Before leading a touchdown drive that won the CFL title, Chad Kelly wasn’t sure if or when he would get another chance to play in the NFL.
In November, Toronto Argonauts starter McLeod Bethel-Thompson sustained a hand injury while his team trailed the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 23-17 in the Grey Cup final. The Argonauts eventually scored when Kelly, the nephew of Bills veteran Jim Kelly, stepped in and scooped up a second-and-15 with his feet. With a few more detours along the road, Toronto came out on top 24-23 and with the league title.
Kelly had to retain composure in the face of such a crucial time as she entered the game.
Kelly told The Post, “Of course, Mac had been amazing to me ever from the first day I joined.” I’ve picked up a lot from him. To let these people in the huddle know that I’ve been in this scenario, the emotions [outwardly] were as cool as possible. I’ve never been in that circumstance, however.
“I find it difficult to put my feelings into perspective. I just waited to see whether he would be OK. Not at all. Coach enquired as to my whereabouts. We’re fine, we’re good, I said. I was steady. That’s how we do business every time.
After excelling at Ole Miss, Kelly was selected by the Denver Broncos as the “Mr. Irrelevant” last choice in the 2017 NFL Draft. During the first part of the 2018 season, he served as Case Keenum’s backup in Denver. However, he was fired halfway through the year due to a criminal trespass charge. After exiting a Halloween party hosted by his teammate Von Miller, Kelly was chased out of a suburban Denver residence, leading to the arrest.
Kelly, 28, spent 2019 and 2020 alternating between the Colts’ active roster and practice squad until the latter year’s midseason dismissal.
Between being released by the Colts and joining the Argonauts in the early months of 2022, Kelly worked a number of occupations not related to football. In an effort to mix up the play-calling strategy, he coached offense at East Mississippi Community College (Last Chance U), where he attended college between Clemson and Ole Miss.
Kelly further contributed physically to the construction of weight rooms for Jimmy Wilder, a guy who had lately passed away after working in the industry for many years.
It included loading up a vehicle with all the necessary tools, including steel, plates, nuts, and bolts, he said. They [the customers] are going to say, “Wow, this is lovely,” when you fit everything together like a jigsaw and set it back up. The flooring were done. We would construct gyms for homes, colleges, and high schools. We’re talking about $500K in expenditures, and myself and another person are doing all the work ourselves.
He continued to practice for his next football opportunity throughout, but it was uncertain when that chance would really present itself.
He said, “I honestly didn’t know what I was going to do.” “I was attempting to make teams. Even though I was still receiving calls, nobody was making a move. I was grateful that I managed to remain alert both mentally and physically.
After completing a CFL season, Kelly said that he would welcome the opportunity to start in the CFL, XFL, or USFL wherever he plays next, barring a move to the NFL. After completing 26 of 45 passes for 297 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions in 18 games for the Argonauts this season, Kelly wants to return to the NFL. On the ground, he added 137 yards and six more touchdowns.
“I simply need to show off my skills, demonstrate what I can do, and take in the moment. I’m so grateful that I can still play football, he said.
Kelly said, “They have to invite me in, sit me down, and chat. That’s how I can persuade coaches I’m one of the 60-90 best quarterbacks in the world. You may consider anything I’ve ever done. It goes without saying that we won’t discuss it. I’m behind that. I don’t want to be recognized as that; it’s not who I am or who I want to be. I’ve changed for the better.
He proceeded by expressing his expectations for the NFL negotiations.
“Let’s discuss life. Let’s discuss football. Let me share all I know about the game I’ve been playing since I was born, Kelly remarked. “I was destined to be an NFL player. Since I was a little child, I’ve longed to see Uncle Jim’s playbooks. I was fortunate enough to be able to throw the ball 71 yards as a young child. When I was 12 or 13, I could analyze defenses. With [Eagles coach] Nick Sirianni, [ex-Colts coach] Frank Reich, [NFL assistants] Bill Musgrave and Mike McCoy, and others, I have attended meetings. Those names conjure images of incredibly wise football coaches.
“I simply want the opportunity to speak with these NFL coaches and let them know that I feel I can contribute in some way. I am confident in my aptitude. Although you could think I did foolish things, I’m not stupid. I really regret several of my choices and instances of self-sabotage, but I’ve learned from them. They may still dismiss me as the same youngster who acted like a fool if they don’t sense my sincerity in my voice and in my presence.