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Cancer surgery for ex-Bill Kelly

BUFFALO — Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly is expected to have surgery again following the recurrence of cancer that his wife described as aggressive and "starting to spread."

Doctors for Kelly, 54, the former Bills and Miami Hurricanes star, are leaning toward surgery Thursday or perhaps April 1 at a New York City hospital, brother Dan Kelly said Tuesday.

Kelly's doctors in Buffalo said March 14 the cancer was found to have returned when Kelly had followup tests after surgery in June to remove cancerous cells from his upper jaw.

Since then, wife Jill Kelly has provided updates on social media. In a March 21 blog post she described the hospital rooms "where we 'huddle-up' as a family to call the next play and plan the next move now that the cancer's back, aggressive, and starting to spread."

The couple's daughter, Erin, a college student, on Saturday posted a photo showing her lying next to her father in a hospital bed, her head resting on his right shoulder as they watched college basketball.

"Watching the Syracuse game with daddy … he's my buddy! Love him so much!!" read the post.

Two March 21 photos she posted show former teammates Andre Reed, Bruce Smith and Thurman Thomas smiling with Kelly during a visit at his home.

News of Kelly's cancer has brought an outpouring of well wishes from the community and beyond for the family, which has remained in Buffalo since Kelly's retirement from football after the 1996 season.

Kelly spent 11 seasons with the Bills and was the face of Bills teams that made four consecutive Super Bowl appearances in the early 1990s, only to lose them all.

He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002 and is the only former Bill to have his number (12) retired.

Owners' meetings: The league's officiating department will help referees rule on instant replay reviews starting next season.

League owners, meeting in Orlando, passed a rule letting referees consult with director of officiating Dean Blandino and his staff to help determine whether a call should be upheld or overturned.

Blandino and other staff will monitor games from league offices in New York, and they will immediately review challenges before referees get to their monitors. Referees still will make the final decision.

Rich McKay, Falcons president and co-chairman of the competition committee, called it "kind of a proof of concept to see how this works. We feel pretty comfortable with it, though."

Also, players will be penalized for dunking a ball over the crossbar. Blandino said the NFL is making a clarification of the rules for mutual respect and sportsmanship and pointed out that Saints tight end Jimmy Graham caused a delay when he knocked the goal posts loose.

Irsay case: Prosecutors postponed an initial court appearance for Colts owner Jim Irsay after his arrest on drug-related charges. Irsay, 54, was scheduled to appear today following his March 16 arrest on preliminary charges of misdemeanor driving while intoxicated and four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance.

Around the league: The Lions and safety James Ihedigbo agreed to a two-year contract, AP reported. He made 99 tackles last season for the Ravens. … Free agent defensive lineman Alex Carrington agreed to a deal with the Rams, NFL Network reported.

Cancer surgery for ex-Bill Kelly 03/25/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 12:14am]

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