Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly will once again undergo treatment for oral cancer after recent testing showed that the cancer has returned.
“As our family has faced many trials and triumphs throughout the years, you have blessed us with your prayers. We are asking for those prayers once again,” Kelly said in a statement Thursday. “The oral cancer we hoped would be gone forever has returned. Although I was shocked and deeply saddened to receive this news, I know that God is with me.
“I continuously talk about the four F’s: Faith, Family, Friends and Fans. With all of you by my side, we will fight and win this battle together. Staying ‘Kelly Tough’ and trusting God, will carry us through this difficult time.”
Kelly first announced in June 2013 that he had squamous cell carcinoma of the upper jawbone. He had surgery to remove tumors but was found again to have cancer in March 2014.
The former Buffalo Bills quarterback underwent weeks of chemotherapy and radiation in 2014 before being declared cancer-free that September. He has been periodically screened for cancer in the years since.
Kelly’s daughter, Erin Kelly-Bean, and his wife, Jill, posted messages to Instagram on Thursday.
The cancer is back. We are shocked, heartbroken, sad, angry, confused, and just darn tired. Yet, despite how we feel, we KNOW that God is a promise maker and keeper. He is who He says He is! He can do what He says He can do! We don’t have to understand His ways to trust His heart. The battle is HIS. (Exodus 14:14) We need you… In addition to our faith, family, and friends…we really need you and your prayer warrior friends to pray. We’re all in this together. THANK YOU! The more life and heartbreak I experience, the more I realize that this is not the end of the story. Life is temporary. And short. But eternity…is FOREVER. Because we know that our eternity is secure in Christ, we can trust God with every breath upon this earth.
Kelly, 58, played for the Bills from 1986 through 1996 and appeared in four consecutive Super Bowls. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002.
“We are deeply saddened to hear the news about Jim Kelly and his impending battle with cancer,” the Bills said in a statement Thursday. “Jim is a tough and courageous man and we know he will fight this battle with strength and determination. The Buffalo Bills will support the Kelly family during this trying time and we ask our fans to pray for the family as Jim begins the treatment process and the road to recovery.”
Lions releasing running back Kerryon Johnson, per reports
Detroit drafted the former Auburn standout in the second round in 2018. Johnson became expendable after the team drafted D’Andre Swift No. 35 overall in 2020, signed free agent running back Jamaal Williams in March and drafted Oregon State’s Jermar Jefferson last week.
Johnson ran for 1,225 yards and eight touchdowns over three seasons. He also has 61 career receptions for 527 yards and three scores.
Last year, he had 181 yards rushing and two scores on 52 carries. and had 19 receptions for 187 yards receiving and a touchdown.
NFL Network first reported that Johnson would be waived.
The Lions also added a player in free agency, signing tight end Darren Fells on Wednesday. The move gives the team a veteran at the position it can put on the field with Pro Bowl tight end T.J. Hockenson.
The 35-year-old Fells has 123 career catches with 1,483 yards receiving and 21 touchdowns. The previous two years in Houston, he had a combined 55 catches for 653 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Fells has started 76 games — including 13 with the Lions in 2017 — and played in 102 games with Arizona, Detroit, Cleveland and the Texans. He was a rebounding standout at UC Irvine and played basketball in Argentina, Mexico, Belgium, Finland and France before playing in the NFL.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
QB Blaine Gabbert re-signing with Tampa Bay Buccaneers on 1-year, $2.5 million deal, source says
TAMPA, Fla. — Once again, Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians has kept his word.
Days after saying the Bucs would work to re-sign Tom Brady’s top backup, quarterback Blaine Gabbert, the team is indeed re-signing Gabbert to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
Gabbert, who has played in 60 career games with 48 starts, previously earned $1.187 million in 2020 and $1.6 million in 2019.
Last season, Gabbert, 31, completed 9 of 16 passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions, with all but one of those pass attempts coming in the second half against the Detroit Lions in Week 16, when Arians opted to rest Brady.
The Bucs selected quarterback Kyle Trask in the second round of the NFL draft last week, but Arians said that would not preclude them from re-signing Gabbert. The team also re-signed Ryan Griffin, who was last year’s third-string backup, earlier this offseason.
Gabbert enters his third season with the Bucs, after spending 2018 with the Tennessee Titans, 2017 with Arians and the Arizona Cardinals, 2014-16 with the San Francisco 49ers and 2011-13 with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Gabbert has had an eventful offseason. In addition to attending the Kentucky Derby with Brady and Griffin on Saturday, he married longtime sweetheart Bekah Mills in Paradise Valley, Arizona, in March.
NFL sends memo reminding clubs the league will not pay players who suffer injuries away from facilities
The NFL reminded teams Wednesday that they are not obligated to pay players who suffer an injury away from the team facility, an issue that moved this week to the center of an ongoing dispute between the NFL and NFL Players Association over in-person participation in offseason workouts.
The memo, obtained by ESPN, was prompted by several prominent players who were surprised by media reports about Denver Broncos offensive lineman Ja’Wuan James, who tore an Achilles tendon this week while working out on his own and could miss the 2021 season. NFL contracts have long classified such injuries as “non-football,” because they happen away from the team environment, and they are not covered by typical injury guarantees. As a result, the Broncos could withhold James’ salary for as long as he is sidelined. More than $10 million would have been guaranteed if the injury had occurred at the Broncos’ facility.
The NFL has noted this contractual leverage multiple times during negotiations with the NFLPA, which has advised players to skip the voluntary portion of in-person offseason training unless they stand to lose workout bonuses.
“According to the media coverage,” the NFL wrote in its memo, “several players have expressed surprise that Mr. James’ injury was not covered by his Injury Guarantee, although this point has been made frequently in our discussions with the NFLPA about the offseason program. Clubs are encouraged to remind players of the significant injury-related protection provided if they choose to work out at the club facility and the risks they undertake in choosing to train in non-NFL locations.”
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