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BSN Exclusive: Champ Kelly speaks about leaving Denver Broncos for Chicago Bears

Brandon Krisztal Avatar
May 16, 2015


DENVER, Colo — It was only a matter of time before Anthony “Champ” Kelly got a better job. The Broncos former Assistant Director of Pro Personnel would have loved for that job to be in Denver where he worked for the club since the Mike Shanahan era, but the Chicago Bears had a role he could fill sooner.

Today The Bears announced the hiring of Kelly as Director of Pro Scouting/Pro Personnel. Kelly, who joined The Broncos organization in 2007, said this was a very difficult choice for he and his family. “It was a hard tough decision because of the Broncos family embraced me and my family,” Kelly said via text message. “I have deep relationships in Dove Valley and the stadium. I truly respect John Elway, and will continue to use him as a resource. Mr. B (Owner Pat Bowlen) gave me my 1st opportunity in the league.  I’m forever indebted.”

Kelly is considered a rising star in football circles. He began his tenure with Denver as a regional scout after serving as the General Manager and assistant coach for the Lexington Horsemen of the defunct United Indoor Football league. Despite management changes from Shanahan to Josh McDaniels and Brian Xanders and then to Elway, Kelly continued to climb the proverbial front office ladder. In 2008-09 he served as Assistant Coordinator of Pro and College Scouting. He was promoted to Assistant Director of Pro Personnel 2010. Kelly worked closely with Elway, Director of Pro Personnel Tom Heckert and Director of Player Personnel Matt Russell.

The experience of working under different management in Denver should serve him well working with a first-time GM in the Bears Ryan Pace. “I believe in Ryan Pace and (Bears Head Coach) John Fox,” Kelly’s text message said. “We will always work to put a product on the field that will make the fans proud. I know the type of leaders we have in the building, I’ve worked with a number of them.”

In addition to Fox and Gase, The Bears have seven other former Broncos employees. Several of them are familiar with Kelly’s charitable efforts, which may have set him apart from other candidates.

In 2010 he began “C.H.A.M.P. Camp,” a two-day free camp focuses on teaching underprivileged kids not only about football, but life off the field, and the importance of academics and contributing to the community. It’s currently held in Denver, Lexington Kentucky, where he played for the University of Kentucky and his hometown of Panama City, Florida. His Denver camp, co-hosted by former Bronco Daniel Graham, will continue as planned June 6 and 7 at South High School. It is a safe bet that there will be a C.H.A.M.P. camp in the Chicagoland area by next summer.

Kelly, his wife Stephanie and two young children are excited to be moving closer to family in Kentucky. Working at Halas Hall means a little more to Kelly than just the excitement of the new job. “I grew up a Bears Fan,” Kelly added via text message. “I respect the Halas/McCaskey Family. I’m proud to be a Bear.”


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