ALLEN PARK, Mich. Since leading Boise State to 50 victories in four years to become college footballs all-time winningest quarterback, all Kellen Moore has heard is that he doesnt have the arm strength, height or athleticism to play in the NFL.
His mission to prove otherwise began Friday afternoon when Moore, an undrafted free agent, took part in the Detroit Lions rookie mini-camp.
For the first time since he started playing football in the third grade, Moore wasnt wearing No. 11 on the field.
He chose that number as a kid because his favorite player on his fathers high-school team wore it, but 11 is taken by receiver Stefan Logan on the Lions. So Moore wore No. 17.
It should have been No. 256.
Why? Because there were 255 players selected in the NFL Draft, and he wasnt one of them.
Shortly after that snub, Moore vowed that there would be no quarterback more motivated than him.
Thats kind of past us, he said when asked Friday about what he has to prove since not being drafted. That really doesnt affect anything anymore. Bottom line is if you get an opportunity, youve just got to take advantage of it.
Obviously, like any kid, your dream certainly is to be drafted. Things happen for a reason. Things come in goofy ways.
Besides piling up all those victories at Boise, Moore completed 69.8 percent of his passes for 14,667 yards and 142 touchdowns with only 28 interceptions. He finished in the top-10 in the Heisman Trophy voting three times, including a fourth-place finish in 2010.
Moore is considered a highly intelligent player with very good passing accuracy - exactly what youd expect from a coachs son. His father, Tom, won four state championships at Prosser (Wash.) High School.
But when it came time to pick Moore in the NFLs seven-round draft, none of the 32 teams pulled the trigger.
Some analysts have suggested that he has no chance to become a starter in the league because hes a little shorter than 6-foot, doesnt have the strongest arm and doesnt run that well.
Basically, Moore is just a player. He just completes passes. He just competes. He just wins.
At least thats who he was in college.
Obviously, there are many who question (seriously doubt) whether his skills will translate to pro football.
Moore is here to show otherwise.
Its nice to get out there finally, he said after practicing. Were done with that whole scouting and combine process and now you can just play football, which is obviously what we love to do.
Moore wasnt biting when reporters tried to get him to admit exactly how he felt about not getting drafted, and all the criticism he heard during the process leading up to the draft.
He said he had shifted his focus to signing as a free agent even before the draft ended.
Fortunately, wed kind of had some discussions, figured out we had a great opportunity up here in Detroit, was very excited about that by that time, said Moore, who also considered free-agent offers from St. Louis and San Diego.
I kind of quit watching (the draft) toward the end. We were more doing phone conversations, just sorting it all out.
Moore had a connection with the Lions. Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan grew up in Sunnyside, Wash., about 15 miles from Moores hometown.
Linehan is familiar with Moores father through the coaching circles.
They know each other, just a little bit, Moore said.
Lions coach Jim Schwartz said hes impressed with Moores resume.
He had a lot of success, Schwartz said. Those werent 50 wins against inferior opponents. Hes gone on the road and beat some big-time teams (including Georgia and Virginia Tech).
Hes been consistent over that period of time. There were a lot of things we liked about him. When the opportunity arose, we really werent in the quarterback market so to speak, but his talent was there. We think hell fit in well with us.
The Lions have an opening for a third-string quarterback behind Matthew Stafford and Shaun Hill after losing Drew Stanton in free agency.
Schwartz, however, wouldnt commit Friday to keeping three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster.
Well see how it shakes, Schwartz said. Were going to keep our best 53 players when we get out of training camp (in JulyAugust).
Last year we kept three. That doesnt mean well keep three this year. It doesnt mean well keep two. Its really dependent on how it goes and who earns a spot on the 53-man roster.
Once hes finished playing, Moore plans to get into coaching, just like his dad.
But, first, he plans to show all those critics that theyre dead wrong about him as a player.
Cornerback Bill Bentley, the Lions third-round pick, signed a four-year deal shortly before taking the field.
Of the Lions eight draft picks, only offensive tackle Riley Reiff, their first-round selection, remains unsigned.
Reiff, however, is still participating in the mini-camp.
I dont worry about that stuff, Reiff said of the contract negotiations. It will get taken care of. The sooner, the better.
Receiver Ryan Broyles, a second-round pick, attended practice but will not take part in the three-day mini-camp.
Broyles is still recovering from surgery about six months ago for a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
Hes not ready to do any of this stuff yet, but he is working very well, Schwartz said. Hes better than when we saw him on his pro day. Hell be better tomorrow than he is today.
Hes had a very, very good rehab, has made good progress. But he wont be competing in any of this stuff.