Jim Kelly gets special shout-out from President Trump - The Buffalo News
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Jim Kelly gets special shout-out from President Trump

President Trump on Saturday took time during his commencement address at Liberty University to welcome Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly.

"I want to recognize a friend who is here with us today, who can serve as an inspiration to us all," the president said. "Someone who doesn’t know the meaning of the word 'quit.' A real champion. A true champion. Both on the field, off the field, he’s a Hall of Fame quarterback for the Buffalo Bills. Really a good friend of mine, an amazing guy, Jim Kelly. ... What a great man. Jim Kelly. He was tough."

Kelly, who was at Liberty for his daughter Erin's graduation, is a longtime friend of the president. He explained why during an appearance on Fox Business' "Varney & Co." back in January.

"When I was going through my cancer fight ... he provided my family and friends with a place to stay, his apartments. He took care of my whole family," Kelly said of Trump. "Donald did that for my whole family. There were days when I would come to New York City. I'd give him a call, and I'd go up and we'd sit there and shoot the bull, have a little fun."

Kelly and Trump have known each other for more than 30 years, dating to when the quarterback played for the Houston Gamblers of the United States Football League. Trump owned the New Jersey Generals at the time, and purchased the Gamblers after the 1985 season. The league folded before Kelly would ever play for Trump.

"Jim, do you have any idea how much money you’d be making today?" the president said Saturday. "They’d hit Jim, it was like tackling a linebacker. They’d hit Jim, four guys, five guys that weighed 320, and they’d just keep going down the field. He was much more than a quarterback. He had tremendous heart, and he knew how to win.

"Jim is tough, and his toughest fight of all was that he beat cancer, not once but twice. I saw him and his incredible wife as they were at a very low moment. Jill, very, very low moment. And it was amazing the way they fought. It didn’t look good. I would have said, maybe it’s not going to happen, but there was always that hope, because of Jim and Jim’s heart. But I want to just say that it’s great to have you here today Jim and these people are big, big fans."

Trump became the first sitting president since George H.W. Bush to give Liberty's commencement address. The video of the portion of his speech in which the president talks about Kelly is below, via Fox News' Twitter account.

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