Buffalo Bills legendary quarterback Jim Kelly believes that he can overcome cancer in his upper jaw, describing it as just another river to cross and another stumbling block".
"I've been to the top many, many times, and I've been to the bottom and it's one of those rollercoaster rides I've been on throughout my life, and it's just another challenge for me," the 53-year-old Kelly said. "I know I'll beat it."
"When you hear the word cancer, it scares the crap out of you," Kelly said at Terry Hills Golf Course, where he's hosting his annual charity golf tournament. "It not only scared me, but it scared my family."
In an earlier statement, Kelly said the cancer - squamous-cell carcinoma - is isolated to his upper jaw and has not spread to other parts of his body.
The quarterback is scheduled to undergo surgery Friday. He said doctors have told him his prognosis for recovery is very good as they found the cancer early enough.
"When I talked to the surgeon and when they went over the CT scan, they knew I caught it early enough," Kelly said. "But just like with anything, you have to wait a number of months after the surgery to make sure nothing comes back.
"So I'm very confident. My faith is there, and that's probably more than anything what's kept me going," he added.
Former Bills general manager Bill Polian also believes that Kelly, known for his toughness while playing for Buffalo, can overcome the disease.
"The first thought is to say a prayer that everything works out OK. Secondly, he didn't get a reputation as the toughest guy ever to play quarterback for no reason at all. So if anybody can overcome this, Jim can," Polian said.
Kelly played for the Bills from 1986 through 1996, helping lead the team to an unprecedented four straight Super Bowls, all losses, in the early 1990s.
Known for his strong arm, Kelly threw for 35,467 yards and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001.
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