Ashley Lelie

Life in the NFL

By Ashley Lelie

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

I made my first catch in a regular-season game in our win over San Francisco.

It was a routine catch, something I always do, but it was a little bit more special because it was on third down on a key drive and it helped keep the drive going and helped us win.

The play, a basic out route, wasn't designed specifically for me, but I knew I was one of the first reads and I knew if I was open that the ball was coming to me.

I guess I'll always remember it ... I remember my first college catch ... but it's not that big of a deal. I feel there will definitely be a lot more catches coming.

The ball came my way one other time in the game, a basic fade pattern, and a defensive back got a hand on it and knocked it away.

I played a lot in this game, 30 or 40 plays, compared to the 20 I played in the first game.

I also recovered San Francisco's onside kick to help secure the win. I'm on what we call the hands unit. It's guys who've got hands, receiver-types who can hang on to the ball.

I was real nervous before that onside kick, because the game was in our hands and we needed to come up big.

San Francisco's Ahmed Plummer broke up a pass in the end zone intended for Denver's Ashley Lelie in the second quarter of Sunday's game. Lelie made his first NFL catch in the fourth quarter.

Plus, you can take a really big shot if you fall on the ball and guys are coming full speed from 15 to 20 yards away. If they get a good shot on you, it will hurt.

Our defense stepped it up once again and bailed us out on a lot of situations, and they were a big reason for the victory.

Beating St. Louis and San Francisco -- two really good teams -- in our first two games shows that we're coming on, that we've progressed. And we've got another great opponent this week in Buffalo.

We can't get ahead of ourselves and we need to stay focused. The coaches are telling us to not let up on the hard work that we've been doing just because we have two wins. We need another 10 to 12 more.

My cousin, Tyrone Cooley, and his fiancée flew to San Francisco for the game. We didn't have time to do anything together, because we had to get right back on the plane.

For the road trip, we're required to wear at least a sport jacket and nice pants and shoes. Some guys wore suits. I wore a suit, brown with turquoise pinstripes, and that was kind of cool that I got to dress up.

One guy on the team, and I won't name names, wore this suit that I didn't think was that bad, but a lot of the other guys thought it was bad. So they messed with this guy on the way to the plane, on the plane ride, on the bus to the hotel and then when we went back to the plane. All day long. He definitely won't wear that suit again.

My dad, Rene, and brother, Justin, are coming out Friday for Sunday's game. That will be great. I haven't seen my brother since draft day in April.

On the field, I'm getting smarter and used to the speed of the game, and I'm learning some little things, but I'm not learning much that I don't already know. Coach June Jones taught me a lot of stuff that was really helpful and useful.

I talked to Coach Jones a couple of times in the preseason, and haven't talked to him in a while because he's really busy with the team now.

I caught the BYU game at the bar with my girlfriend, Jenny, and enjoyed watching my friends that I went to war with. I wasn't on the field with them this time, so I was seeing it from a different perspective, but I knew what was going on with them and that's cool.

They almost had that game and they shouldn't be down. If they played BYU again, I think they'd definitely win.

Coach Jones always has a talented group of receivers and they did a real good job.

Oh yeah, another really cool thing happened this week. Two families came all the way from Hawaii and were waiting in the lobby of the hotel to see me. I took some pictures with them and they brought me some pineapples and candy and all kinds of stuff from Hawaii.

I don't remember their names, and I don't even know if the two families were together, but I just wanted to say hello and thanks. That was cool.

Former University of Hawaii receiver Ashley Lelie
was selected in the first round by the Denver Broncos in
the NFL Draft. His diary will appear in the Star-Bulletin
each Tuesday following Sunday games.

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