Refresh and Reboot
Sometimes in life a change of scenery is more of a necessity, than a need. Whether it’s a new job, perhaps a new hobby, or even a new school. It’s a way to refresh oneself with a clean slate. Start new without the overbearing expectations.
An opportunity to prove that you belong.
Thank you #ChiefsKingdom. The last 4 years have been a blast and such a blessing. I consider you all family and friends. I’m excited to continue my career in Jacksonville! God is good. pic.twitter.com/BmEWDkLFTM
— Chris Conley (@_flight17_) March 16, 2019
Wide receiver Chris Conley is doing just this in Jacksonville.
The Jaguars decided to give Conley another shot at football’s highest level on March 16, 2019. An opportunity that he is grateful for heading into mini-camp.
His Path to Duval
The Georgia native decided to stay in state and played four years at the University of Georgia.
While at Georgia, he flashed at times for an offense that featured a dominant rushing attack anchored by current Rams running back Todd Gurley.
He ended his college career with 76 receptions 1,938 yards and 20 touchdowns. Average collegiate numbers, but nothing jaw-dropping. That would come later at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine.
Fun Facts: Conley wrote, directed, and starred in a Star Wars fan-film called Retribution during his days at Georgia. He is also a fan of superheroes and favors DC Comics over Marvel.
At the Combine, Conley’s physical stature was quickly admired. Standing at 6’ 3” and 205 lbs. he does not go unnoticed when he enters a room or on to a football field. However questions still remained. Why didn’t his college statistics match his physical gifts? Conley was initially slotted to go in the late rounds.
Then it became his time to shine with drills.
Conley posted a 4.35 40- yard dash, a time that certainly gets applauded for an athlete of his size. He followed that with the third best broad jump with 11’ 7” and recorded the highest vertical jump at 45 inches.
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Those type of numbers are sure to raise the eyebrows of NFL scouts.
And they did.
Conley was drafted as the 76th overall pick in the third round by the Kansas City Chiefs.
After a subpar rookie campaign, Conley entered his second season with lofty expectations. As the team’s third option at receiver, he progressed and was trending upwards. He was entrenched in the offense and a contributor.
However, in 2017 Conley suffered a demoralizing injury (ruptured achilles) that sidelined him for the majority of the season after five games. A crushing blow to a receiver on the rise.
Last season, Conley returned to a high-flying offense with many options including receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce. Despite putting up modest numbers in 2018, Conley struggled to distinguish himself among the other stars. After all, there’s only one football in use per play.
Redemption in Jacksonville?
Conley joins former Chief teammate, and friend quarterback Nick Foles in Jacksonville.
This will ease his transition to a new team, new city, new coach, and new offensive coordinator. Hopefully the adjustment period for Conley will continue to be smooth, as his most important attribute is his maturity and experience.
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) March 16, 2019
Conley joins a young group of unproven receivers in Jacksonville. A group that hopes to step into the spotlight after a year full of dropped passes and inconsistent play.
Perhaps his familiarity with Foles will produce magical chemistry in the passing game for 2019. Certainly his size and speed can be a versatile weapon for new Jaguars’ offensive coordinator John DeFilippo.
An opportunity at redemption is within reach for Conley. That is, of course, if he chooses to benefit from this opportunity.