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Dreams, hard work helped Kelly reach NFL


By Don Rowe, Special to the Dispatch



ABERDEEN --¬†Former Mississippi State University and current NFL standout tight end Reggie Kelly shared the secrets of his success Monday with a packed audience at the Monroe County Chamber of Commerce's annual banquet. 


On a night in which the Chamber passed out special awards honoring a local business, an industry, and individuals, Kelly added to the festivities with an inspirational talk in which he encouraged everyone to have a dream, to visualize that dream, and then to work hard in to be successful in whatever direction those aspirations led them. 


"Always have a dream, whether you're young or old," said Kelly, who was a three-sport star (football, basketball, and powerlifting) at Aberdeen High School. "We all have dreams, desires, hopes, and aspirations, but in order to sustain those dreams or goals, you must be prepared, you must be unique and then you must work hard. 


"It doesn't matter whether those dreams are life-changing or not, but it is important to dream your dream and not let the skeptics and the critics tell you what you can't do." 


Kelly said he dreamed as a youngster of playing in the NFL. 


"Every Sunday after a great breakfast of biscuits, scrambled eggs, and bacon cooked by my mother, our family went to church and then we hustled home to watch the NFL games on TV," Kelly said. "After the game, all the neighborhood boys would gather in someone's backyard where we played football, and that's where I first dreamed of playing in the pros. Later in high school and at Mississippi State, I honed in on my strengths, perfected my skills, and here it is years later I'm still living my cherished dream of playing in the NFL."  


Kelly, who plans to return this fall to the Atlanta Falcons for his 14th season, said a dream is only a small part of the equation. 


"It's not enough to just have a dream," said Kelly, a Southeastern Conference Honor Roll for three years. "You have to visualize, and by I mean you must believe in your dream. You must focus in on that dream or goal and see it as crystal clear." 


Kelly said dreams and visualizations go hand-in-hand and are important, but they are still only wishful thoughts without the third and most important ingredient: Hard work. 


"It's hard to be successful without hard work," he said. "Everything worth having is worth working for and hard work is the icing or cherry on top of the cake." 


Kelly then explained his definition of the word "WORK" in the form of an acronym: 


W - Will not give up (won't quit; setbacks are temporary, but giving up is permanent). 


O - Optimistic (have a positive attitude because problems are nothing more than opportunities). 


R - Repeat (do it over and over until you get it right). 


K - Key (the wrong key won't open any door, but with the right key you will have unlimited access; everyone has gifts and talents that come directly from God, and they are the key to your future). 


"Dreams don't cost anything, but they can cost you everything if you don't dream, visualize, and work hard," Kelly said. "Be prepared, be unique, and success will be there for you." 




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