Former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly has inspired thousands of people with his courageous battle against oral cancer. But earlier this month, it was Kelly’s turn to be inspired, this time by another quarterback.
At a ceremony in Scottsdale, Arizona, last week, Kelly received the the Legacy Recognition Award from the National Quarterback Club. Former Raiders quarterback Kenny Stabler, who died in 2015, was also honored.
During the awards ceremony, Kelly listened to a speech from former Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts, who won the College Quarterback of the Year Award along with his former Crimson Tide teammate, Tua Tagovailoa.
On Jan. 16, Hurts announced that he is transferring to Oklahoma, where he will compete for the starting quarterback job.
During Hurts’ acceptance speech, the young quarterback recited a Bible verse that inspired Kelly, who has battled three separate bouts of cancer over the years and won the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the 2018 ESPY Awards.
The line was from John 13:7, where Jesus speaks to his disciples about setting an example for others to follow.
“You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand,” Jesus says in verse 7.
Kelly was so inspired by that verse that he wrote it down.
“I said, ‘This is exactly what I’m looking for.’ I made sure that I put it down because it’s definitely me. One hundred percent me,” Kelly told The Buffalo News over the weekend in Orlando, where the Pro Bowl is set to be played Sunday. Kelly is an honorary captain on the AFC Pro Bowl team.
“It’s amazing, because there are times where I don’t understand. I don’t understand why I had to go through four Super Bowl losses. I didn’t understand why I had a son born on my birthday that winds up being diagnosed with a fatal genetic disease,” Kelly said.
“I don’t know why I’ve had to go through two plates, 10 screws in my back, plate and six screws in my neck. And just within a year after that having cancer not once, not twice, but three times,” he added.
“And now I have to go back for another back surgery. Sometimes I wonder, ‘Lord, what’s your plan?'”
Even through all those challenges, Kelly said he’s trusting God.
“But as I keep my faith, I can understand that he’s doing it for a reason and … that’s why my family has chosen to make sure it’s public because my wife said, ‘You need as many people praying for you as possible.’ I get it now,” he said.
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