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Bills legend Jim Kelly announces his cancer has returned

Jim Kelly during red carpet arrivals for the NFL Honors show at Cyrus Northrop Memorial Auditorium at the University of Minnesota. (Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)

Field Level Media

Pro Football Hall of Famer and legendary Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly announced Thursday in a statement released by the team that his oral cancer has returned.

Kelly, 58, was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in his upper jaw and had surgery to remove it in 2013. The cancer returned in 2014 and Kelly underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

"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. The oral cancer we hoped would be gone forever has returned," Kelly's statement read.

"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 played 11 seasons with Buffalo from 1986 to 1996, throwing for franchise records of 35,467 yards and 237 touchdowns and leading the Bills to four consecutive Super Bowl appearances in the early nineties (1990-93 regular seasons).

"We are deeply saddened to hear the news about Jim Kelly and his impending battle with cancer," the Bills said in a statement. "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."

Kelly's iconic No. 12 was retired by the team in 2001 and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002.