Denver Broncos tight end Nick Kasa was just a Broncos fan in the crowd at Sports Authority Field during the AFC Championship, but now he has a chance to win a Super Bowl ring with the team. A broken cell phone almost cost him the opportunity, though.
Kasa, 25, was a four-year letterman with the Colorado Buffaloes, but made his way into the NFL as a sixth-round pick of the Oakland Raiders in the 2013 NFL Draft. He caught just one pass as a rookie, a 5-yard touchdown, and missed the entire 2014 season after tearing his ACL. When he failed a team physical in May 2015, he was released by the Raiders and wasn't picked up by another team.
But thanks to a blend of size and speed that is comparable to Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen, he suddenly became valuable to whichever team advanced to Super Bowl 50, so both the Broncos and the New England Patriots decided adding Kasa would be a smart decision. Via Michael Kelly of the Denver Post:
Kasa was at Sports Authority Field rooting for the Broncos against New England in the AFC Championship game last Sunday and had no clue he was being pursued by the teams he was watching. Both squads tried to contact him during the game but he had dropped his phone and cracked the screen, rendering it useless.
He accessed his messages Monday and heard the Broncos wanted to sign him to their practice squad, so he raced to get his phone replaced.
Kasa was signed by the Broncos last Monday and is now doing his best in practice to simulate Olsen, who racked up 1,104 yards and seven touchdowns during the regular season, and another 190 yards in two postseason games. Kasa and Olsen are both 6'6, although Kasa is listed as 12 pounds heavier than Olsen.
Either way, he told reporters that he's trying "to be the best Greg Olsen" he can be and that he's just excited to have a chance to win a championship with the Broncos, two weeks after he was just another fan in the crowd.
"It's a freaking dream come true," he said Thursday after his first practice with Denver. "I don't know how to describe it. It's still fresh in my brain and a whirlwind going around in there. It's good to be here."
As a member of the practice squad, it's highly unlikely that Kasa moves up to the active roster and gets a chance to suit up on Sunday, let alone play. But for a player who has just one career reception and hasn't played in a game since 2013, he now has a chance at a Super Bowl ring.