It hasn't hit Dennis Kelly yet, but it will before he gets a chance to hit someone.
The former Marian Catholic High School and Purdue standout lineman recently signed a four-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles and is listed as the No. 2 right tackle on the team's depth chart for tonight's preseason opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lincoln Financial Field.
"It hasn't sunk in yet, but I think I will be a little nervous when I am in the tunnel, waiting to go out on the field," Kelly said. "It is really a thrill to go out there and hear the crowd, but you also have to be ready to play."
Kelly's versatility and his willingness to play different positions has paid off. He played some guard last week in training camp.
"I said when I came in I was willing to learn any position in order to play," Kelly said. "I think the more positions you learn, the more valuable you are to your team and the better the chance to make the team."
The 6-foot-8, 321-pound Kelly was the 18th pick of the fifth round of the NFL draft. He was the 153rd pick overall. He said Eagles coach Andy Reid and offensive line coach Howard Mudd both told him that they wanted him to make an impact.
"I learned a lot from talking with coach Mudd because of all the expertise he has," Kelly said. "He pointed out to me what I needed to work on and I went out and did it."
Kelly admits there were heavy hearts this week at the Eagles' training camp at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. Reid's son Garrett was found dead Sunday morning.
"We are all grieving and it was pretty tough on all of us," Kelly said. "Garrett worked with the strength and conditioning, so we all knew him."