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Center Position Set For Colts With Ryan Kelly Entering Year Two

Intro: Going into his second NFL season, Ryan Kelly has locked down the center position for the Indianapolis Colts. What is Kelly looking forward to in 2017?


INDIANAPOLIS – The revolving door that Andrew Luck and the Colts experienced at center from 2012-15 was all but shut last year.

Ryan Kelly did the shutting of the door, as he became just the fifth rookie offensive lineman in Indianapolis Colts' history to start all 16 games.

What all goes into playing NFL football never seemed to overwhelm Kelly.

But even Kelly admits, things are a bit smoother in Year Two.

"Having that first year underneath your belt, that experience obviously helps," Kelly now says. "Just a little bit more comfort level. You know what to expect. You are not freaking out about what's next.

"They tell you your rookie season is going to be the hardest one and until you are in Year Two, you don't really realize that just because you never really get a break and you are playing catch up from the Combine. You never really get back into football shape, so that really hurts you."

Kelly's 16 starts at center was a rarity for recent Colts' teams.

The only missed time Kelly had in 2016 was on Thanksgiving, when a shoulder injury took him off the field early in the first quarter.

Following a National Title run during his final year at Alabama, and through a jam-packed rookie season, Kelly admits that he was a bit "worn out" by the end of last season.

Refreshed after a much more normal offseason, Kelly goes into his second NFL season with an offensive line group he says is "light years ahead" of where the group was this time last year.

In 2017, it's looking like Kelly will have two of his fellow draft mates to the right of him this fall (fifth-round pick Joe Haeg at right guard and third-round pick Le'Raven Clark at right tackle).

It's a trio that could be part of the long-awaited offensive line revival in Indianapolis.

From the early off-season workouts that began as a group earlier this year, Kelly is a firm believer in seeing the necessary growth.

Kelly believes no other position group has to be on the same page as much as the offensive line.

Will all the off-season work lead to tangible results in 2017?

"Our attendance in the offseason has been outstanding as an offensive line," Kelly says. "I think we've come a long way, but still have a long way to go.

"We are still a really young group, which I think is fun. Obviously, there are some things we are still learning. (But) I think the sky's the limit honestly."

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