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Jim Kelly active at his football camp despite follow-up surgery

Surgery wasn't enough to keep Jim Kelly away from his annual football camp.

The Hall of Fame quarterback was zooming around on a golf cart Monday at New Era Field, watching youth football players show off their skills only three days after being discharged from Mount Sinai West in New York City.

"This is my life," said Kelly, who spoke publicly for the first time since the procedure. "This is why I do it. If you don't love it doing it for 31 years, then something is wrong with you. My heart is in it."

Kelly wasn't entirely taken out of his usual active routine at the camp, which kicked off Sunday and runs until Thursday. He still was able to play flag football with the campers.

"I knew I'd be here, but I didn't know how much I would participate," Kelly said of the 31st annual camp. "The only part for me (that's hard) to do a lot of is talking. My upper jaw is completely covered in stitches. But I've been hit after games and I was a lot sorer. It's all good."

Five implants were inserted into the new bone in Kelly's upper jaw last week. It was a follow-up procedure after the initial 12-hour surgery to remove a cancer cell and reconstruct his upper jaw on March 28.

Kelly's speech is slightly slurred and the swelling hasn't entirely subsided in his jaw. He said he has gotten used to the soreness.

This was his second recurrence of cancer since 2013.

"It seems like every year I'm sore three or four times for a period of time," said Kelly, who is slated to receive the Jimmy V Award at the ESPYs on July 18 in Los Angeles. "It is what it is. I just keep fighting, and hopefully one day I'll be able to walk out of my front door and feel good.

"I've got a lot of things on my plate that I want to do and I can't do them when I'm in this state," Kelly said. "But I'm going to keep working. The Good Lord is the only one who knows what the outcome is going to be for what I'm about to do, for what I'm about to go through. I still have a few more surgeries to come, and I take it one day at a time."

Kelly said he's scheduled for additional surgeries in August and September. One includes having permanent dentures inserted.

"Hopefully I'll be able to smile at y'all guys and have teeth and I'll be able to talk where you can understand me," Kelly said. "Because I'll tell you what, it gets old."

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