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February 23, 2008

Keller fine with flying under the radar

MORE: Rivals.com coverage from the NFL Scouting Combine

INDIANAPOLIS - As former Nebraska quarterback Sam Keller walked into the NFL Combine media room on Friday, he was just another guy.

Keller was the last player to come into the interview room. So, unlike some of the other quarterbacks that came in on Friday, he received very little media attention.

As Keller prepares for his Combine workout in Indianapolis on Sunday, he'll be the first one to tell you he's coming in as an under-the-radar prospect.

SAM KELLER FILE

Name: Sam Keller
Position: Quarterback
Height: 6 feet 3 7/8
Weight: 241 pounds
College: Nebraska
High school: San Ramon Valley (San Ramon, Calif.)
Fact: Keller is an athletic prospect who was having a strong final season before a shoulder injury ended his college career. He had a decent week not bad, not outstanding - at the East-West Shrine Game. -- Frank Coyle
"I'm not one of the top guys here and that's because the different things that happened to me in college," Keller said. "I've had injuries, inconsistencies and I haven't been able to finish a season, so there are doubts about me. I'm kind of coming through the back door, and that's OK. My goal is for one team to fall in love with me and give me a chance."

One advantage Keller will have is a strong understanding of how things work behind the scenes.

Keller's father, Mike Keller, is a former NFL executive. His knowledge of the draft has been an invaluable resource for his son. In fact, as Sam Keller went up to the media podium on Friday, the NFL's Gill Brandt bragged to the reporters present how he drafted Keller's father when Brandt was with the Dallas Cowboys. Brandt even helped Mike Keller purchase his first house.

"My dad knows the ins and the outs," Keller said. "But the one thing I appreciate about my dad is he's being my dad first. He understands that if I have a question or there's anything I need to know or ask him, he knows I'll ask him and he'll answer it. Right now he's just trying to be supportive. He knows so many people in this arena and he wants to make sure that his past life in the NFL stays separate from mine, and I really appreciate that."

Keller measured in on Friday at 6-foot-3 and 7/8 inches and he tipped the scale at 241 pounds. It was very noticeable that Keller has added some good weight to his frame since the end of the 2007 season.

"There's not much more weight I can cut off," Keller said. "I really like the shape I am in. I spent the last four weeks with Chip Smith in Atlanta at Competitive Edge Sports just working pretty hard. After the East-West Shrine game I realized I can still play, and I wanted to chisel up and refine how I was running."

One of Keller's main receiving targets at Nebraska was wide out Maurice Purify, who's also in Indianapolis for the Combine.

Purify said on Friday there are a lot of attributes he sees in Keller that will make him a good fit for the next level.

"He's the type of guy that wants to get better every year and every week," Purify said. "He'll sit in there and take the big hit while he's throwing the ball, and that's what teams in the NFL want."

When asked his best attribute as he prepares for Sunday's NFL Combine workout, Keller said some of the things he does best you can't measure on paper.

"No. 1, first and foremost, I just love football and that goes a long way," Keller said. "Then I learned what it takes to grind in the film room and do the things that are required of you to be successful in the NFL. You have to start from the bottom again and work hard. You have to work your way up and earn respect.

"I think because I love the game so much and I want to get better, those would probably be my biggest aspects coming in."

MORE: Rivals.com coverage from the NFL Scouting Combine



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