he shared it. So I felt kind of odd coming up to the golf tournament. I said I could just come up and spend some time with you. He said, ‘Are you kidding this is going to be the best golf tournament we’ve had.’ That’s Jim Kelly.”

Berman talked to Kelly about his upcoming surgery.

“I guess surgery is on Friday and he’s hopeful that they’ll get what they need to get,” said Berman. “And he’s got a whole community of Western New York and far beyond that will be not only rooting for him, but hugging him in the right way.”

Knowing that Kelly has had back surgery, double hernia surgery and neck surgery in the last three years and the Kelly family of course lost Hunter in 2005 to Krabbe leukodystrophy has Berman feeling that the Kelly family doesn’t deserve this too.

“The list is long of things and he and his family have had to face,” he said. “I don’t know that it’s very fair, but unfortunately life is not as we all know.”

In a way Berman thought it was positive that Kelly had his former teammates and friends with him at his annual golf tournament when he announced that he had cancer.

“I think he gave some thought a couple of weeks ago that maybe with everybody around it’ll be like a group… it’ll be like being in a huddle with his teammates,” said Berman. “With 300 people here and everybody else, I think he wants it out so there’s no question. He doesn’t want it out there for sympathy. He wants it out there for support. He wants it out there so that there’s… so that they’re only moving forward. There’s no speculation. Even he can use a helping hand and there are a lot of them today.”

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Jim Kelly’s form of cancer explained

Posted by Chris Brown on June 3, 2013 – 2:01 pm

For those fans wondering just what type of bone cancer Jim Kelly has been diagnosed with here is a helpful explanation.

Kelly’s cancer is a squamous cell cancer with metastatic disease to the jaw bone.

So essentially it is not a skin or bone cancer, but rather a metastatic form of cancer in his jaw. Here’s more on head and neck cancers.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Tasker’s suggestion for fans of Jim Kelly

Posted by Chris Brown on June 3, 2013 – 1:32 pm

Bills Wall of Famer Steve Tasker’s family is very close to that of Jim Kelly. So the former special teams ace knew about Kelly’s cancer diagnosis about a week and a half ago. Knowing how much Kelly is revered in Western New York he fully expects an outpouring of support for the Hall of Fame quarterback. Tasker also had a suggestion for what fans can do to support Kelly.

“If they can help one thing they can do is pray for him and realize that first and foremost it’s not just this iconic figure in Buffalo,” Tasker said. “He’s a friend and a guy we know and love. He’s part of our family and that’s how we should treat him – everybody, and I’m sure we will.”

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Jim Kelly’s thoughts on Bills QB situation

Posted by johnmurphyshow on March 14, 2013 – 6:14 pm

Sixteen years after Jim Kelly called it a career, he still follows the Buffalo Bills and their quest to replace him as a franchise quarterback.  And Kelly knows what he’d be looking for, if he was looking for the team’s next QB.

The Hall of Fame QB appeared on The John Murphy Show Wednesday night.  And Kelly said arm strength is near the top of his list of qualities the next Bills QB needs.

“You need a quarterback who can play in this weather, with a strong arm,” Kelly said.  “And yhou have to be able to think on your feet.  It doesn’t have to be a Colin Kaepernick.  It doesn’t have to be a guy that gives you rushing yards every week.  That would be nice, but those careers are usually short lived.  I’d like to have a quarterback who, when he drops back in the pocket,  his offensive linemen know exactly where he’s going to be and when he steps up, they know his depth.”

Kelly said he has not studied the draft eligible QBs available to the Bills this spring.  But he does not think any of the prospects merit the 8th overall pick the Bills have in the first round.

“I don’t think it will be eighth pick overall,” he said.  “Even though I have not studied all the quarterbacks out there, I don’t think there’s one worthy of the eighth overall pick.  We have so many other needs.    Right now, some of the quarterbacks they might like, I think they might be able to get early in the second or third rounds.”

The entire interview with Jim Kelly is available at

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Jim Kelly-why NFL scouts miss on QBs

Posted by johnmurphyshow on February 13, 2013 – 8:30 pm

The Buffalo Bills are in the market for a quarterback, that much is clear. And thirty years after the Bills hit on a franchise quarterback in the first round, that player has some thoughts on drafting QBs.

Hall of Famer Jim Kelly was a guest on The John Murphy Show Wednesday night, to promote the 15th Annual Hunter’s Day of Hope and Prayer for Children. The event is coming up this Saturday at the Bills Healthy Zone Fieldhouse.

But Kelly also talked about the inexact science of drafting quarterbacks. Host John Murphy asked Kelly why it is that NFL scouts sometimes miss on blue chip QB prospects in the draft.

“It’s a knack to go out there and see a guy—how he drops back, how he’s going to throw a 20-yard comeback. See what type of person he is,” Kelly said. “You’re going to miss on some, you can’t get every single draft pick to fit your system. That’s what you’ve got to look at—will this guy fit our system, the one we have in place right now.”

“If you’re picking a quarterback who’s coming from a system that’s nothing like the one you have, than maybe you’re going to miss the boat,” he continued. “You might say, ‘Can I change him,’ or, ‘Do I want to change him?’ That’s what you’re going to have to look at.”

Kelly said when the Bills drafted him in the right round in 1983, he was not a finished product, like many of the prospects in this year’s draft. And when he finally came to Buffalo in 1986, he still had some parts of his game that needed work.

“One of the things I continued to work on, was my foot speed,” Kelly said. “Not so much foot speed as running, but foot speed as far as quickness. Being able to know when I had to slide to the left, slide to the right, step up in the pocket. Those are some of the things I looked at. And for me, it was just to learn a new system. I was very blessed that I had pretty much the same offense throughout my career, with some minor changes. I was able to have the same system and grow under that.”

