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Broncos hire Kelly Kleine as executive director of football operations

An NFL trailblazer has reached a new height in her career.

The Denver Broncos have hired Kelly Kleine as their executive director of football operations and special advisor to the general manager, the team announced Monday.

Kleine follows new Broncos general manager George Paton from Minnesota, where she spent the last decade with the Vikings and last nine years in Minnesota's scouting department while working under Paton. Kleine rose from public relations intern to manager of player personnel and college scout with the Vikings, covering the Midwest region for the Vikings while also serving as the point person for all off-site scouts, handling scheduling and facilitation of pre-draft visits and coordinating Minnesota's efforts at all-star games and the NFL Scouting Combine along the way.

She is believed to be the highest-ranking woman in scouting in the history of the NFL.

"Kelly is a rising star in the NFL, and we're fortunate to add someone of her caliber to the Denver Broncos," Paton said in a statement from the team. "Having worked with her for nine years in Minnesota, Kelly has a strong understanding of all aspects of football operations and player evaluation along with outstanding leadership qualities. She will be a tremendous resource with her experience on the pro and college sides as well as her knowledge of our grading scale and football calendar."

Kleine spoke with NFL Network's Omar Ruiz for a March segment during Women's History Month in which she described her rise through the scouting ranks and her duties with the Vikings, telling Ruiz she especially enjoyed doing the in-depth work associated with getting to know college prospects ahead of the draft beyond their on-field capabilities.

Kleine's transition to Denver should be seamless, as she'll be joining a front office run in the same fashion as Minnesota's during Paton's time there. Like Paton's ascension to the role of general manager with the Broncos, Kleine takes on a greater role in Denver, setting a new standard for women in scouting in the NFL

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