Vic Carucci: After 33 years, Jim Kelly’s love for annual football camp still burns strong

Campers learn how to throw the ball correctly from Jim Kelly while attending his 2021 Jim Kelly Football Camp and Clinic at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park on Wednesday.

James P. McCoy

Vic Carucci

Jim Kelly was in his element Wednesday.

No one seemed to be having a better time than Kelly as he walked around the field at Highmark Stadium, clapping his hands and shouting encouragement to a slew of youngsters going through drills.

Kelly was focused on each throw and catch, the teacher gauging the progress of his students on the third and final day of his annual football camp. When he threw some passes of his own, it was the campers who were focusing.

“I love being a quarterback,” Kelly would later tell reporters through a huge grin. “I’ve got a little bit left in my arm.”

These days, Kelly, 61, moves with a bit of a limp. Surgery to insert a titanium replacement in his right ankle, necessitated by two decades of football wear and tear, didn’t work out so well. The man who has faced multiple bouts with cancer, and the resulting surgeries, needs to go through the agonizing process of getting another new ankle.

But nothing was going to stop the Buffalo Bills’ Hall of Fame quarterback from the sheer joy he derives from having 250 boys – and a few girls – ages seven to 13, gather each summer to get some football coaching in…

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