NFL great Kelly to be honored


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With his Super Bowl days behind him and his Hall of Fame bust already in Canton, it's difficult to find more ways Jim Kelly can be honored.

But his hometown might have found a good one.

For part of his recognition as a Hometown Hall of Famer by the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the former Buffalo Bills quarterback and Pennsylvania native said signs will be erected throughout East Brady -- where he went to high school -- and nearby Karns City, welcoming visitors to the "home of Jim Kelly."

Kelly will be formally recognized for the award, sponsored by Allstate, tonight at the Karns City High School football game, where he'll take part in the coin toss, present the school with a check and be honored with a large plaque that will remain in the school.

"This is new for me," Kelly said Thursday. "They've honored guys in the past, Eric Dickerson, Marshall Faulk. ... This year was my time and I'm just honored."

Kelly will be presented with the plaque -- which he said weighs 42 pounds, features his picture and lists his accomplishments -- by his high school football coach, Terry Henry, who coached five of the six Kelly brothers.

Oddly enough, the only times Kelly played at Karns City in his high school days were for the big rivalry games.

"The place where I'm getting recognized at used to be my rival," he said. "I'm going back to the school [which] I disliked and I'm being honored at it."

But the hatred isn't that serious anymore, because East Brady High School closed about 20 years ago. The towns are fewer than 10 miles apart, with Karns City in Butler County and East Brady in Clarion County.

Kelly, who was diagnosed with cancer in his upper jaw earlier this year, had surgery in June and said scans show he is now cancer-free. He had a prosthesis put in his jaw and gets a CT scan every two months to make sure the cancer isn't back.

Kelly spoke fine on Thursday but said when talking for extended periods of time, the prosthesis rubs parts of his mouth and causes pain.

"I'm just going through some things now, root canals, [the cancer and surgery] did some damage to some nerves and my teeth, and I'm just really trying to get healthy," Kelly said. "It's getting there, slowly but surely. I'm not a very patient person, so my patience runs out very quickly and I want this to be feeling good right away. There's still some pain there, but that's part of it."

Kelly lives near Buffalo but said he returns to his hometown three to four times a year. He also will make an appearance Saturday at the East Brady midget football game.

Steelers - sportsother

Nick Veronica: nveronica@post-gazette.com and Twitter @NickVeronica. First Published October 4, 2013 4:00 AM


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