James Edward Kelly was selected by the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the 1983 NFL Draft. He also played two seasons with the Houston Gamblers in the United States Football League. Kelly was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002. He is the only player in NFL history to have his number retired by one of his former teams.
About Jim Kelly in brief
James Edward Kelly was selected by the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the 1983 NFL Draft. He also played two seasons with the Houston Gamblers in the United States Football League. Kelly was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002. He was named to five Pro Bowls and received a first-team All-Pro honors in 1991. Kelly and teammates Thurman Thomas and Bruce Smith are the only three players to have their numbers retired by the Bills. Kelly also played basketball in high school, scoring over 1,000 points with six 30-plus-point games. Kelly appeared on a cover of Sports Illustrated while holding a New Jersey Generals’ helmet, but the league collapsed before he ever fielded a snap with the Generals. He is the only player in NFL history to have his number retired by one of his former teams. Kelly is a member of the NFL Hall of Famer and the NFLPA’s Hall of Shame. He has a son and a daughter, both of whom played football for the Miami Dolphins. Kelly has a brother, Mark, who played for the New York Jets and the San Francisco 49ers, and a son, Chris, who plays for the San Diego Chargers and the Los Angeles Chargers, respectively. Kelly’s son, Mark Kelly, is a professional football coach and the owner of the East Brady High School football team in Pennsylvania. He won all-state honors after passing for 3,915 yards, 44 touchdowns, and 1 interception in his career.
Kelly played in the Big 33 Football Classic in his senior year, and was named the USFL MVP in 1984. He threw for 9,842 yards and 83 touchdowns, completing 63% with an average of 8. 53 yards per attempt with 45 interceptions. Kelly threw for 376 completions in 676 attempts for 5,228 yards and 33 touchdowns for the University of Miami. He took on an early lead role in the 1985 L.A. Express-Los Angeles Express game, but was replaced by Steve Young, who had been signed by the New England Patriots. The game was supposed to be televised by ABC, but they opted to cover Doug Flutie’s debut with New Jersey instead. Kelly took on the lead role again in the second half, and led the L.L. Express to an early victory over the LA Express on February 24, 1985. He went on to play in the 1986 Los Angeles Express-San Diego Chargers game, where he threw for a league record 5,219 yards and 44 touchdown passes. He played in two seasons in Houston leading offensive coach Mouse Davis’s run-and-shoot offense, and said, “Would you rather be in Houston or Buffalo?’’ Kelly played for New Jersey from 1987 to 1989. He helped guide the Bills to a record four consecutive Super Bowls, although the team lost each game. He later played in three more seasons in the NFL with the Oakland Raiders.