A football and a dream: The story of Casey Kelly

Casey Kelly catching a pass on a football field.

Photo courtesy of Ole Miss/Instagram

Casey Kelly playing for Ole Miss.

Alessia Gervasi, Contributing Writer

Casey Kelly was born and raised in Buffalo, where his passion for football sought out his destiny for his future career in the sport.

He started playing football when he was in 4th grade and as the nephew of former Buffalo Bills player Jim Kelly, the game was in his blood.

Since football was embedded in his life from the start, he grew up playing with his family members. Casey’s brother, Chad, was his go-to partner. Chad also played for Ole Miss, which is where Casey is currently.

After graduating from St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute, he started college at the University of Mississippi in the fall of 2019.

His professional career officially began on the team that is proud to hold the title of first place in the Western part of the Southeastern Conference: Ole Miss. He became number 81 on the Ole Miss field playing the position of tight end.

“I did not know where life would take me or what team I would end up on, but I am happy to play for Ole Miss,” said Kelly.

He has proven he can play at the college level and has the statistics to prove his skill.

Though he’s currently playing at the highest level of athletics he has yet to achieve, he still would like to fulfill his dream of playing professionally in the NFL. Until then, Kelly works hard to not only maintain his skill but to continue growing into a better athlete than he was the day before.

“In a sport like football, you would think that your competition is only the team you are playing against but it’s not. Your biggest competition is yourself because you have to keep on pushing to be better in order to keep winning,” said Kelly.

Aside from working on himself, Kelly believes that being a team player is one of the most important skills to have on and off the field. This means being there to support your teammates and sharing each other’s success.

Kelly explains that spending time and growing with his teammates has to be one of his favorite aspects of playing for Ole Miss.

Kelly also follows a routine every day to make sure he is the best that he can be.

He watches his past games and practices back over in meetings from 6 a.m. until about 4 p.m..

When it is time for game day, Kelly has many thoughts and emotions racing through him.

Blocking any negative, self-doubting thoughts or hoping that his training has done its job of getting his body ready for a successful game are just a couple of thoughts that go through his mind. Every athlete faces a number of challenges and mental blocks, but Kelly explains that there are also team challenges.

“Dealing with all the negativity that comes with fans but learning to block it out and focus on yourself. We as a team call this rat poison,” said Kelly.

Some other challenges that Kelly faced were when he tore his ACL and MCL from skiing which took him out of football for six months and put him into rehab. After working progressively to heal his body, he made a comeback- playing better than ever.

Kelly has experienced memories of a lifetime during his career, such as playing against Tennessee last year and winning the game with more than 100,000 fans in attendance.

He mentions that it was one of the best games that he has played.

For Kelly, his career is only just beginning. He awaits the day that he can prove his strengths further in the NFL.