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By LARRY VAUGHT
Even before the Denver Broncos added Kentucky linebacker Danny Trevathan to their roster by using their sixth round draft pick on him last him, former Wildcat Champ Kelly was already beaming about the UK connections with the Broncos.
Kelly is a former Kentucky receiver who has been with the Broncos since 2007. He started as the teamâ€™s Northeast region scout in 2007 and became assistant director of pro personnel in 2010. He is responsible for assisting in the evaluation and acquisition of free agents in addition to advance scouting and compiling research for the club.
The Broncos picked up linebacker Wesley Woodyard as a free agent out of Kentucky and heâ€™s had four productive seasons with Denver. Recently they signed free agent tight end Jacob Tamme, Woodyardâ€™s teammate at UK and a valuable and versatile player for Indianapolis the last four years. They also added defensive lineman Jeremy Jarmon in a trade and then re-signed him after he was cut just before the start of the 2011 season.
Kelly was almost giddy over being able to reunite Tamme, a Boyle County product, with quarterback Peyton Manning after Denver signed him during the offseason.
â€œHe comes in with an immediate familiarity with Peyton. They are a good rapport in Indianapolis when Dallas (Clark) was hurt. We are very excited to have Tamme to add another weapon to our arsenal to make our offense better,â€ Kelly said. â€œI knew Jacob back in Kentucky and heâ€™s one of the people that people Iâ€ˆtry to talk to talk about how good a character he has. He is a great person and great teammate, the kind of person you want on your roster.
â€œI have admired him from afar and we are so excited to have him here. I have watched him grow and become a better player and he will have a great chance here to be an even more productive player.â€
Kelly says itâ€™s impossible to accurately gauge the value of the intangible qualities Tamme brings to a team.
â€œThey are extremely important. You have to gel as a football team and it takes the right mixture of high character, good quality people to make it work,â€â€ˆKelly said. â€œIf you have a solid corps of those type of high character people, then your team has a chance to sustain winning year after year.
â€œThat is something we look for when we are scouting. We look for smart, tough, dependable, good teammates. That is what we look for when we are out scoring. We donâ€™t just look for the fastest or strongest players. Thatâ€™s why I am proud to be part of this organization. Tamme understands the game of football. He is a veteran now and when you sign a contract to be on another team, you know that it is time for yo to step up and make it happen like he will.â€