DETROIT -- Proving doubters wrong is nothing new to quarterback Kellen Moore. He spent four years at Boise State constantly knocking on the Bowl Championship Series national title door, each rap resonating a little stronger, a little louder.
Even if Moore doesn't take a snap in an NFL game, his football legacy already is established. He pushed college football a little closer to a playoff format that'll be accessible to all football programs, not just those draped in royal robes today primarily because of what they accomplished yesterday.
"We weren't alone in doing that," Moore said Friday as the Lions opened a three-day rookie minicamp. "There were some other uncharacteristic teams that probably didn't fit the profile that proved themselves and had the opportunity to play some big games. That BCS thing was always a work in progress. There's always room for improvement. But they usually got it right at the end of the day."
Moore welcomes a challenge. That's why signing with the Lions after going undrafted wasn't a big adjustment for him. He's accustomed to being the underdog. He didn't bother watching the final selections on the third and last day of the NFL draft. He already was on the phone with his agent seeking the best free-agency situation.
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The Lions were smart scooping him up.
Moore looks like he should be on the equipment squad carrying the players' shoulder pads and helmets. He's listed at 6 feet, and when you're listed as 6 feet, you're probably a nudge shorter. His arm is accurate, though not strong. According to the Mel Kiper School of Physical Football Metrics, Moore's arms are probably too short to be considered draft worthy.
But all the kid from Prosser, Wash., did at Boise State was win -- 50 times in four years.
Moore established the NCAA major college record for quarterback career victories while passing for more than 14,000 yards . He lost only three games, leading Boise State to a 14-0 record during his sophomore season two years ago, culminating in a BCS Tostitos Fiesta Bowl victory over TCU.
He believes the Lions are the right team for him. All he wants is the opportunity at proving again that size and strength aren't necessarily the most important qualities. He can more than ably handle the third-string responsibilities as chief clipboard holder. But it's more crucial for the Lions that they're exposed to as many winners as possible.
Moore comes from a coaching family. His father coaches football. He already knew Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan.
He probably won't have any impact as an NFL player, but don't be surprised if in 10 years Moore is the next great young NFL head coaching prospect. It doesn't matter the sport. The great future head coaches and baseball managers are those who often were too short or too slow to impress those pundits infatuated with the physical but ignore intangibles such as brains and guts.
Moore has both.
You don't win the big road games he did -- especially against highly ranked teams that were supposed to put the keepers of that annoying blue field in their place -- unless you're smarter and tougher than the competition.
Like his underappreciated alma mater, all Moore seeks is a chance to show that playing with the big boys isn't always about pedigree.
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