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GM candidate wants to bring hope to an NFL city

GM Candidate

I have a plan that will take the NFL by storm, and I have a plan that will win the Super Bowl for any team in the league next season.

However, my plan does more than just that. I plan to bring hope to the city that gives me this opportunity. Not just the hope of winning it all – – but also the kind of hope that will inspire people to realizing their dreams – – and the kind of hope that inspires people to be able to go on no matter what.

I realize I am the dark horse general manager (GM) candidate. I do not check any of the traditional boxes. 

I did not check any of the traditional boxes, when I got hired to be on the greatest staff in NFL history either, a staff that featured Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick. As someone who failed out of a small community college in Minnesota, I beat out a four-inch thick folder of Ivy League school resumes to get hired in pro scouting with the Jets. 

It did not make any sense to anyone either in 2017 when the owner of the Cleveland Browns personally reached out to me and asked me for my ideas. 

It also did not make any sense to anyone when then team President of the Washington Redskins, Bruce Allen, called me out of the blue and said he wanted to ‘sit down with me and get my ideas on what I thought the team should do.’ 

Impossible is only a word in the dictionary.

My friend, Marc Trestman, (the only coach in football history who coached two MVP’s in two different leagues – the NFL and the CFL) said to me years ago, “If you can see it, you can achieve it.” 

I sucked at playing high school football. I was so bad at playing, I was the only kid who did not have enough playing time to earn a letter jacket. 

I was working at Bank America mortgage as a loan officer, when the Jets hired me. My interview there came down to me looking Bill Belichick in the eyes and convincing him to hire me. 

I have overcome cancer and lost five children, one to cancer and another four of my babies were taken from me. I have been through two divorces, two foreclosures, and a repossession. 

I stood over my oldest daughter’s casket, which was covered in white Princess roses and I delivered her eulogy. 

I carry soul-crushing pain in my soul that I am aware of around the clock. The only relief from feeling it is when I sleep at night.

I have not given up, nor will I. I am 48 years-old and I am still going for my dream. No set-back has stopped me. I receive between 200-500 notifications a day on Facebook being called every name in the book, by people who are upset by my evaluations. 

I have no retirement plan and nothing in savings. I have no fallback plan. I have no credit cards either. I do not just talk about not having a punter on my roster. I do not just talk about going for it on every 4th down. I live it. 

Next week, I am being laid off from my day job that has helped pay the bills. I have been writing for Sports Illustrated Detroit Lions and Draft Diamonds “part-time” 70 hours a week. I have no idea what we will do next. My wife and I have nine children between us. I have child-support to continue paying. Yet, I believe in the direction we are headed by faith. 

That is the biggest part of this plan – – is Him. God. I went out to New York with my dream and left with God’s dream. The biggest thing that happened to me during my time in New York was August 31, 2001. That was the day I was radically filled with the Holy Spirit. 

I want people to see there is real hope for them – – and I want to help people find a real sense of purpose in their lives. I want to encourage people to start writing in a journal everyday, so they can start seeing how God is working in their own lives void of any other logical explanation.

This is about winning Super Bowls, but it is about so much more than that. 

Daniel Kelly is a former NFL scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated Detroit Lions and he is a contributing evaluator for Draft Diamonds. For more information about him visit his website at He can be followed on Twitter @danielkellybook and his Facebook page is WHATEVER IT TAKES NFL TALK. 

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