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