Jim Kelly is a stud.

Yes, yes. I know that these days, such a term can get you hauled down to HR — even if it’s offered as a compliment — and might even result in a mark on your PERMANENT RECORD.

But Jim Kelly is a stud.

How else to describe someone who beat cancer not once, not twice, but three times?

This week in Canton, Ohio, it’s all about NFL football, a story that includes Kelly’s triumphs on the field as the quarterback for the Buffalo Bills.

But it’s weird how trophies, Gold Jackets, records and rings cease to matter when a doctor tells you the test was positive.

In our culture, the definition of what constitutes manhood and masculinity is at its zenith on an NFL playing field. Those of us who love the game say we’re concerned about players’ long-term health, but let one of our linebackers knock a quarterback into the middle of next week and we cheer like we did it.
Love you, man

We’ve all been weaned on entertainment in which we learn that for men, violence is a problem-solver, not the actual problem.

We’re getting better, but our culture still derides men who cry, or show fear and uncertainty. They aren’t to utter frilly sentiments like “I love you,” the exception being when they add “bro” or “man” to it.

But I would venture to guess Kelly has experienced all of those feelings in buckets, even as he endured treatments that would break down a 300-pound lineman.

People who have beaten cancer know it changes how you view everything.

Your priorities get turned on their head.

You understand, more than others ever could, that life truly is finite. Time becomes an almost tangible thing. You can see its ebb and flow, and you come to understand that you simply are part of a much greater story.

During enshrinement week, stories inevitably seep out about the celebrities, who’s gracious, who’s a prima donna and who’s just a jerk.
They’ll remember

Kelly could be among the entitled. He was, after all, part of the legendary NFL quarterback class of 1983, which included Dan Marino, our own Todd Blackledge and John Elway.

Lesser men have milked such distinctions for life.

Kelly instead has gone above and beyond in representing what’s best about the game, and far beyond the field. It’s no wonder he had one of the largest entourages in Pro Football Hall of Fame history when he was inducted in 2002.

The best thing about this year’s enshrinement already has happened: Kelly’s latest cancer screening has delivered a clean result.

Some guys you just root for, even if they never played for your team.

In the decades to come, most fans won’t remember Kelly’s statistics. They’ll see his bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and recognize him as the guy who stared down cancer, not once, not twice, but three times — and cancer blinked.

Jim Kelly is a stud.

— Reach Charita at 330-580-8313 or charita.goshay@cantonrep.com. On Twitter: @cgoshayREP