Champ Kelly Breaks Silence on Raiders Picking Tom Telesco Over Him

champ kelly

Getty Las Vegas Raiders assistant GM Champ Kelly.

Once the Las Vegas Raiders fired Dave Ziegler as general manager, Champ Kelly was the logical replacement. He had previously interviewed for the job before being hired as assistant general manager. He also served as interim general manager after Ziegler was let go.

However, owner Mark Davis decided to go in a different direction and hired Tom Telesco as general manager. Kelly interviewed for other general manager openings but didn’t receive an offer and decided to keep his assistant general manager job with the Raiders.

After spending the past few months under Telesco, Kelly finally addressed the team’s decision to not promote him.

“When we first got together, [Telesco] laid out expectations for me and I was transparent with him about how I viewed the team and some of the needs and some of the places that I thought we needed to do to make this team better,” Kelly said of working with Telesco during a May 8 press conference. “I was able to check my ego and put this team first. It’s not about me, it’s really about Raider Nation, the alumni, to try to put our best product forward so that we can win football games for this city and Raider Nation.

“But Tom is easy to talk to, and I think ultimately, he wants the best for me, and I want the best for him and this football team. … And hopefully we’ll continue to build trust as we work together and win some football games together.”

Though it didn’t happen this year, Kelly will likely get the chance to be a general manager in the near future.

Champ Kelly Praises Scouting Department

It’s been a difficult past several months for the Raiders scouting department. When a general manager is fired, there are typically a lot of changes to personnel once a new one is hired. Kelly went out of his way to praise the work that the scouts did heading into the 2024 NFL Draft.

“I think it’s a testament to the scouts because the quality of work they had done throughout the fall was so good that he could come in and really get a feel for them and also get a feel for how they viewed the players that were draft eligible,” Kelly said. “I’ve been through multiple systems now and no matter how you turn the verbiage, ultimately all you’re doing is you’re vertically stacking a position group, and then you’re horizontally stacking that position group across the other position groups. It doesn’t matter what system you’re doing, all we are trying to do is find the best players and the best Raiders for us.”

Champ Kelly Is High on Brock Bowers

The Raiders weren’t expected to be in the market for a tight end during the 2024 NFL Draft but made a surprise decision by taking tight end Brock Bowers with the No. 13 pick. He was considered one of the best prospects in the draft but fell down the board a bit due to tight end not being a huge need for a lot of teams.

Kelly explained some of the thought process behind drafting Bowers.

“Yeah, I think my wife could watch the tape on Brock and be excited about him,” Kelly said. “He’s a really good football player and was highly productive in college. His position is tight end, but we saw him as a playmaker and offensive weapon.”

If Bowers becomes an All-Pro, nobody is going to be upset with the Raiders for adding a tight end when they didn’t need one.

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