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Broncos' Kleine highest-ranking female scouting exec in NFL

Last Updated May 17, 2021 at 12:30 pm MDT

HOLD FOR JON KRAWCZYNSKI STORY - In this Sept. 5, 2017 photo, Kelly Kleine, the coordinator of college scouting, poses during the Minnesota Vikings NFL football team's practice in Eden Prairie, Minn. Kleine started with the Vikings as a public relations intern but has spent the last five years in the scouting department and has gradually added more responsibilities to her plate. Now she also works with special teams to evaluate players in addition to organizing the scouting department. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — The Denver Broncos have hired former Vikings scouting executive Kelly Kleine as executive director of football operations and special adviser to the general manager.

That makes Kleine the highest-ranking woman in football operations at an NFL club. Additionally, she’s believed to be the highest-ranking female scouting executive in league history.

Kleine, who worked with Broncos first-year general manager George Paton for nine years in Minnesota, will have scouting duties and manage several departments, the team said.

The Broncos said Kleine will “be involved in all aspects of the Broncos’ personnel department, including player evaluation, NFL Draft/free agency preparations and day-to-day football administration.”

Paton called Kleine “a rising star in the NFL.”

“Having worked with her for nine years in Minnesota, Kelly has a strong understanding of all aspects of football operations and player evaluation along with outstanding leadership qualities,” Paton said. “She will be a tremendous resource with her experience on the pro and college sides as well as her knowledge of our grading scale and football calendar.”

Kleine most recently served as the Vikings’ manager of player personnel/college scout from 2019-20.

A native of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, Kleine began her NFL career as a public relations intern with the Vikings in 2012 and was a scouting administration intern the following year.

A 2013 graduate of the University of Minnesota, Kleine was promoted to scouting assistant in 2014 and served as the Vikings’ college scouting coordinator from 2015-18.


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Arnie Stapleton, The Associated Press