|End of last year's Title Game. This feels like a "leftwich."|
|Jason Glenn #58|
The page for Joe Kelly #58 features very little, except a link to his NFL statistics. He played for the Jets from 1990-92 - when I knew and kept track of very little of what the team did. I was too busy studying Jacobean Drama or something like that. He must have made some impact on Bruce Coslet, who probably brought Kelly over from the Bengals, for whom he played previously. Otherwise all that's there is a dead link to an article from the Cincinnati Enquirer entitled "NFL Was Easy By Comparison," which made me wonder if he had suffered medical issues post-career. But when I found the link republished on a blog, I saw that the opposite was true. Instead, as of the writing of the article, Kelly was operating several homes for juveniles whose "families are entangled in abuse, drugs, mental illness or behavioral problems." This is no small feat, and had I not just looked a little further, I might have just written off Joe Kelly as another retiree whose life was marred by football. Instead, he is, it would seem, a hero. There are no pictures available for Joe Kelly, except a hint in the article of a man with a shaved head and a ring in his ear.
The link is worth looking at because "by comparison" the NFL did not require the emotional work that Kelly's efforts include. It's one thing to create foundations to help at-risk youth, as James Farrior has, but it is another to be the person to care for them, day by day. As a teacher, I enjoy having six hours with kids from the lower income community where I teach, but I don't go home with them, and home for many of them is the most turbulent place imaginable. And the angry, wounded adolescent is about the most unappealing human on Earth. Of the kids he helps, Kelly gets "walls patched that they've kicked in, and wait(s) with them at hospitals for treatments and emergency evaluations." Here's hoping that amid all of the deterioration of services for the neediest persons in this country, that Joe Kelly's work in Cincinnati still survives. What little I've read of him makes him one of the noblest ex-Jets I've encountered.