Former Red Lion High School quarterback pleads guilty to trespassing

The Denver Post (TNS)
Chad Kelly

Former Denver Broncos backup quarterback Chad Kelly pleaded guilty Wednesday morning to misdemeanor second-degree criminal trespassing in Arapahoe County District Court.

The former Red Lion High School quarterback was sentenced to one year of supervised probation and 50 hours of community service during a brief hearing with little fanfare. The judge allowed for probation to be transferred to Kelly's home state of New York or in another state where he lives, as approved by the probation department.

The first-degree felony first-degree criminal trespassing charge was dropped as part of the plea agreement.

The 24-year-old was released from the Broncos after his arrest on Oct. 23 and has not found another NFL job.

Kelly was attending an annual Halloween party at the Gothic Theatre hosted by the Broncos' Von Miller on the night of his arrest. He entered a couple's Englewood home after 1 a.m., sat on their couch and mumbled incoherently, according to arrest documents. The man in the home attacked Kelly with an aluminum vacuum-cleaner tube.

Police later found Kelly two blocks from the Halloween party, according to the documents. The couple provided surveillance footage to police. That video footage was released for the first time Wednesday.

Not a hard decision: Kelly's defense attorney Harvey Steinberg said in the hearing that the decision to accept the plea and not take the case to trial was a difficult one.

The former player has friends in the neighborhood of the home he entered, Steinberg said, and he thought he was at one of their houses. Kelly knocked on the back door of the home and thought he heard someone say "come in," so he entered, Steinberg said. He sat on the couch, and though he didn't recognize the woman already sitting there, he thought she was a guest of the tenants, Steinberg said.

Ultimately, they decided the plea agreement was the best way to proceed, he said.

Kelly will also be subject to drug and alcohol testing and treatment, as defined by probation, and will have to pay fines and fees as well as any restitution accepted by the court.

In the 2017 NFL draft, the Broncos selected Kelly as the final pick. He made one play for the Broncos, a kneel-down snap ending the first half of a game against the Los Angeles Rams. Since being released by the Broncos, no other team has shown interest in hiring the younger Kelly.

Troubled history: In his days in York County, Kelly gained notoriety as a national Punt, Pass and Kick champion as a youngster. At Red Lion High School, Kelly was the Lions' starting QB during both his freshman and sophomore seasons, but was suspended from the team each season. He and his family then moved to the Buffalo area, where he became a high school All-American.

Though this is the first time Kelly has been in trouble off the field since joining the Broncos, he was kicked off the Clemson University team in 2014 for an argument with coaches during the spring game, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for a bar fight in 2014, and in October 2016, was involved in a brawl at his brother's high school football game, according to the Associated Press.

The AP reported that Kelly attended the Senior Bowl during his final season at Ole Miss, despite injuries, to talk to NFL teams and explain that he'd learned from his off-field mistakes and "won't make the same mistake twice."

Kelly is the nephew of Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly.