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Kelly Kleine: It is important to show women belong in sports

The Broncos hired Kelly Kleine as Executive Director of Football Operations while the Vikings promoted three other women to higher football operations roles within the organization.

When the Broncos named Kelly Kleine their executive director of football operations and special advisor to General Manager George Paton, she became the highest-ranking woman in scouting in league history, according to the NFL.

Kleine’s duties include assisting the team’s pro and college scouting departments, overseeing the Broncos’ video and equipment departments and aiding the team’s personnel and coaching staffs in player evaluation.

It’s surreal,” Kleine told Aric DiLalla of the team website. “There is so much history here at the Broncos, and I am honored to be joining such a well-respected, successful organization. They have an incredible winning tradition, great fans and a special community in Denver that loves this team. I’ve heard nothing but great things from George about everybody here, from Vic Fangio to Joe Ellis to the entire staff. I’m extremely grateful to George, Joe and the entire Broncos organization for this opportunity.

“I also want to thank Rick Spielman and everyone at the Vikings for all of their support to help me get to this point — I have been privileged to learn and grow from so many outstanding people with the Vikings. I am ready to get to work and help the Broncos in whatever capacity I can.”

Kleine worked with Paton in Minnesota for 10 years, most recently as the Vikings’ manager of player personnel/college scout.

She said she was unaware of making history when she took the job. Billie Jean King, a 12-time Grand Slam singles winner, was among those to congratulate her.

“It is an absolute honor, but I hope someone passes me up soon,” Kleine said. “If anything, I hope it does let women know that there are these opportunities across the NFL. You don’t have to play football to work in the NFL. I hope I set a positive example for all women who want to break into football. I want to inspire women to keep growing in the NFL and throughout all of sports. It is important to show that women belong in sports. There have been so many women who paved the way for opportunities in this league and in football. I’m thankful to them, and I want to have the same impact for others.”