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Posted: Monday, 03 June 2013 2:17PM

Former Bills QB Jim Kelly announces he has cancer

Batavia, NY (WGR 550)  -- The family of former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly have been through no shortage of hurdles, and with Monday's announcement a new obstacle has been laid in front of the Hall of Fame player. On the morning of the 27th annual Jim Kelly Golf Tournament, the quarterback made public that he has been diagnosed with cancer.

The affliction is termed as Squamous-cell carcinoma, which is cancer of the upper jaw bone. In the initial press release, Kelly revealed that the cancer is isolated to his upper jaw and has not spread to other parts of his body.

"It was pain, and the pain has been around for many months," Kelly told reporters at Terry Hills Golf Course in Batavia. "I went through a number of antibiotics at the beginning thinking it was just an infection. Then when I did go to the oral surgeon, they first found a big cyst. They cut that out, and then one thing led to another, and here I am. I never thought that I would be saying the word 'cancer,' that I would have it."

Kelly will waste little time before he goes through yet another surgical procedure. The operation which will remove some of his teeth and part of his upper jaw bone is scheduled to take place on Friday, June 7. Doctors explained to Kelly that the prognosis for recovery is very good.

Over the course of the past few years, Kelly has gone through back surgery, double hernia surgery, neck surgery and now to the upcoming procedure on his upper jaw.

"We caught it in time, which is good," Kelly said, referring to the timing of the events. "I'm starting to learn a lot too, because when you hear the word 'cancer,' it automatically scares the crap out of you. I know it not only scared me but it scared my family. But, like everything, it's just another river to cross and another stumbling block.

"I've been to the top many, many times, and I've been to the bottom and it's just one of those roller coaster rides I've been on throughout my life, and it's just another challenge for me. I know I'll beat it, and that's the bottom line."

The resiliency of the former quarterback is nothing new to his former teammates and General Manager in Buffalo.

"Jim's a fighter," wide receiver Andre Reed remarked. "He's just a tough dude."

"He will fight through it and that's the one way he knows to go," said Wall of Fame member Phil Hansen. "So he'll be… in football terms, he'll be the guy at the bottom of the pile. That's just the way he is, and that's why he's been so successful at everything he does, and that's why he'll be successful in competing against this as well."

"He didn't get a reputation as the toughest guy ever to play quarterback for no reason at all," former Bills GM Bill Polian opined. "So if anybody can overcome this, Jim can."

By way of the official press release distributed in the morning, Kelly kept along the same tone as his friends and former teammates.

"With the excellent medical care that I will be receiving and the loving care of my wife Jill and my daughters Erin and Camryn and the support of my entire family and friends, I am extremely confident in my road to recovery. I plan to tackle this challenge head on, as we Kelly's always do, with toughness, perseverance and faith."

Kelly will have his surgery at ECMC on Friday. After surgery, it will be determined if he has to undergo radiation or chemotherapy to treat his cancer.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

All photos courtesy of AP
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