Kellett boots bad days aside

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:02 AM ET

Matt Kellett didn't make a big deal about his field goal that won Friday's game over Montreal.

While his Renegades teammates mobbed the kicker after watching him split the uprights from 14 yards out to seal a 39-36 victory in overtime over the Alouettes, Kellett downplayed the accomplishment when speaking about it after the game.

You'd think he'd display more excited after what had happened, scoring the clinching points against his former team.

And don't forget the fact he endured tons of scrutiny during training camp for his well-documented vision problems, and after he missed two field goals in the season opener in Edmonton.

But, no, Kellett wasn't interested in getting excited --or down, for that matter.

It's all part of a mindset that doesn't have room for those sorts of emotions.

"Maybe if it was an elimination or playoff type of thing, maybe I'd feel a little bit different about it," he said, "but you can't put too much pressure on these types of games or too much stresses on playing different teams."

The 32-year-old Kellett is playing in his sixth CFL season and has already experienced a full spectrum of emotions.

ROUGH START

Early in his career, things didn't go well.

After starting with Edmonton in 1999, he signed with the B.C. Lions as a free agent and arrived on the west coast in 2001 as the kicker who replaced Lui Passaglia.

But Kellett describes his two seasons in Vancouver as "troubling."

He hit on 56-of-85 field goals, and Lions fans, who had grown accustomed to Passaglia's consistency, often booed him out of B.C. Place.

Kellett can laugh at it now when he remembers those difficult times, but it wasn't funny then.

"I just got too low, and I took things way too seriously," said Kellett, who often thought about retiring after bad performances with the Lions.

But he began working with a sports psychologist to improve the mental part of his game.

"I took those times to heart, and I shouldn't have," he said. "That's why now I try to take my highs and level them off, and take my lows and level them off."

The Lions released Kellett during training camp two years ago, but the Alouettes signed him.

Kellett spent two seasons in Montreal before being traded to the Renegades in April for a first-round selection on Canadian draft day.

Halfway through last season, Kellett endured yet another wrinkle in his career when he began to get double vision in his right eye.

He wore a patch over the eye during some games, and wore eyeglasses in others.

The vision problems were back during training camp with the Renegades, and continue to bother Kellett during practices and games.

In the season opener in Edmonton, Kellett missed field goal attempts from 44 and 32 yards, so he had pressure to perform in Friday's home opener against the Als.

PERFECT NIGHT

He came through with a perfect game, hitting all four field goal attempts, including a 41 yarder in the first quarter, a 32 yarder that tied the game on the final play of regulation, and chip shots from 12 and 14 yards in overtime, the latter in extra time giving Ottawa the victory.

"I think he knew he had to perform," Renegades coach Joe Paopao said.

"The indicators are that he can kick. He's trying to fight through some stuff, but he's going to have to be consistent."

For Kellett, that means being consistent both physically -- and mentally.

"I've just got to try to stay level-headed," he said. "If you don't, then you just get yourself into a whole lot of mind battles with yourself, and those are tough to get out of sometimes."


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