Hall of Famer and former Bills QB Jim Kelly is cancer-free

Jim Kelly underwent surgery earlier this month. On Monday, he said he is cancer-free. (USATSI)
Doctors have pronounced Hall of Famer and former Bills quarterback Jim Kelly cancer-free, barely two weeks after Kelly underwent surgery to remove part of his jawbone that contained the cancer.

“I found out great news on Wednesday,” Kelly said Monday, via BuffaloBills.com. “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, if I had to do radiation or chemo, it would put me way back.”

Kelly had the left side of his jaw, along with the teeth on the left side of his mouth -- as well as a few front teeth -- removed during the surgery. According to the Bills' website, a skin graft was performed to replace what was removed. Tissue harvested from his left leg was to be used in his mouth.

“They had to remove most of my jaw on my left side," Kelly said. "It’s very, very sore, but it takes time. I know when you have knee surgery or shoulder surgery it’s sore for a small period of time, and rehab and everything is good and you just take your time. This is just constant pain for now, but it’s a small price to pay for where I’ll be later on down the road.”

While the latest development is great news, Kelly knows that the cancer could return -- which is why he's scheduled to meet with doctors every two months.

“Big-time relief,” Kelly said of avoiding chemotherapy. “Trust me, prayers definitely have a big part in it. 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. ...

"I want to thank personally everybody from [western New York],” Kelly continued. “This community has rallied around me when I played for the Bills, when my son, Hunter, was diagnosed and, of course, my latest setback with cancer.

“The community’s prayers -- there are not enough words to describe the feeling in my heart and my family’s heart how much it means to me to have people take the time to email me, write me hundreds and hundreds of letters. Those prayers have been answered because of the things that I don’t have to do now.”

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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