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Caulton Tudor

Finally, there's good news for a good guy

Posted August 21, 2014

— My vote for best sports story of the week is Jim Kelly’s apparent recovery from a potentially deadly cancer.

The former Buffalo Bills quarterback has battled sinus cancer for more than a year, and although there were some signs of improvement along the way, the best news didn’t come until late Wednesday when his doctor in New York City said treatments have been successful.

"The treatments so far have completely eliminated Mr. Kelly's pain, and his level of function has essentially returned to normal," Dr. Peter Costantino of Lenox Hill Hospital said in a news statement.

Although I have interviewed Kelly, now 54, a couple of times over the years for stories about his former teammate and one-time NC State All-American center Jim Ritcher, I hardly know Kelly well. He was a standout at Miami, but long before the school joined the ACC. I never got to see Kelly play in person.

But I did follow his pro career, which actually started in the United States Football League with the Houston Gamblers for two years prior to his11 years with the Bills.

The thing that struck me first about Kelly when news surfaced regarding the serious nature his illness, was that he might die as the most underappreciated quarterback in NFL history.

That still may happen, but hopefully Kelly will be around long enough for enough fans outside “small-market” and occasionally snow-locked Buffalo to more value exactly what he and those tormented Bills teams of the late '80s and '90s did.

Of course, the thing everyone remembers most is that Kelly and those teams went 0-4 in Super Bowls, losing 20-19 to the New York Giants (1990), 37-24 to Washington (1991), and finally 52-17 and 30-13 to Dallas after the ’92 and ’93 seasons.

It had to be one of the most bittersweet runs in football history.

“It was so frustrating, so heartbreaking really, that it was even hard for the guys in the locker room to really appreciate the fact that we got to four straight Super Bowls,” Kelly said shortly after his final season. “And as disappointing as it was for the players, we knew it was worse on our fans. It was agonizing for everyone.”

Kelly threw seven interceptions in those four games -- another stat that minimizes what he accomplished overall as a career quarterback.

When Kelly was inducted into the Pro Hall of Fame in 2002, there was much national surprise over the staggering extent of his resume -- 237 touchdown passes, a career completion percentage of 60.1 and more than 35,000 yards. If you add in the two USFL seasons, he had 320 touchdown passes.

Not once in those 11 seasons in Buffalo did Kelly fail to play in fewer than 12 regular-season games. In six of those seasons, he played in either 15 or 16 regular-season games.

Marv Levy, the Bills coach during those years, often referred to Kelly as a quarterback “with the determination of a linebacker.”

To a large degree, Kelly and Levy probably will always be joined at the hip on the undervalued market.

But just for the heck of it, I did some research upon hearing that Kelly could be soon be back to sound health. Here’s my list of the 10 all-time most undervalued NFL quarterbacks.

1.Jim Kelly (Buffalo, 1986-96)
2.Fran Tarkenton, Minnesota, NY Giants, 1961-78)
3.Ken Stabler (Oakland, Houston Oilers, New Orleans, 1970-84)
4.Sonny Jurgensen (Philadelphia, Washington, 1957-74)
5.Warren Moon (Houston Oilers, Minnesota, Seattle, Kansas City, 1984-2000)
6.Ken Anderson (Cincinnati, 1971-86)
7.Jim Everett (LA Rams, New Orleans, San Diego, 1986-97)
8.Donvan McNabb (Philadelphia, Washington, Minnesota, 1999-2011)
9.Archie Manning (New Orleans, Houston. Oilers, Minnesota, 1971-84)
10.Dan Fouts (San Diego, 1973-87)

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  • Doc Holliday Aug 22, 2014

    View quoted thread



    +1.....remember Jim Kelly being the ultimate competitor. Wish he had won him a SB...he deserved one for sure.

  • Jeanne Gunn Aug 22, 2014

    Kelly's good report is the best news in sports I've seen in a long time. So happy for him and his family! His prognosis was so bleak when his cancer returned, I was afraid there wasn't anything the doctors could do. I hope he lives a long and healthy life.

  • Rerun Aug 21, 2014

    Glad to hear Kelly is doing better.

  • Doc Holliday Aug 21, 2014

    Nice list but Archie? 35-101 as a starter. What value? Granted, he played with NO for the better part of his career but he never had a winning season.

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
ROC 8
DUR 2
 
2:30pm Friday
STONYBROOK
NCSTATE
 
7:05pm Friday
SYR
DUR
 
6:35pm Saturday
SYR
DUR
 
5:05pm Sunday
SYR
DUR
 
Final
TEX 3
CLE 12
Final
COL 6
CIN 4
Final
MIA 2
PIT 5
Final
CWS 5
TOR 3
Final
KAN 2
NYY 4
Final
BOS 4
MIN 6
Final
PHI 0
NYM 7
Final
SEA 3
TAM 0
Final
SFG 3
MIL 1
Final
DET 3
OAK 2
Final
HOU 4
BAL 5
Final
WAS 3
CHC 0
Final
ARI 3
STL 4
 
