BUFFALO, N.Y. — Mississippi quarterback Chad Kelly’s past troubles are the reasons the NFL revoked his invitation to the league’s scouting combine.
A person familiar with the league’s decision told The Associated Press that the former Red Lion High School quarterback is barred from participating in the event because of charges stemming from a fight outside a Buffalo nightclub and for being dismissed by Clemson. Both incidents happened in 2014.
The person spoke to The AP on the condition of anonymity on Thursday because the NFL has not revealed the reason Kelly was not included on the list of participants released by the league a day earlier.
The decision to exclude Kelly is based on a memo the league issued to teams on Jan. 18 outlining reasons draft-eligible prospects will not be permitted to participate in the weeklong combine in Indianapolis that opens Feb. 28. The memo says prospects will be excluded if background checks reveal past convictions for violent or sexual offenses, or if they were dismissed by their school or the NCAA.
In April 2014, Kelly was kicked out of Clemson following a sideline argument with coaches. In January 2015, Kelly pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct as part of an agreement stemming from a fight with two nightclub bouncers.
Kelly's troubled past dates back to at least his high school days. He started at quarterback for Red Lion during both his freshman and sophomore seasons. He was dismissed from the team during both seasons. After his sophomore season at Red Lion, Kelly and his family moved to the Buffalo area, where he became a scholastic All-American. He eventually landed a scholarship from Clemson.
Kelly’s representatives told Buffalo’s 1270 Radio on Wednesday their client was invited to the combine on Jan. 6.
Another prospect not invited to the combine is Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon, who was suspended for the 2014 season after punching a woman in the face.
Kelly is the nephew of Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly.
He spent the past two seasons at Ole Miss. Last year, Kelly was leading the SEC with 2,758 yards passing before sustaining a season-ending right knee injury.
One of Kelly’s representatives, Vance McAllister, said he’s received no explanation from the NFL for its change of course. He also defended Kelly in noting the charges stemming from the nightclub fight were dismissed after the player completed the terms of the plea agreement by performing 50 hours of community service.
“By no means at all are we trying to say Chad didn’t have some issues off the field that aren’t to be in question,” McAllister said. “And we’ve been questioned by multiple NFL teams on multiple occasions about these incidents. But what we want to know is why all of a sudden now does the NFL feel Chad is not material to be at the combine?”
Kelly was initially charged with resisting arrest, second-degree menacing with a weapon, second-degree harassment and third-degree assault. Though no weapon was found, Kelly allegedly threatened nightclub staff by saying: “I’m going to go to my car and get my AK47 and spray this place.”
Last October, Kelly wasn’t charged but was involved in an on-field scuffle that erupted during his brother’s high school game in Buffalo.
McAllister said he intends to have his client travel to the combine because Kelly booked a flight to Indianapolis after receiving the initial invitation.
“Until we get a written disinvite or whatever you want to call if from the league, we’ll be in Indy,” he said. “We’ll show up and they’ll have to tell Chad ‘no’ then because they’ve obviously not willing to put it in writing to tell Chad ‘no’ now.”
Though barred from the combine, Kelly can still meet with NFL teams individually and take part in Mississippi’s pro day, which is scheduled for April 3.