LANDOVER -- After watching undrafted rookie Robert Kelley run all over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night, it's officially clear that all 32 NFL teams, including the Washington Redskins, whiffed on the former Tulane running back. After witnessing the undrafted free agent rise from unknown to training camp standout, from making the roster as the third-string RB to shining in three straight starts, what else could one think?
Seriously, how did this guy with the always-churning legs, a point guard's vision and a knack for turning nothing into something not get drafted? Anyone who doesn't think Robert Kelley should have been selected at some point over seven rounds must be crazy or auditioning a hot take just in case Stephen A. Smith's "First Take" wants their opinion.
You know who doesn't think Robert Kelley should have been drafted? "Fat Rob" himself.
"That's all that this is about. Just realizing how far I've come," Kelley told Breaking Burgundy inside the Redskins' locker room after rushing for 137 yards and three touchdowns against the Packers. "Some people be like, 'I know you have a chip on your shoulder.' It ain't even about all that. It's about taking advantage of the opportunity and showing people you belong.
"I don't have any chip on my shoulder. I don't think I should have been drafted. ...What I have is what I earned. That's what I'm working on right now. To keep on earning more."
Seriously, in the massive ego world of professional sports, who talks like this???
Robert Kelley, apparently.
"I'm never going to get comfortable," said the New Orleans native whose family was displaced in 2005 due to Hurricane Katrina.
Look back at his basic statistics in college and it becomes a bit clearer why Kelley is so humble. Look at what he's shown over his brief stint in Washington (5.0 yards per carry; 87, 97, 137 rush yards in three starts) and it's clear why the Redskins looked into dealing Week 1 starter and 2015 third-round pick Matt Jones before the league's trade deadline. Breaking Burgundy confirmed the report from ESPN's Adam Schefter, a report that confirmed the organization's faith in Kelley, even if nobody had such conviction on draft day.
Granted, those around the Tulane program weren't exactly all in either. His 424 rushing yards with the Redskins already tops any single-season output in college. When The Times-Picayune recapped the New Orleans-based school's pro day for NFL scouts, Kelley received only an "also participating" mention. Of course, Tulane is where he received the "Fat Rob" nickname for "eating a lot of food" in the offseason before his senior campaign.
Sunday night marked Kelley's first 100-yard game since his days at O. Perry Walker High School in New Orleans. Washington's new-ish starter set his NFL-high with 24 carries after never receiving more than 16 in any game during at least his last three seasons at Tulane.
This brings up another issue. The Redskins (6-3-1) must quickly rebound physically from playing Sunday night in Washington to suiting up for Thursday's afternoon's clash at Dallas. The Cowboys (9-1) lead the NFC East. Want to repeat as division champs? Win this game.
Kelley had 21 and 22 carries in his previous starts for the Redskins, but the bye week came after that first start, giving him a full week to recuperate in between facing Minnesota and Green Bay. Factor in his limited work at Tulane and it's understandable why Kelley truly had no answer to the question about whether his body would be ready for the insane turnaround.
"I don't know. I haven't had this much work in a while," he joked. "I just hope I'm not that sore."
NFL teams are surely sore, as in angry, over the fact that they whiffed on Kelley. They shouldn't be. Who says? Robert Kelley.