In his first public appearance since his bout with cancer, Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly made an appearance at Buffalo Bills mandatory minicamp.
Head coach Doug Marrone brought Kelly into the huddle before practice began and said, "He supports us in what we're doing and what we're about to do and we support him, and he's going to say a couple words to us."
Kelly then addressed the team.
"I wasn’t expecting this, and sometimes it’s hard for me to talk but I want to first of all thank the guys who sent prayers when I was going through a tough time," he said. "One thing I noticed about Buffalo, New York is that everybody comes together. There’s always somebody to pull you together, whether it’s on the football field or after a tough year or whether it was when I was in the hospital."
Kelly then turned to fellow Hall-of-Famer Thurman Thomas who was looking on.
"Thurman Thomas, he’s one of my brothers now," he said. "He always has been, but he came out to the hospital when I was there every week."
"This is what you need to put your arms around – each other. Make this your team. Make it very special. Realize it, because when it’s all over, the things you have are your memories. The people that you built that relationship with – not just on the football field but away from the field."
Before finishing up his speech, Kelly made sure to show the team that just because he wasn't there in person, he was keeping a close eye on the team from afar.
"Last but not least, this is a very special team," he said. "For me personally, I look over and see EJ – and I thought I had great receivers, which I did in Andre Reed, Hall of Famer, James Lofton, Hall of Famer – but when I look at the offense with the running backs, receivers and offensive line … defense, you better get ready to get on the field quick because they’re going to score some points this year."
As Kelly wrapped up, he mentioned that he looks forward to seeing more Bills games in January. Then he led the team in breaking with "Playoffs on 3."
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