Titans Lineman Dennis Kelly, AKA "The Undertaker," Ready to Claim Job as Starting Right Tackle


NASHVILLE – Standing 6 feet, 8 inches tall, and weighing 321 pounds, Titans tackle Dennis Kelly is a mountain of a man.

With his long hair, which hangs past the name on the back of his No.71 uniform, he's drawn comparisons to "The Undertaker" from the wrestling world.

"There's a couple of different responses that I get (when I'm out)," Kelly said on Tuesday while on a conference call with reporters in Nashville. "I get: Why are you so big? You must do something.' Being so big, people will ask if it's basketball if they don't know who I am. (Titans fans who know me) say: I love what you do for the team and the city. Good game yesterday.

"There hasn't been a lot of 'Undertaker, what's up?' But there's a handful of wrestling fans that come up and we talk a little bit."

Kelly, after agreeing to a multi-year deal with the Titans on Monday, now aims to be called something else: Starting right tackle for the Tennessee Titans.

The big man now has an opportunity to claim the job on a permanent basis after reaching the deal the same day Jack Conklin, the team's starter on the right side the past four years, agreed to terms with the Cleveland Browns. In recent years, Kelly started games on both sides of the line, filling in for Conklin and Taylor Lewan, the starter on the left side. But he's been a back-up most of his career, always ready to step in when needed.

"You get in this game wanting to play, and hopefully everything works out where I can be the starter for a while now," Kelly said. "Obviously it was a weird situation with Jack and myself being free agents, and Jack having the big news for himself. They were pretty straightforward with me about how everything was going to play out, and they said if it ends up being me (who signs), it was going to be my spot.

"I have been working, and I am coming in, like I always have been, I am preparing like I am going to be the starter. That is what I am working for, and that is what I am going to be."

Kelly has played in 58 games for the Titans, with 16 starts, since being acquired in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles for receiver Dorial Green-Beckham.

He's logged starts at right tackle, right guard, left guard and tight end during his NFL career.

"I am excited (to play in one spot), because I've never had a true opportunity like that," Kelly said. "It is a great opportunity to show that I can do it, and I've got one one."

Kelly played in 15 games, with four starts, last season for the Titans. He started the first four games of the 2019 season during Lewan's suspension. In 2018, Kelly saw action in 11 games and logged five starts at right tackle.

A fifth-round draft pick in 2012, Kelly spent his first four NFL seasons with the Eagles, appearing in 30 games with 15 starts from 2012-15.

In 2019, Kelly also caught a pair of touchdown passes – one in a win vs. the Jaguars, and another in the AFC Championship game against the Chiefs.

In Tennessee, he said he's learned to love football again.

"We love Tennessee," Kelly said. "I told (GM) Jon (Robinson) during the exit interview, not knowing what was going to happen: 'Thank you.' I started to love football again. When I was in Philly during the Chip Kelly era, I started looking at Jobs.com to kind of see what I would be interested in because I kind of felt like I might be on the way out. I joke with my wife I accidentally have an MBA now because of that.

"… I've never doubted (the Titans) confidence in me, which has always been a nice feeling, knowing that they believe in me."

A look back at offensive tackle Dennis Kelly's 2019 season. (Photos: Donald Page)

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