Jim Kelly has taken his share of nasty hits, but I doubt any blitzing linebacker ever nailed him this hard...
Jim Kelly, the Buffalo Bills' Hall-of-Fame quarterback, was released from New York's Mount Sinai Hospital on Friday after undergoing yet another round of reconstructive surgery. There's more surgery to come in September.
Kelly has been fighting oral cancer since 2013, and he has gone through a remarkable series of treatments and operations. The last big surgery was back in March; the operation took 12 hours to remove yet another occurrence of cancer and begin the complex reconstruction process.
While I have been following this depressing news for the past five years, I recently began taking an even greater interest in Jim Kelly's cancer fight. It turns out he and I have something in common:
He was diagnosed with squamous cell oral carcinoma in June of 2013.
I was diagnosed with squamous cell oral carcinoma in May of 2017.
I was lucky, by comparison. Mine was in my throat, was treated with radiation and chemotherapy and lots of rest, and -- for the moment -- I feel pretty good with no signs of recurrence.
Jim Kelly's cancer went to his jaw, and once these things dig into facial bones, it becomes a real challenge to eradicate the malignant cells and repair the damaged bone structure. You think this guy was pretty tough before? You have no idea.
He's 58 now, still here, still leading an active and engaged life. If there's anybody who can beat this monster, it's Jim Kelly.
Hang in there, Number 12...