Jim Kelly at the 2018 NFL Honors ceremony. Feb 3, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Jim Kelly during red carpet arrivals for the NFL Honors show at Cyrus Northrop Memorial Auditorium at the University of Minnesota. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Monday saw some breaking ESPYS news, with famed Buffalo Bills’ quarterback Jim Kelly announcing at his own charity golf tournament that he’ll receive this year’s Jimmy V Award For Perseverance. Kelly is in the middle of his third battle with cancer and is set for another surgery in June before the ESPYs in July. As per ESPN Bills reporter Mike Rodak, he wasn’t even thoroughly confident he’ll make it to the ceremony:

Interestingly enough, Kelly announced this before ESPN did. And at first, ESPN tried to say he was just a finalist, as USA Today‘s Sal Maiorana writes:

“I was just told about a week and a half ago that I’m receiving the Jimmy V award, an ESPY award,” Kelly told a knot of reporters.

Oops. Minutes after that news went out on Twitter, the ESPN public relations machine contacted Kelly’s personal assistant, Trish Cavalier, to clarify that he hasn’t been named the winner of the award just yet, only that he’s a finalist. 

However, the cat was out of the bag at that point, ESPN realized it, and shortly thereafter, it was announced on Adam Schefter’s Twitter account that the company would officially announce it later Monday that Kelly was indeed winning the award.

And they did just that. Here are some highlights from ESPN’s official release:

Former Buffalo Bills quarterback and Hall of Famer Jim Kelly will be honored with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at The 2018 ESPYS. Kelly, who led the Bills to four straight AFC championships, was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in his jaw in 2013. Over the past five years since his diagnosis, Jim has embodied the definition of perseverance with his spirit and fearless attitude. Kelly will accept the Jimmy V Perseverance Award sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb on Wednesday, July 18, at The 2018 ESPYS presented by Capital One on ABC.

…“I am honored to receive the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at The ESPYS,” said Kelly. “It’s humbling to now be included on the long list of inspirational and courageous recipients of this prestigious award. I’d like to thank the V Foundation and ESPN for my consideration, as well as, for all of the incredible work they do for cancer research. They truly do ‘make a difference today for someone who is fighting for their tomorrow.’”

…“Jim Kelly truly epitomizes perseverance,” said Alison Overholt Vice President and Editor in Chief, ESPN The Magazine, espnW, and The ESPYS.  “We are honored to give him the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance this year as he embodies the determination, strength of character, and spirit of the award.”

Kelly is the second member of the Bills to receive the Jimmy V Award; former tight end Kevin Everett was honored in 2008 after his recovery from a severe spinal injury. He beat ESPN to the punch with the announcement, and that’s not ideal, but it sounds as though it all worked out in the end. Hopefully, we’ll indeed get to see what Kelly has to say about this award when the ESPYS air on July 18.

[ESPN Media Zone]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.