Summer 2024

Hall of Fame quarterback, Buffalo Bills legend Jim Kelly gets baptized

Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly has long lived a life devoted to Jesus and seeking to spread His light in a dark world. This summer, he made a bold proclamation of his faith by getting baptized.

Jim’s wife, Jill, posted a video and photos of her husband’s moment on Instagram on Wednesday. Wearing a red shirt that said, “God’s real,” Kelly was asked while in the pool if he loved Jesus. “Yes I do!” he responded emphatically.

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A post shared by Jill Kelly (@jillmkelly)

In the caption of her post, Jill wrote, “Jim’s t-shirt says, ‘God’s Real.’ He is! I have witnessed God at work in this man’s life for over 30 years…and I can tell you that God isn’t just REAL, He is faithful, trustworthy, kind, loving, compassionate, powerful, gracious, GOOD, merciful, forgiving…and so so much MORE. He is immeasurably MORE than we can imagine! He is EVERYTHING!”

Kelly is most well-known for quarterbacking the Buffalo Bills to four consecutive Super Bowls from 1990-1993, losing all four. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002.

But Kelly has also seen a share of hardships in his life. In 1997, a year after he retired from the NFL, his infant son, Hunter, was diagnosed with Krabbe disease, which led to his death in 2005. Kelly went on to launch the Hunter’s Hope Foundation, and dedicate his Hall of Fame speech to Hunter.

Then in 2013, Kelly announced he had been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma. He was subsequently in and out of hospitals for the next few years, then deemed cancer-free for three years. In March 2018, he announced the cancer had returned, but four months after surgery was declared cancer-free again.

In September 2021, Kelly joined Sports Spectrum’s “Weekly Slant” show to discuss his faith in Christ and how he seeks to live out that faith in his life every day.

“It didn’t take me very long to realize that God had a plan for me,” Kelly said, “and that was to be able to share what I’ve been through to others that may be looking to give up, to not persevere through the tough times.”

One of the ways he’s done that is by hosting a monthly men’s fellowship group at his house, where roughly 20 men gather together to share about the challenges and joys in life and to encourage one another. It’s an opportunity for Kelly, now 63, to share about the struggles in his life and how God has granted him the grace to persevere through it all with a smile on his face. Kelly’s positive outlook also comes from his regular quiet time in the morning, studying and learning God’s Word, and focusing on the good things in life.

“I’ve been tested over and over and over again, and I’m still being tested. But you just have to keep the faith. Keep that positive attitude,” Kelly said on the “Weekly Slant.”

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