Titans’ Dennis Kelly to battle for starting role following tumultuous 2018 season

Getting through an NFL season requires toughness and resolve, but for Tennessee Titans offensive lineman Dennis Kelly, the 2018 season was especially difficult.

He had to deal with the death of his father in December, and that came after he had worked his way back from an undiagnosed illness in September that caused him to lose weight and miss five of Tennessee’s nfl jersey sales first seven games. When he wasn’t dealing with those issues off the field, he was often in the lineup and playing well at right tackle in place of Jack Conklin, who started just nine games in 2018.

It added up to a challenging season for Kelly, who impressed teammates and coaches with his professionalism.
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There were early indications that 2018 wouldn’t be just another season for Kelly. He opened the season as a replacement for Conklin in the season opener in Miami, a brutal game that lasted seven hours and cheap jerseys nfl 10 minutes because of weather delays, making it the longest in NFL history.

Kelly’s problems started when he was hospitalized during the days leading up to Tennessee’s Week 2 matchup against the Houston Texans. Tests proved inconclusive, so the nerve-wracking affliction was never identified.nike jerseys nfl

“Literally, we don’t know anything,” Kelly said after leaving the hospital.china nfl jersey “That’s kind of the mystery.”nfl official jerseys cheap

Once Kelly, listed at 6-foot-8 and 321 pounds, started to feel better, managing the workload to put weight back on was difficult. He had to be careful not to overwork himself for fear of triggering the illness again, and he didn’t return to the lineup until getting five snaps in the Titans’ Week 7 game in London against the Los Angeles Chargers.

When Conklin suffered a concussion against the Dallas Cowboys in November, it opened the door again for Kelly to start — this time against the New England Patriots in Week 10. The Titans played arguably their best game of the season — a 34-10 win at Nissan Stadium — and quarterback Marcus Mariota was sacked only twice, thanks in large part to the protection from Kelly and the offensive line.

The mysterious illness was behind him, but Kelly’s world was turned upside down again when he was excused from the Titans’ facility on Dec. 10 to go back to the Chicago area to bury his father.nfl jerseys online

The Titans placed Conklin on injured reserve later that same week with a knee injury, and remarkably, Kelly returned in time to practice two days after his father’s burial. He once again was called upon to start at right tackle against the New York Giants in Week 15, and his inner strength to do so didn’t go unnoticed by teammates.nfl jersey from china

“I’m really proud of him,” left tackle Taylor Lewan said. “Given the situation he had to deal with before the game, it’s hard to even put myself in those shoes. It’d be tough. But he played a great game.”

One of the greatest things about football is how much of an escape it is for players and fans, and it proved to be the perfect remedy for Kelly while he was mourning.nfl wholesale jersey

“Dealing with everything going on in my personal life was hard,” Kelly said after the Titans’ 17-0 win Dec. 16 in New York. “Then knowing that the team was relying on me and having to try and catch up was a lot. where to buy authentic nfl jerseys The whole process of football … the routine and all the structure of it, in general, helped keep my mind off it. But the game, especially, helped.”