Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly hosted his 31st annual youth football camp at the Buffalo Bills‘ New Era Field on Monday, three days after being released from the hospital following another oral surgery.
“This is my life,” Kelly told the Buffalo News. “This is why I do it. If you don’t love it doing it for 31 years, then something is wrong with you. My heart is in it.”
Last week, Mount Sinai West head and neck surgeon Mark Urken performed surgery to add tissue into the upper portion of Kelly’s mouth following a recurrence of his cancer.
Jim Kelly Football Camp is underway. #12 was having a blast with the kids! @WGRZ @JimKelly1212 @buffalobills pic.twitter.com/ELASfBMHJb
— Mike Luksch (@michaelluksch) June 25, 2018
“I knew I’d be here, but I didn’t know how much I would participate,” he said. “The only part [that’s hard] for me to do a lot of is talking. My upper jaw is completely covered in stitches. But I’ve been hit after games and I was a lot sorer. It’s all good.”
Kelly had surgery back in March to remove the cancer and reconstruct his jaw. He has been unable to eat solid foods since then. He is scheduled to have permanent dentures inserted during a follow-up procedure in September.
The 58-year-old Kelly was initially diagnosed five years ago with oral cancer, and had been cancer free since September 2014.
Next month, the former Bills great will receive the Jimmy V Award — named for the former college basketball coach, Jim Valvano, who died of cancer in 1993. The award is given to a member of the sporting world who has “overcome great obstacles through perseverance and determination.”
Associated Press contributed to this report.
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