INDIANAPOLIS —#KellyTough is much more than a mindset. It's a movement.
When Jim Kelly was diagnosed with oral cancer back in 2013, those across the world rallied for the Hall of Fame quarterback. About a year later, after a series of grueling treatments, Kelly was declared cancer-free.
On Thursday, however, Kelly announced some tough news.
"The oral cancer we hoped would be gone forever has returned," Kelly said in a statement released by the Buffalo Bills. "Although I was shocked and deeply saddened to receive this news, I know that God is with me."
Although it's a difficult development, those closest to Kelly are confident their friend has another courageous battle in him yet.
One of those close friends, Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich, said as much on Friday.
"Jim and his family are lifelong friends and we talk often. As a teammate, there was no one better," said Reich, who served as Kelly's backup quarterback with the Bills from 1986 to 1994. "As much as he has supported me throughout my playing and coaching career, I'll be right there supporting him as he faces this next challenge. Jim is a fighter and he has the entire NFL family in his corner."
Bill Polian, the architect of the great Bills teams of the late-1980s and early-1990s that appeared in four straight Super Bowls thanks in large part to Kelly's play and leadership, also has remained close with his former quarterback.
Now an NFL analyst at ESPN, the former Bills and Colts general manager shared this sentiment on Kelly's recent news from the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis:
"For me, it was like a punch in the gut to hear that from a guy that you have so much respect and friendship towards," Polian said. "But, he's #KellyTough for a reason, and he'll have a lot of prayers and good wishes from everyone in the Bills family. And we're still very close — this is a close group of guys who all were together in the late 80s and early 90s. And if anybody can beat it, it will be Jim Kelly. So he's in our prayers and thoughts, and let's hope God smiles on him."