Hall of Famer Jim Kelly to have checkup after more cancer surgery

PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly will travel to New York City next month for an unexpected "checkup" after "something came up" in his recovery from March surgery that removed oral cancer and reconstructed his upper jaw.

Kelly, who will receive the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb at the 2018 ESPYS on Wednesday in Los Angeles, said the visit to New York City will take place the second week of August.

"Right now it's just a checkup," Kelly he said Tuesday at his football clinic for children at St. John Fisher College. "It will be a checkup, but how long will I be there [until I] check out? We'll see. I still have a mouth full of stitches. I'm sure they're going to pull all of those out.

"My doctors are in New York. I'm not there every day. So I want to sure that everything is going on is going on for the right reasons. Just like everybody, if you go through a broken leg or something, you got to have checkups. If there is a little pain here [where] you think there shouldn't be anything, you got to get it checked. Even though I'm blessed to have [the doctor] at [Erie County Medical Center] I go to in Buffalo look and make sure that things are going pretty good, it helps."

Kelly underwent planned follow-up surgery on his upper jaw last month in preparation for permanent dentures to be inserted in September.

"I'm not sure what's going on," Kelly said of what prompted his upcoming visit. "I have some things that I want to have looked at, and then we'll go from there. I don't know whether I'm going to be here for two days, four days or in and out. And then hopefully I pray when September has rolled around that I can finally bite into a piece of meat and not soup every day."

The former Buffalo Bills quarterback, who led his team to four consecutive Super Bowl appearances from 1990 through 1993, announced in March that scans showed evidence of cancer returning in his upper jaw. Kelly previously underwent surgery in 2013 to remove squamous cell carcinoma of the upper jawbone and underwent chemotherapy treatment in 2014 when cancer was found in his maxillary sinus. He was declared cancer free in September 2014.

The Jimmy V Award, named for former North Carolina State men's basketball coach Jim Valvano, has been given at the ESPYS since 2007. When battling cancer in 1993, Valvano gave an emotional acceptance speech for the Arthur Ashe Courage Award that included his now-iconic words, "Don't give up. Don't ever give up."

Kelly said he will discuss the "four F's" -- faith, family, friends and fans -- during his acceptance speech, and how "faith" has replaced "fun" in his life.

"I hope the words that I say come out right, that I'm able to inspire people never to give up," he said Tuesday.