Jim Kelly spent his entire career as the rival to the Miami Dolphins, but this weekend the quarterback fighting cancer put aside old rivalries for a visit from fellow signal caller Dan Marino.
Kelly was at Erie County Medical Center, where he received his last round of radiation treatment for a recurrence of jaw cancer, when he got a visit from his former rival. The moment was captured on video, showing a touching embrace between Jim Kelly and Dan Marino.
The Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins were bitter AFC East rivals in the late 1980s and early 1990s, though Kelly and the Bills always bested the Dolphins in the playoffs and prevented them from reaching the Super Bowl. After their playing careers ended, Kelly and Marino stayed in touch and have grown closer during Kelly’s bout with cancer.
The visit this weekend was actually the second for Marino, who also visited Kelly in April.
Jim Kelly has gotten plenty of support in his fight with cancer. This weekend he was also visited by Howard Schnellenberger, his coach at the University of Miami. Former Bills and Colts general manager Bill Polian also stopped by. Both men were in town for Kelly’s 28th annual celebrity golf tournament, which Kelly himself was unable to attend this year.
The tournament is expected to raise $250,000 for children in Western New York. Though Kelly missed the tournament for the first time ever, he was in the thoughts of the football greats in attendance.
“Everybody is here, not only to aid his charity endeavors, but to show their support for him and our affection for him,” Polian said.
Despite his illness, Jim Kelly insisted that the fundraiser go on.
“From day one when Jim was diagnosed, one of the first things he said was make sure we have the golf tournament, make sure we have the football camp, no matter what happens,” said Dan Kelly, Jim’s brother. “So, we’re committed to that for Jim and with Jim.”
Jim Kelly is now in an important phase of his cancer fight. The 54-year-old finished his current round of treatment and now must wait six to eight weeks before MRI tests can be conducted to determine if the treatments affected his cancer.