Jim Kelly: Hall of Fame Dad

Hall of fame quarterback Jim Kelly talks about his number one passion - being a father.


Take away the football, take away the fame, take away the records and what you have left is an amazing father who’s sheer joy in life is being a dad and raising his children with the utmost love and best values you can imagine. Jim Kelly is known for his phenomenal football career with the Buffalo Bills organization and for his “no huddle” offense that terrorized defenses in the early 90’s. However, under that tough exterior is a father who has and will continue to be the best he can be for his kids.

“Know that the job you’re doing now, as a father, is the most important work you’ll ever do,” Kelly said. Kelly believes that being a parent is the backbone to who their children are and will be. Parents help define their children; their support and reinforcement is what they will need throughout their life. “I’ve always taught my kids to have a firm handshake because when you meet someone your handshake is the first impression that someone has of you,” Kelly said.

A firm handshake and positive attitude will display to others that you have a strong personality and will power to outstand anything. Kelly teaches his daughters to be self sufficient and to be tough. “When they fall we don’t run to them and hold them,” Kelly said. He and his wife believe that it’s not necessary to coddle their children. “If they’re hurt or need me, of course I’m there and will show them love,” Kelly said. “But they have to know that they can do things by themselves and will be okay.”


“Being a parent is hard work but it is rewarding,” said Kelly. He has three children, two daughters and a son named Hunter that passed away in 2005 from Leukodystrophy (Krabbe disease). The disease is a rare but fatal degenerative disorder that breaks down the nervous system.

In his book The Playbook for Dads: Parenting Your Kids in the Game of Life Kelly discusses his life, parenting styles, advice and personal notes to his family; especially to his son Hunter.

“In the beginning we sheltered Hunter and treated him like he was fragile,” said Kelly. “But once we treated him normal and actually let him be a kid, things changed and Hunter accomplished things that kids with the disease couldn’t do.”

When Kelly talks about his son, in his book, you can feel the love and bond that they still have. Even though Hunter is in heaven watching over his family, it is evident that he and his father still have a very strong bond that will last forever.

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Angela Guzman
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