7th
SDP 3
ANA 3
 
7th
ATL 1
LOS 1
 
1:05pm Thursday
CWS
BAL
 
4:35pm Thursday
CWS
BAL
 
8:05pm Thursday
BOS
TEX
 
10:05pm Thursday
DET
ANA
 
10:05pm Thursday
NYY
OAK
 
10:10pm Thursday
CLE
SEA
 
10:10pm Thursday
PIT
SDP
 
10:15pm Thursday
ATL
SFG
 
4:05pm Friday
KAN
CHC
 
7:05pm Friday
COL
PHI
 
7:05pm Friday
TAM
BAL
 
7:10pm Friday
MIA
NYM
 
7:10pm Friday
WAS
CIN
 
8:05pm Friday
BOS
TEX
 
8:10pm Friday
ARI
MIL
 
8:10pm Friday
CWS
HOU
 
8:10pm Friday
TOR
MIN
 
8:15pm Friday
LOS
STL
 
10:05pm Friday
DET
ANA
 
10:05pm Friday
NYY
OAK
 
10:10pm Friday
CLE
SEA
 
10:10pm Friday
PIT
SDP
 
10:15pm Friday
ATL
SFG
 
2:10pm Saturday
TOR
MIN
 
3:05pm Saturday
COL
PHI
 
4:05pm Saturday
TAM
BAL
 
4:10pm Saturday
ARI
MIL
 
4:10pm Saturday
CWS
HOU
 
4:10pm Saturday
MIA
NYM
 
4:10pm Saturday
WAS
CIN
 
7:15pm Saturday
BOS
TEX
 
7:15pm Saturday
KAN
CHC
 
7:15pm Saturday
LOS
STL
 
10:05pm Saturday
ATL
SFG
 
10:05pm Saturday
DET
ANA
 
10:05pm Saturday
NYY
OAK
 
10:10pm Saturday
CLE
SEA
 
10:10pm Saturday
PIT
SDP
 
1:10pm Sunday
MIA
NYM
 
1:10pm Sunday
WAS
CIN
 
1:35pm Sunday
COL
PHI
 
1:35pm Sunday
TAM
BAL
 
2:10pm Sunday
ARI
MIL
 
2:10pm Sunday
CWS
HOU
 
2:10pm Sunday
TOR
MIN
 
2:15pm Sunday
LOS
STL
 
2:20pm Sunday
KAN
CHC
 
3:05pm Sunday
BOS
TEX
 
4:05pm Sunday
ATL
SFG
 
4:05pm Sunday
NYY
OAK
 
4:10pm Sunday
CLE
SEA
 
8:05pm Sunday
DET
ANA
 
9:10pm Sunday
PIT
SDP
 
4th
HOU 90
GSW 103
 
9:00pm Friday
GSW
HOU
 
9:00pm Sunday
HOU
GSW
 
Final
ANA 2
CHI 5
8:00pm Friday
TAM
NYR
 
8:00pm Saturday
CHI
ANA
 
12:00pm Friday
AUBURN
CHARLESTON
 
1:00pm Friday
CALIFORNIA
CCAROLINA
 
1:00pm Friday
COLUMBIA
ECAROLINA
 
1:00pm Friday
ORALROBRTS
ARKANSAS
 
1:00pm Friday
OREGON
IOWA
 
1:00pm Friday
SFLORIDA
FAU
 
1:00pm Friday
WRIGHTST
NOTREDAME
 
2:00pm Friday
MICHIGAN
BRADLEY
 
2:30pm Friday
STONYBROOK
NCSTATE
 
2:30pm Friday
TEXAS
OREGONST
 
3:00pm Friday
INDIANA
RADFORD
 
3:30pm Friday
ULLAFAYETE
RICE
 
4:00pm Friday
LEHIGH
LSU
 
6:00pm Friday
CANISIUS
SWMISSOURI
 
6:00pm Friday
CLEMSON
ARIZONAST
 
6:00pm Friday
MERCER
FLORIDAST
 
6:00pm Friday
MOREHEADST
LOUISVILLE
 
6:00pm Friday
VIRGINIA
USC
 
7:00pm Friday
FIU
MIAFLA
 
7:00pm Friday
FLAAM
FLORIDA
 
7:00pm Friday
MARYLAND
MISS
 
7:00pm Friday
SACREDHART
TCU
 
7:00pm Friday
STJOHNS
OKLAHOMAST
 
7:00pm Friday
TSOUTHERN
TEXASAM
 
7:00pm Friday
VCU
DALLASBAPT
 
8:00pm Friday
HSTNBAPT
HOUSTON
 
8:00pm Friday
LIPSCOMB
VANDERBILT
 
8:00pm Friday
OHIO
ILLINOIS
 
8:00pm Friday
TULANE
NWILMINGTN
 
10:00pm Friday
PEPPERDINE
FULLERTON
 
10:00pm Friday
SANDIEGOST
CSANTABAR
 
11:00pm Friday
CSBAKER
UCLA
 
Final
ROC 8
DUR 2
 
7:05pm Friday
SYR
DUR
 
6:35pm Saturday
SYR
DUR
 
5:05pm Sunday
SYR
DUR