Chad Kelly is not a rookie but he is making in impression at the Denver Broncos' rookie minicamp this weekend.
Kelly, a nephew of Bills legend Jim Kelly and a product of St. Joseph's, was on injured reserve for his rookie season with a wrist injury suffered before the draft. The injury led him to slip in the draft and he was chosen with the last pick.
A year later, he is healed and back to his former playing weight and in position to duel with Paxton Lynch for the Broncos' backup quarterback spot. The Broncos signed Case Keenum in free agency to be the starter.
“I’m just trying to get better every rep," Kelly told reporters in Denver. "To come out here for rookie camp and being the only quarterback out here, to get all of these reps, whether it is throwing routes, running team period or working with coaches in individual, that is how you get better. To be consistent and repeat everything that you’re doing – being out of the game for a year and a half, there hasn’t been any consistency in what I’ve been doing. I’ve got to get back to doing that, feeling like myself and going out there and competing at a high level.”
In the offseason, Kelly spent time working with his uncle Jim and also with Matt Simms, whose father is former NFL quarterback Phil Simms. Phil also offered pointers.
“I try to use all my resources and try to get ahead, because every day everybody is getting better,” Kelly said. “If I can take one thing from some guy and another thing from another guy, it’s only going to help me out.”
Kelly said he is most excited about the long wait to get back on the field finally being behind him.
"It's been really long," Kelly said. "But finally getting out, the time's here, and you can feel like yourself again. This is what you do. This is your job – to be able to get out here with guys and kind of get back in the swing of things."
Coach Vance Joseph said he has been impressed with Kelly, telling reporters Saturday: “I’ve been proud of Chad overall,” Joseph said. “I mean, he’s been here every day. He’s worked his butt off. And he’s changed his body. Last year he was a little tubby kid. He is really lean now. He’s eating right. He’s working hard. He’s definitely put the work in. And he’s throwing the ball really well right now.”