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Q&A With Kelly Bryant: Falling In Love With Football Again, Expectations For FCF Championship Game, NIL Deals

Kelly Bryant warming up prior to a Fan Controlled Football game.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - JUNE 04: Kelly Bryant #8 of the Zappers warms up prior to playing the Shoulda Been Stars during Fan Controlled Football Season v2.0 - Playoffs on June 04, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Brett Davis/Fan Controlled Football/Getty Images)

After starting the season 0-4, the Zappers have made an exciting run all the way to the Fan Controlled Football Championship Game. Former Clemson star Kelly Bryant has played a huge role in this run for the Zappers, scoring eight touchdowns over the past two games.

Bryant, a former standout at Clemson and Missouri, missed time earlier this FCF season because of an injury. Once he returned to the field, he took his game to a new level.

Fast forward to the present day, and Bryant has chance this weekend to lead the Zappers to a title in just the second-ever season in FCF history.

We caught up with Kelly Bryant to discuss his time in the FCF, his future as a football player, the current state of college football and more.

The Spun: The Zappers went from 0-4 to the Championship Game. In your mind, what really sparked this turnaround?

Kelly Bryant: Oh man, there’s a lot that goes into it. For me, this is my first time being on a winless team. So I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. Sometimes, you’ll have guys that aren’t bought in. But in the first three practices, I couldn’t even tell we were 0-4. So, what really changed? I think the team morale on the offensive side of the football just improved. The good thing about this league is we’re all on the same page. To answer your question, we’ve been the same team since I got here - especially when I first stepped on the practice field.

The Spun: What’s your mindset heading into the final game of the FCF season?

KB: It’s the championship game. Of course, there’s going to be a lot of excitement and buildup going into this game. You have one team that has been dominant all season, and then you got a team that just flipped the switch late. The main thing we’ve talked about is not making this game more than what it is. Make the routine plays, don’t do anything out of your play style, and take it one play at a time. If we do all that, I think we can be successful on Saturday.

The Spun: You recently said the FCF rejuvenated your love for football. Why is that?

KB: Man, it’s tough because I’ve been removed from college for two years. I really only had one workout and I was playing in the Arena Football League for two weeks. I got called to Toronto, was there for two weeks and then got released. I didn’t really have time to hone in. When I came back home last year from Toronto, I wasn’t really sure if I’d get a new opportunity because a new draft class was coming in. I didn’t really hear anything after this past season. I started thinking about what’s next for me. I was working out at the gym trying to stay in shape. Next thing you know, I get a call about the FCF having interest in bringing me in. I thought, ‘Why not?’ I want to show people that I can still play at a high level. Once I got here, the staff was really great. Even though we lost the first game, it was the most fun I’ve had since college. I’m just really appreciative of this opportunity.

The Spun: You’ve done a great job of seizing the moment. That being said, does your future weigh on your mind during these games?

KB: I don’t even think about it during the games. The biggest thing for me is getting more film and getting my name out there. In order to do that, I got to put out good tape. So maybe that aspect is in the back of my head. But really, I’m just playing free right now.

The Spun: I got to ask you. What was it like being teammates with Terrell Owens?

KB: It was dope. This is a guy who a lot of us here watched dominate on TV at the highest level. Now you’re telling me I’m going to throw passes to him? I liked watching him and seeing how he operates on a daily basis. Obviously, he has the swagger and confidence you expect from him. But yeah, the fact that I can say I threw a touchdown pass to Terrell Owens is awesome. It was a special moment, and I won’t take that for granted.

The Spun: You were a standout player at Clemson and then considered a top-tier transfer before you went to Missouri. In today’s age of NIL deals, do you think your transfer experience would’ve been vastly different?

KB: I try not to think about it, but it’s hard not to. I’m happy these guys are able to profit off their name, image and likeness. People have to go before you see change. I’m interested to see how they manage it though because it’s getting a little ridiculous with some stuff.

The Spun: What should fans expect from the Zappers this weekend? And what do you think we’ll see from you in the future?

KB: This weekend you’re going to see the same team you’ve seen the past few weeks. We’ve been on a run, we’re exciting to see, we’re explosive. I think we can be the last team standing with the cash falling on us at the end of the game. As for me, hopefully I’ve done enough to earn some type of workout with the XFL, NFL or CFL. I just hope something can come out of this. I feel confident in what I’ve done so far. I got to just let the chips fall where they may. 

If Bryant finishes this FCF season on a strong note, he could potentially receive an invitation to another pro football team’s training camp. At least that’s what he’s hoping for.

But first, Bryant’s main priority is to finish this FCF season as a champion.

FCF is enjoying a strong second year, doubling its viewership from its inaugural season. Additionally, the league has generated over 100,000 followers/subscribers across its platforms.

The FCF Championship Game between the Bored Ape Football Club and Zappers will kick off at 8 p.m. ET on Twitch, NBCLX, Peacock, DAZN and Fubo Sports Network.