|Chris Kelsay is saying good-bye after 10 NFL seasons. (USATSI)|
After meeting with Kelsay on Wednesday, Bills general manager Buddy Nix described the 10-year veteran as a consummate professional and inspirational team leader. Before last season, Kelsay had only missed seven games due to injury in his first nine seasons in the league.
“He did everything with class,” Nix said in a statement. “Everyone in our organization from the players to the coaches to the front office personnel have the utmost respect for Chris. I know he will be successful in whatever he chooses to do next.”
Kelsay, a second-round pick out of Nebraska in 2003, arguably had his best season in 2006 when he finished with 88 tackles and 5.5 sacks. In three of the next four seasons, Kelsay was voted a defensive captain by his teammates.
“Your teammates are a big reason why you do this,” Kelsay said. “Being around long enough, you establish a lot of lifelong relationships, not just in the locker room but around the building. That's something I'll carry with me and cherish for the rest of my life.”
The 6-4, 263-pound lineman missed two games in mid-November after suffering a partially torn ligament in his neck in practice. He returned to the lineup later that month, but was placed on IR after he aggravated the injury in a Week 12 loss to the Colts.
Kelsay finished his career with 522 tackles, 32.5 sacks, two safeties and eight forced fumbles. He is one of only three Buffalo defensive linemen to record three interceptions during their Bills' career. Kelsay spent all of his 10 NFL seasons with the Bills.
“The Bills' fans are the best in the NFL. Having played in every NFL stadium over my 10 years, there are no other fans like the ones we play in front of,” Kelsay said. “It's inspiring, emotional and exciting every moment you step on the field.”
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