"I was surprised as you could be," he said. "I was on the golf course on Tuesday and I'm in St. Louis on Thursday."
It didn't take long for the 26-year-old linebacker out of BYU to find a new home. The Rams were one of three teams to put in a claim on him, along with the Chicago Bears and Jacksonville Jaguars, but were awarded Kehl based on having the worst record a year ago.
"That was good to hear and good to know," Kehl said of having three teams try to claim him. "You definitely want to be wanted. That was encouraging. I was excited. I'd been in New York for a couple years and I thought I had played very well. I led the team in special teams tackles last year and was on pace to do that again this year. So hopefully I'll just look for an opportunity to do the same thing here and if they let me play on defense then the same thing, I'm going to go out there and have production."
Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo was Kehl's defensive coordinator with the Giants during the linebacker's rookie season.
"Bryan's a guy I'm familiar with," Spagnuolo said. "He's an athletic linebacker. He'll probably be a little bit familiar with the system, although that's two years removed so I'm sure some of it will be new and different. He'll have to get the speed course here in the next two days."
The Rams needed another linebacker after Chris Chamberlain suffered a toe injury in the season opener and rookie Josh Hull tore his ACL earlier this week in practice. Both were also special teams contributors, which is something Kehl had success with while playing for the Giants.
Kehl was credited with three special teams tackles on Sunday for the Giants and will likely be on the field in Oakland this Sunday playing special teams for the Rams.
The BYU product was excited to join a new team this week and get a fresh start while also seeing some familiar faces in Spagnuolo and some of his former Giants teammates.
"You never know what's going to happen and it's a crazy couple days and then you get the call to come down here," Kehl said. "That was definitely one of the best things about it. Right now I would be learning a new defense somewhere. Really all it is is just learning a couple new terms and things like that, but other than that it's pretty much the same from what I remember my rookie year."
When he walked into the locker room on Thursday, Kehl saw several familiar faces like Fred Robbins, Kevin Dockery, James Butler, Craig Dahl, David Vobora and Darcy Johnson. All are former Giants except for Vobora, a linebacker who Kehl trained with while preparing for the draft.
"I could have gone into a totally foreign locker room today anywhere in the NFL and not seen any familiar faces," Kehl said. "So it was nice to come in and see all those guys that I know already. That helps big-time."
Kehl will also have a chance to show what he can do after the injuries to Chamberlain and Hull this week.
"That's why I was kind of excited for a fresh start to come here and hopefully compete, not just on special teams but also at linebacker too," he said. "Guys got banged up so hopefully they can have some confidence in me that I can also get the job done."
ST. LOUIS — Bryan Kehl was on the golf course on Tuesday when he got the phone call that he had been released from the New York Giants after two full seasons and one week this year.