- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 1, 2002

Although Chris Kelley will undergo his third knee surgery in less than two years next week, he remains determined to fulfill his goal and one day start at quarterback for Maryland.
Kelley would have been the Terrapins' starting quarterback heading into fall camp had he not suffered his latest setback as he scrambled out of the pocket in Saturday's Red-White spring game at Byrd Stadium. Kelley tried to cut back while running upfield, and tore the ACL in his right knee.
"I've done it twice already, why not do it a third time?" Kelley said of another arduous rehabilitation. "It's been tough. I keep thinking my dreams are getting shattered. I just have to come out there with attitude that you have to wake up every day and try to get better. That's what I have to do for six or seven months."
Kelley, who would be a redshirt sophomore in the fall, has not given up hope of a late-season comeback. However, that seems unlikely, and he has begun looking into petitioning the NCAA for a sixth season, using this season as a "medical redshirt" and returning in 2003 as essentially a fourth-year sophomore. Scott McBrien, a sophomore transfer from West Virginia, is now the front-runner to start for Maryland in its season opener Aug. 31 against Notre Dame.
Kelley, whose first two operations were on his left knee, will undergo surgery May 8 in Baltimore. The 6-foot-2, 206-pounder was in a somber but not devastated mood as he spoke publicly yesterday for the first time since the injury. On Monday, the former Seneca Valley High School star learned that another operation would be required.
"I watched it on film a couple times," said Kelley, who felt the pop as he tried to move after the first-quarter play. "It really didn't look like much. You could tell on the film I was cutting one way and decided to go the other. You could see where it gave out. As soon as I did it, I knew what it was. There wasn't a doubt in my mind that something was going on.
"I can sit here and say, 'Why me? Why that?' But that's really not going to change the situation right now. I just have to take my medicine and deal with it and just come back stronger."
The quarterback, known for his athleticism, had felt he was finally regaining his top form before Saturday. He first blew out his left knee in a prep all-star game in the summer of 2000, and hurt the same knee last August in the Ocean City surf. Kelley played in his first game Oct.20, and was in for only six plays last season.
The quarterback had passing thoughts of giving up the sport after the latest injury before re-dedicating himself for another comeback. His dream might have been pushed back yet again, but he is still in pursuit despite the latest nightmare.
"One goal and it's the biggest is to go out there and start for this university," he said. "I was really looking forward to the season, especially that first game against Notre Dame. It's tough. It's tough to think about. I can't describe what I was feeling. I worked so hard to get back to where I am. I was real close to running and throwing back where I was in high school. It's sets me back again. I've come back before. I just have to do it again."


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