This Day In Sports History (August 18th) – Jim Kelly
It was on this day in 1986 that Jim Kelly signed his first contract with the Buffalo Bills. The contract was worth $75 million over five years, which made Kelly the highest paid player at the time.
The Buffalo Bills selected Kelly with the 14th pick in the first round of the 1983 NFL Draft. However, the cold weather of Buffalo combined with the Bills poor attendance made Kelly decide to sign with the Houston Gamblers of the USFL. Jim spent two stellar seasons in the USFL, winning the leagues Most Valuable Player award in 1984 while throwing 5,219 yards and 44 touchdowns, both league records. The Houston Gamblers team folded shortly after and the entire USFL collapsed, which paved the way for Kelly to return to the Bills.
Kelly would enjoy a great career in Buffalo, leading them to four consecutive SuperBowl appearances. Unfortunately for the Bills, they would lose all four trips to the big game and have been unable to make it back since then.
Here is a clip from Kelly’s Hall of Fame induction speech
Roberto Clemente: MLB – Born August 18th 1934 in Carolina, Puerto Rico
Brian Mitchell: NFL – Born August 18th 1968 (age 43) in Fort Polk, Louisiana
Jeremy Shockey: NFL – Born August 18th 1980 (age 31) in Ada, Oklahoma