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FANS ARE CHEERING FOR KELLY HARDER THAN EVER

It's pay-back time for all those people who ever enjoyed watching Jim Kelly play football for the Buffalo Bills.

For each time we watched a football arch through the air with uncanny accuracy propelled by the strong arm of Kelly, we should stop and say a prayer for his son, Hunter.

For each time we were thrilled by Kelly jumping off the turf and getting into the face of a defensive lineman who had the audacity to tackle him, we should pause and remember the pain that he and his wife, Jill, are going through and love our own children a little more.

For each time we watched Kelly lead a last-minute drive to the goal line -- like the one in Miami where he scored with no time on the clock -- we should dig into our pockets and send some cash to a children's charity in Hunter's name.

Never in my life has the persona of a sports figure been such a perfect match for the character of a city.

Troy Aikman is not Dallas, Dan Marino is not Miami, but Jim Kelly is Buffalo -- tough, determined, rough around the edges, loving, loyal and unfortunately kicked by fate.

Fans who watched him play the game for many years know that each time adversity presented itself, he never took the easy way out.

Kelly never looked for an excuse and he never backed down. When he ran onto the field, the fans truly believed he had a chance to beat the odds no matter what the score was. We all knew that he would play his heart out to the last second.

Now, in this time of extreme pain, I hope the Kellys know that we are all cheering just as hard for Hunter.

Bob McGowan Snyder

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