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Behind the Scenes: A fan who made it into the NFL

Coach Gibbs and myself in Minnesota
Coach Gibbs and myself in Minnesota
Daniel Kelly

Hello, I'm Daniel Kelly and I wanted to introduce myself to you. I also want to thank you for taking the time to get to know me. On Sundays, I’ll be writing a feature article for Hogs Haven with the unique perspective of a ‘Skins fan who has also spent four years working in pro scouting on one of the best staffs in NFL history.

My journey began in a small town in Minnesota when I saw my first football game at the age of 8. My parents were watching a football game on the old RCA television in the corner of the living room. I was drawn to the game like a magnet to a refrigerator. It was love at first sight, but not for the hometown Vikings, but rather for the Washington Redskins. Riggins, the Hogs, Coach Gibbs and the electric crowd at R.F.K. Stadium captured my heart, my mind and my imagination. From that day forward, I became a fanatical fan of the Washington Redskins. I kept a count down chart every off-season to "how many days until the next Redskins game," and even tried carving a Redskins logo on my pumpkin for Halloween. I absolutely ate, breathed and lived for the Redskins in what became their most glorious era under Coach Joe Gibbs.

At 17, I started writing and sending scouting reports to Charley Casserly, who was the Redskins General Manager at the time and asked him for an internship. At 21, I had a chance to do an unpaid, informal internship with Tony Dungy when he was the Defensive Coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings. At 24, while I was working at Bank America Mortgage as a loan officer this thought went through my mind, "What am I doing here? My dream is to be an NFL scout!" So, over the next seven months, I worked at the bank all day and every night I burned the midnight oil and evaluated as many college football seniors as humanly possible. I turned all those scouting reports into a 350-page self-published "NFL Draft Guide," and sent out three copies of "my resume" to every team in the league and waited to see who would respond. That’s when the call came!

I was hired to work in pro scouting with the New York Jets and found myself working in the same building as Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli among many other great minds and big names. MY DREAM HAD COME TRUE! However, during my entire time with the New York Jets, I was still a rabid Redskins fan, which made for some very interesting stories. I had confided in a couple of the young guys on staff about my love for the Redskins early on and I didn't really realize just how much word had traveled until the Defensive Backs Coach at that time, Eric Mangini, called me into his office prior to the Redskins-Jets game and asked me some questions about "what Washington tries to do in their play action passing game on 3rd downs."

I spent four years working with the New York Jets and during that time, I attended four straight NFL Scouting Combines In Indianapolis. I also received some training at the NFL League Office in reference to the salary cap and league procedures. I went through a lot of personal trials and tribulations in New York, but the highlight of my time there was when I came into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. My life radically changed overnight and it's been a journey that's been beyond words ever since. My wife, Kristina, and the children we've been blessed with together currently reside in Arizona, which means we have the NFL Sunday Ticket. In fact, I was one of the first in line to get the little dish when they came out in 1995 for the sole purpose of seeing all the Redskins games. Back when I was a teenager, I told anyone who'd listen that by the time I was forty, I'd be the GM of the Redskins. Well, I'm forty now and I'm not the GM of the Redskins, but over the years, since I've been out of the league, God has slowly been giving football back to me. I've come somewhat close three different times over the years to maybe getting in with the 'Skins, most recently in 2010 when then Special Teams Coach, Danny Smith, told me that they were not going to be hiring anyone until after the draft and I was "in the mix." I believe God's timing is absolutely perfect and having the chance to write for Hogs Haven is a tremendous blessing and a privilege. I don't know where it all will go, but I do know it's exactly what I am supposed to be doing and I will do my very best to give you the very best Redskins stories and insights from behind the scenes.

Hail to the Redskins,

Daniel Kelly

Daniel Kelly spent four years working in pro scouting with the New York Jets and he's the author of the book, "Whatever it Takes," the true story of a fan making it into the NFL. Go to to to see more of his unbelievable story of being a die-hard Redskins fan who got hired out of nowhere to work on one of the best staffs in NFL history. Daniel co-hosts the Whatever it Takes NFL radio show on El Shaddai Radio, he's a contributing writer for Touchdown Europe and he's a featured writer on Hogs Haven. Daniel is a fan of the Washington Redskins with the unique perspective of someone who has worked inside the game.