Kelly and his wife, Jill, will host the Hunter’s Day of Hope and Prayer for Children this Saturday, February 16th. The free event runs from 1pm-4pm at the Bills Healthy Zone Fieldhouse. The event includes games, entertainment, food and activities for families.

The entire interview with Jim Kelly is accessible at

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Jim Kelly’s thoughts on Bills QB needs

Posted by johnmurphyshow on February 13, 2013 – 7:45 pm

He was Buffalo’s first round draft pick 30-years ago. And on his way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Quarterback Jim Kelly has learned a thing or two about what type of quarterback can succeed in Buffalo.

Kelly appeared on The John Murphy Show Wednesday night, and talked about the characteristics the Bills scouts should be looking for, as they search for a quarterback in the draft.

“Number one, character. You have to have a guy with character,” Kelly told host John Murphy.

“Personally, I think you need a guy who’s a little feisty. You have to have somebody who’s got a strong arm, coming here to Buffalo. Thick skin—because if you don’t make it work you’re going to hear about it,” he said.

And when Kelly gave the question more thought–he came back to the character issue–and how a new quarterback might fit in to the type of offense the Bills want to run.

“Is he going to be able to run the style of offense we want here in Buffalo, New York?,” Kelly asked. “This is not Miami, this is not Tampa, this is not a dome team, we play upstate, so you have to have a strong arm.”

During the course of the radio interview, Kelly made it clear he’s already looked over the list of quarterbacks who might be available to the Bills in the first round of the draft.

“I don’t think there’s a quarterback in the draft right now, who is worthy of the eighth pick of the draft. But we need linebackers, we’d love to have another big time wide receivers, we need depth. Eighth pick, that’s pretty high.”

Kelly, who celebrates his birthday tomorrow, also took time to talk about the 15th Annual Hunter’s Day of Hope and Prayer for Children. He and his wife, Jill, are hosting the free event for families this Saturday, February 16th, from 1pm-4pm at the Bills Healthy Zone Fieldhouse. The public is invited.

The entire interview with Jim Kelly will be available at

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Arkansas QB likes Jim Kelly comparison

Posted by johnmurphyshow on January 21, 2013 – 2:54 pm

The time for hype is here, when it comes to the prospects in the 2013 NFL Draft. More than 100 draft eligible players have assembled here in Mobile, Alabama for the Senior Bowl.

And with the Buffalo Bills fans focused on the quarterback spot, one bit of hype hits home.

ESPN Draft Guru Mel Kiper made waves last week, when he compared Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson to Bills Hall of Famer Jim Kelly.

“We all remember Jim Kelly when he came out of Miami he was recruited as a linebacker at Penn State,” Kiper said. “(Wilson) is a guy with an NFL arm and tremendous toughness. Under the previous coaching staff and with the talent around him, remember they lost their top three receivers from the prior year you expected this year to be a tough go and then he had an injury early on.”

We had a chance to talk with Wilson today at the Senior Bowl, and asked him about Kiper’s comparison.

“I heard that in the past week,” Wilson said. “Obviously, those are pretty good words. I got to go out and prove it this week and have a good week. That’s exciting though.”

Wilson will appear on Monday’s podcast of The John Murphy Show from the Senior Bowl in Mobile. And the Razorback quarterback takes pride in his toughness, playing through multiple hits to the head during his senior season.

“The quarterback position is not something that at practice you’re able to go out and bang heads with guys,” he told host John Murphy. “So in the game, it’s an opportunity to show your toughness and your ability to compete and play the game. And with that, a number of your teammates will rally behind you and really respect you.”

Wilson earned high marks for assuming a leadership role with Arkansas in his senior season, after Head Coach Bobby Petrino was dismissed last April. The quarterback said he took it upon himself to fill the void when his team’s Head Coach was suddenly fired–he considered it his duty.

“I think so. Once you’re in that kind of role and that kind of responsibility, you take it by the horns and do the best you can with it,” Wilson said. “I felt like I came to work every single day with a lunch pail and did what I could.”

The John Murphy Show from the Senior Bowl will be availble via podcast later today on

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When Kelly felt like Hall of Famer

Posted by Chris Brown on August 4, 2012 – 9:11 am

Ten years ago this weekend Jim Kelly was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton. He shared with several of his behind the scenes memories from that weekend in 2002. Here’s one more.

I asked Kelly about the well wishes he got from fellow Hall of Famers that weekend. He said most were the typical congratulatory remarks, but there was one in particular that stuck with him.

“Most of them offered congratulations and welcomed me to their team,” he said. “I remember one Hall of Famer told me this is one team you can’t be cut from. You’ve earned the right to be here.” 

Unfortunately Jim couldn’t remember who exactly uttered those words to him. Knowing he was likely congratulated by hundreds of people that weekend you can understand why.

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Murph’s lineup tonight

Posted by Chris Brown on July 30, 2012 – 10:59 am

Here’s a rundown of the guests scheduled to appear on tonight’s edition of the John Murphy Show on WGR Sportsradio 550.

Bills Hall of Famer Jim Kelly– 7:00 PM

Bills DT Kyle Williams – 8:00 PM

Director of Hall of Fame Communication Joe Horrigan – 8:40 PM

Horrigan is expected to talk about the upcoming dedication of the Ralph Wilson Jr. Pro Football Research and Preservation Center this weekend. Remember if you’re outside the listening area, you can always listen online.

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Posted in Inside the Bills