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OXFORD, Miss. – Throughout his time at Ole Miss, and now as he prepares for the upcoming NFL Draft, Chad Kelly has worked hard on the maturation of his game—as well as that of his personal life.
Though he is still asked questions about his past, the former Rebel quarterback does not shy away from answering them and hopes to show pro scouts he’s grown up along the way. Kelly, who turned 23 last week, feels he must be more mature than in the past so he can continue to be a role model for his younger brother, Casey Kelly.
“Me and my brother talk all the time,” Kelly said at Monday’s Ole Miss Pro Day. “He had 10 kids trying to fight him, talking crap about me, and he was mature enough to walk away from that situation, and not get involved in that,” the Buffalo, New York native said.
On Monday afternoon in Oxford, Kelly was matter-of-fact in explaining the importance of extricating himself from those types of situations in the future.
“If my 16-year-old brother is able to walk away from situations, then I should able to if I’m 23-years-old,” Kelly said.
During his rehabilitation from a torn anterior cruciate ligament and while he navigates the draft process, Kelly has continued to mature. Along the way, he has learned to have patience and keep the faith.
Once Chad Kelly became an Ole Miss Rebel, he worked hard to stay out of trouble, finishing his 22-game Ole Miss career as the holder of 25 school records. Despite only playing in nine of the team’s 12 games last season due to his ACL injury, Kelly still finished second in the Southeastern Conference in QBR (147.37), and was one of the top five passers in the league, logging 2,758 yards through the air.
Kelly, just five months removed from his season-ending anterior cruciate ligament injury, was cleared to participate in drills at the NFL Combine, but was denied an invitation to the event that ran February 28-March 6. He patiently waited an entire month to have the opportunity to participate in drills in front of the 48 scouts from the 32 NFL teams at Ole Miss Pro Day.
Unfortunately, Kelly, who looked sharp in opening drills, aggravated his throwing wrist while trying to complete a pass Monday and was forced to sit out the remainder of the day. “It happened earlier last week,” said Kelly, who wasn’t down about the injury.
“I tried pushing through it this whole week. It felt good. I threw one, turned my wrist over, and it felt weird. I threw it in the flat, and it didn’t feel the same.”
Former Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly on wrist injury at Pro Day
In some good news, however, Kelly will still have a chance to throw for pro scouts on April 22, five days before the NFL Draft. He said he doesn’t care what NFL team drafts him—or even in what round he is selected. He just wants to play football.
“…I really don’t care. I just want an opportunity to show what I can do.”
Injury and adversity have helped Kelly grow into a future NFL player, and he vows to continue working hard to be successful at the next level.
“I take every day one step at a time. Try to get my knee better, try to be mentally there all the way, and not have to think about outside factors. So, every day I’m just trying to get to work, and do the best I can.”
That attitude, one could argue, is the very essence of maturity.
(Feature image credit: Butch Gill, Getty Images)
Courtney is from Memphis and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Memphis in May of 2014. He began his journalism career covering the Memphis Tigers Men’s basketball team, which landed him an intern position on 730 Yahoo Sports Radio and a position with Rivals.com. A freelance writer for the Associated Press, Courtney is also a member of The Rebel Walk team and reports regularly on Ole Miss football and basketball. Courtney, the father of a six-year old girl named Soniyah, prefers to cover NCAA basketball and football, but is happy to report on any other sport that comes his way.