Jim Kelly loves the opportunity to still be a quarterback - even if it's just tossing the ball to kids at his annual football camp.
Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly hosted his Jim Kelly Football Camp this week at Highmark Stadium.
The camp started in 1988 and has been a pillar for youth football in Buffalo since its inception. Unfortunately, the camp was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Kelly was excited to be back throwing with the campers again after the year off.
"I'll tell you what, just to be out here with the kids, I love it, Kelly told the media. "I live for this every year. I love doing it."
The Jim Kelly Football Camp had 250 kids from ages 7-13 come and participate in the three-day camp with 250 more kids from ages 7-14 taking part in a one-day clinic on July 15 also at Highmark Stadium. Most of these kids at the camp are just learning the fundamentals of football. Kelly emphasized for the little kids it's more about making friends and having fun. Kelly said there were two parts of doing the camp that make it all worth it.
"There are two things, I mean I love being a quarterback," Kelly stated. "I've got a little bit left in my arm. But my favorite part is the chalk talk. The first day it was Ken Dorsey, yesterday it was me and today it's Harrison Phillips. … We just try to instill in them the right things, the right habits, and how to make it. How to make it in life in general. Just every day that I am here and able to do this, I love it."
The camp brings so much joy to these kids who have a chance to learn from a Hall of Famer and make so many memories in and around the stadium. Kelly played his whole career in Orchard Park and when asked about the idea of a new stadium, the former quarterback said that he does have a preference on where it is.
"Even though they've done a great job of taking care of it," Kelly answered. "I said, 'why don't you just build it across the street and while you're building that, they can play in [Highmark Stadium] and when that's done, tear this down and make this a parking lot.' I think downtown, even though it sounds good, I think it's going to be way too much work, it's gonna be a lot of money and I don't know about tailgating. Anybody know they have a fanbase called Bills Mafia now, and they want tailgating! And I'm not telling anyone what to do but whatever they do, I'll be pulling for them."
Kelly is excited for the start of the regular season after the team made it all the way to the AFC title game in 2020. With Josh Allen in the building now and the torch being passed from one franchise quarterback to another, Kelly is confident that Allen can bring the Bills back to greatness.
"There's no doubt," Kelly said. "I mean if he's gone, I don't know who is or who it's going to be. He just has to be consistent. And I know him well enough to know that the kid can play. If you can get the right material around him, which I think he has, and the offensive line gives him time to throw things will be awesome. And talk about my records, I knew before last season started that those records aren't going to stay around very long."