Make no mistake about it, people in the south love football.
Much can be said for the fondness of good food also.
Reggie Kelly, a former Mississippi State tight end, is taking full advantage of both southern passions as he enters his 14th season in the National Football League.
The Aberdeen native continues to enjoy his good fortune of playing the game he’s loved all his life.
Entering this season, Kelly has played in 184 games with over 1,700 yards receiving as a tight end. He’s played his entire career with just two teams, the Atlanta Falcons and the Cincinnati Bengals.
“I set a goal when I entered the league in 1999 that I wanted to play 14 seasons,” said Kelly. “This season I would be blessed to have that happen. Last year, I played as a free agent with the Falcons and I’m just going to let this process play out to see where I am this season.”
While some who play professionally don’t have a path for life after football, Kelly knows exactly the path he will travel.
“I’ve always enjoyed football and I’ve always enjoyed food,” Kelly said. “I’m fortunate to have the opportunity that when football is over with, I can have this business, the food business.”
In recent years, Kelly has developed a product line that allows him to pass along traditional southern foods he grew up on, Kyvan.
“Business is going extremely well," said Kelly, who started the Kyvan line with salsa that could be found in two local Sunflower stores and now has a full line of grilling product, pecan pies, and sauces in grocers across the Southeast. "We consider ourselves extremely blessed to do something we love."
This weekend Kelly invites the public to join him at area Wal-mart locations to try the Kyvan product line, take pictures, get autographs or just talk football.
“I’m excited to come back to my home and meet up with family, friends and fans to showcase this great product,” he said. “I want people to actually taste it to see for themselves the quality of this product.”
So football fans who also like food, take advantage of the opportunity to meet a former Bulldog.
Kelly will be in West Point from 4-5 p.m. today. On Saturday, he can be found at the Columbus location from 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m. and in Starkville from 3-4:30 p.m.