With training camp here, we're checking in with Chargers players ahead of the 2022 season:
Our series continues this week with Joshua Kelley.
Now in his third NFL season, the 2020 third-round pick of the Bolts is currently in a battle for ownership of the running back spot behind Austin Ekeler.
Here's more from an honest and candid Kelley on how that camp competition is fueling him, how he's worked through the challenges that have come during his first two NFL seasons, why he values the communication on this coaching staff, and more.
We spoke last year, but you were drafted in 2020 aka the class that came in during an 'unprecedented time.'
Does this feel normal now?
Kelley: It feels so much more normal now! My first two years, it was just so much more limited. You barely could talk to people and interact with people. But now, this feels like it's an actual, regular football season. We have a normal schedule with no variables due to COVID.
How challenging were those first two years for you?
Kelley: It was definitely tough. For me, I've used those experiences and learning curves to get better to where I am now. Honestly, it's been a blessing, for real.
Really? In what way?
Kelley: I've learned a lot about myself, going through adversity and setbacks. In college, it was kind of a bit of smooth sailing. There were some setbacks here and there, but for the most part, I kind of knew what to expect.
These past two years, there were times where I wasn't dressing for games. Being inactive. That was a big mental challenge for me. Like, wow, this doesn't really happen. This had never really happened to me before. But how do you respond?
Looking back at it now, I've become a better person and player from it.
What has that done for your mental approach to the game?
Kelley: It's helped me want it more. It really has. For me, I've always felt like I've been 'that guy.' But it's like, dang, when you're not playing, it's interesting.
It made me say I want it more. I want to prove to everybody who I am, that I can do better, and I can be the best.
I spoke with running backs coach Derrick Foster earlier this year, and he said the key for you is putting consistency and confidence together.
How do you do that?
Kelley: It's an everyday process. Practice, preseason games, after practice. It's an everyday thing and it's a mental battle.
But I've very confident that I've been putting in the work, the time in, the effort. When you do that, you have no regrets, no matter what happens.