Jim Kelly diagnosed with upper jaw-bone cancer

Jim Kelly (posing with new Bills quarterback EJ Manuel) was diagnosed with upper jaw bone cancer but says his prognosis is good. (USATSI)
Jim Kelly (posing with new Bills quarterback EJ Manuel) was diagnosed with jaw-bone cancer but says his prognosis is good. (USATSI)

Former Buffalo Bills quarterback and Hall of Famer Jim Kelly has been diagnosed with cancer in his upper jaw bone stemming from squamous cell carcinoma.

The quarterback released a statement on Monday morning calling the last "couple of weeks" very "difficult" but also saying that "the prognosis for my recovery is very good."

“This past couple of weeks has been difficult for me and because of the nature of social media I thought it would be best to share with everyone what has been going on with my health," Kelly said in a statement. "I was recently diagnosed with squamous-cell carcinoma [cancer] of the upper jaw bone. I have undergone tests which have shown that the cancer is isolated to my upper jaw and has not spread to other parts of my body. Surgery is scheduled for June 7th, and doctors have told me that the prognosis for my recovery is very good."

Kelly spent 11 years playing for the Bills, and the team hasn't managed to find a franchise quarterback since his departure in 1996. Kelly took Buffalo to four consecutive Super Bowls in the early 1990s, though the Bills would never actually emerge victorious.

He was scheduled, per the Associated Press, to begin hosting a golf tournament on Monday morning as part of his Kelly for Kids charity work. And the former quarterback and his family remain "confident" that he will beat the disease.

"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," Kelly said in the statement. "I plan to tackle this challenge head on, as we Kellys always do, with toughness, perseverance and faith.

"I want to thank everyone who has offered their prayers and would appreciate any prayers said for me and my family moving forward. May God continue to bless you and our family."

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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