When asked who their favorite Rattlers’ fullback is most in the Rattler Nation will instinctively answer, Bo Kelly, and it is easy to see why.
Michael “Bo” Kelly spent 12 seasons in the Arena Football League (AFL), 11 of those seasons with the Arizona Rattlers. In that span, he became the AFL all-time rushing leader (until he was finally passed in 2013). Kelly is still the Rattlers all-time leader in rushing yards (1,455), rushing attempts (491), and rushing touchdowns (81).
The Overton, Texas native attended Cisco Junior College (Texas), and East Texas State during the “Bo Jackson era”, and his penchant for participating in multiple sports in high school and college earned him the nickname “Bo”, which has stuck with him ever since.
Bo Kelly has made the valley his home. To this day, he still attends most of the Rattlers home games, and he stays in touch with the fans on social media.
I had a chance to speak with Bo Kelly recently, and took the opportunity to ask him a few questions:
What have you been up to since retirement?
BO KELLY: When I retired from playing I ran my own commercial electrical company here in the valley. I ran that for five and a half to six years, and when I closed the doors I went back to work for the company that I worked at prior, which was Wilson Electric. I worked with them until about a year ago, and now I’m in the process of getting my own company back up and running.
Can you describe the transition from playing football to the career you have now?
BK: It wasn’t very difficult because I actually worked for Wilson Electric every offseason, from when I started playing until right before I retired. I didn’t really have a transition because I worked for them every offseason. Right before I retired I had already started doing some work under my company name so I was busy playing football, working in the corporate world, and running a business.
What is your favorite football memory from the Rattlers?
BK: Most of my memories are actually from the practices and the road trips. I definitely remember the games, but most of the fond memories are the comradery I had being around the guys on the team. That was actually the biggest adjustment for me.
Do you still keep in touch with some of the team?
BK: Most of the guys I hung around with on the team stayed here (in the valley). Randy Gatewood lives here, Brian Easter still lives here, and Cedric (Tillman) is still here. I do (still keep in touch with them).
Do you have any advice to give that you have learned from your experiences?
BK: I have a son (17) who is on the Chandler High football team. I talk to him all the time and advise him, “just develop yourself and be true to yourself. Understand what you are trying to be in life and don’t veer off the path.”
What would you like to say to say to the Rattler nation?
BK: I go to almost all the home games, as well as some of the away games, like San Jose and some other games. Rattler Nation is great. I enjoy it; I think they are the best fans in the league, lifelong fans. I go to a game and they will say I was a fan since 1996 and stuff like that, I enjoy it, and I think rattlers fans are the best fans out there.