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Dan Marino emotional when talking about the gravity of Jim Kelly's condition

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BATAVIA -- Dan Marino had a smile on his face. He was about to sign some autographs, see some old friends and play some golf.

Heck, he even was happy to talk to a reporter while signing.

So what was it like to visit Jim Kelly in the hospital Sunday?

Marino, bending over the first of many pictures, finished that signature and stood up. He snapped the cap back on the marker. He couldn't smile anymore.

"It's hard to even understand what he's going through," Marino said this morning at Terry Hills Golf Club before playing in the 28th annual Jim Kelly Celebrity Classic. "Jim is a dear friend. You just wish the best for him.

"He's a tough guy, you know? He's at a point in his life that -- he's won a lot of football games and whatever -- he's in the fight for his life. He'll win."

Marino spoke solemnly about his fellow Western Pennsylvania native, 1983 draft classmate, longtime AFC East rival and Pro Football Hall of Fame brother.

Jill Kelly posted a video Sunday afternoon of Marino greeting Kelly in the hospital. Marino walks through the doorway, not knowing what to expect, and then sees Kelly, gaunt and bald, lying in a hospital bed. The old friends hugged.

"You're so used to seeing Jim as a strong man," Marino said. "But he's going to get better. All we can do is pray for him and hope for the best."

Jim Kelly recently finished radiation and chemotherapy treatments for the cancerous tumors in his head. He was too weak to attend his event despite being only an hour away. His brother, Dan Kelly, took over as the emcee and had someone shave his head before everybody teed off.

Marino lamented Jim Kelly's absence from the annual party. Marino said he has missed only two of Kelly's golf tournaments and couldn't imagine how upset Kelly must've been to stay away.

"You know how Jim is," Marino said. "He wants to be here more than anything.

"It's a shame he can't be here, but he's got to take care of what he's got to take care of."

  • Guest

    Must be a really slow news day!!

    • Bongo

      what a weak troll you are...

    • Phantom17

      Here's your headline: Commenter lacks any humanity

    • Don

      Jerk off

    • Thomas Robinson

      Goofball.

    • Steve

      It's a Buffalo Bills blog. Jim Kelly is the greatest QB the Bills had..........

  • tangrine13

    What a sad situation!

  • Don

    Nice work, Marino, class act, thanks for coming to our town and hanging out with Jim.

  • david6380

    Hopefully someone tells Jim he could give Vin Diesel some competition for Fast and Furious 7 with that shaved head!

  • BorisBulldog

    Makes sense Marino had a few good things to say about Kelly after he flipped the bird at the NFL on the same day with the concussion lawsuit.

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About the reporters

Vic Carucci returned to The Buffalo News as a Bills beat reporter in September. Carucci covered the Bills for 17 years before joining NFL.com as a columnist in 1999. Prior to rejoining The News, he spent three years as a senior editor for the Cleveland Browns.

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida.