Sammy Watkins embraces Bills' history, signs on to help wth Jim Kelly's youth camp

'Jim is a great guy...He’s a strong guy - a guy that’s fighting every day. A guy that’s positive, not negative'

Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly is visited by former Clemson teammates Sammy Watkins, Darius Robinson and Chad Kelly in a Buffalo hospital. (Buffalo Bills photo)

Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly is visited by former Clemson teammates Sammy Watkins, Darius Robinson and Chad Kelly in a Buffalo hospital. (Buffalo Bills photo)

Friendship transcends circumstances.

Such is the case with Sammy Watkins, Chad Kelly, and Kelly's family, whose paths have crossed again almost as soon they diverged.

The relationship that Watkins developed with Kelly during their time at Clemson led to the first-round NFL draft pick making a visit to a Buffalo area hospital last week, where NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly - Chad's uncle - is undergoing treatment for cancer.

To say that the two men hit it off would be an understatement.

Jim Kelly, to Watkins, is more than just a new friend - he's the embodiment of the Buffalo Bills' tradition, history and hopes for a better future.

Watkins visited Kelly the night before his first practice as a Bill, accompanied by Chad Kelly and former Clemson teammate Darius Robinson, a free agent rookie with the team.

“Jim is a great guy, and it was a great experience,” Watkins told the Bill' official website. “He’s a strong guy - a guy that’s fighting every day. A guy that’s positive, not negative.

"You hear a lot of things in the media that he might be doing bad or looks bad but he looks great to me.”

Almost in jest, Kelly mentioned his summer football camp and told Watkins he should make an appearance.

The former Clemson star jumped at the chance, and immediately signed on to help Kelly's youth camp, which will be held at Sweet Home High School in Amherst, N.Y., July 9-13. The camp, which has been held annually since 1988, is a non-contact, skills-based camp that also teaches fundamentals of health and nutrition, drug awareness, sportsmanship and teamwork.

“It’s going to be a great experience. I’m going to go to the football camp to help out,” Watkins said. “Hopefully (Jim Kelly) will be out there ready and prepared...

"Anything for Jim. He represents this program the way it should be represented and I’d do anything for him.”

Watkins said it didn't take him long in Buffalo to understand what Kelly means to the Bills' program and the community.

“He means a lot. I see that he’s everywhere around here,” Watkins said. “Everybody represents him and he represents the program well. He’s the quarterback of this franchise. He took this team and this franchise to the championship a couple of times. Even though they didn’t win it, he took them there and that’s the biggest point of being a Buffalo Bill."

During their meeting at the hospital, Watkins said Kelly provided "wisdom and encouragement" and perspective on being a member of the Bills.

"I can't thank him enough," Watkins said.

Follow Kerry Capps on Twitter @oandwkc

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