NFL setting a precedent? Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly not invited to the Combine
The NFL appears to be taking a hard stance against players with questionable character decisions in their background with players like Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon and Ole Miss receiver Damore’ea Stringfellow not receiving invites to the latest NFL Combine. It appears another player will be joining that list as Stringfellow’s teammate Chad Kelly has also not been extended an offer.
The full list of NFL Combine invitees can be found here. Judging by this tweet from Chase Goodbread of NFL Media, it appears Kelly recently anticipated making an appearance at the Combine.
#OleMiss QB Chad Kelly not invited to combine. Told me he hoped to be ready to throw there at Senior Bowl, so I don't think he expected it.
— Chase Goodbread (@ChaseGoodbread) February 15, 2017
I'm told by NFL team sources that Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly was not invited to the NFL combine based on off-field issues.
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) February 15, 2017
Kelly has certainly had his issues in the past, but his actions are far less severe than Mixon’s or Stringfellow’s – both of whom struck a woman during their college careers. Kelly’s misdeeds, on the other hand, were far more juvenile in nature.
If you are unaware of his past, Kelly was booted from Clemson’s football program following a tantrum he threw during a spring practice. Security had to remove him from the field and Dabo Swinney immediately announced he would be leaving the team. Just before arriving in Oxford, Kelly again ran into trouble in a Buffalo nightclub. After being removed from the club, he allegedly said he would be returning with a machine gun. This season, Kelly made headlines for running onto a high school field during a game as his brother, a player in the game, was being mobbed by opposing players. Kelly again made the news when he was photographed played cards with what appeared to be a bag of marijuana on the table.
Considering his family pedigree, his uncle Jim Kelly is in the NFL Hall of Fame after his stellar career for the Buffalo Bills, it’s odd to see the NFL taking this stance against the Ole Miss quarterback. While his injury could be factoring into the decision, the Combine is an event where every NFL team will have a chance to meet and discuss his history in an intimate setting. The medical exams done at the Combine could also be important for Kelly, as NFL teams considering drafting him will need to know the severity of his injury and the extent of his recovery to this point.
Taking into account the fact that Kelly is one of the more explosive quarterbacks in recent SEC history, this decision is fairly shocking. In only two seasons of play at Ole Miss, one of which was cut short by injury, Kelly threw for 6,800 yards, 50 touchdowns to 21 interceptions. Also a threat on the ground, Kelly had 841 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns during that span.
The goal of rehabbing his image just got tougher for Kelly but perhaps this action will be the wake up call the quarterback needed to finally put his issues behind him for good.