Colts head coach on former Red Lion High QB: 'He's been a 10 out of 10' on and off field

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Chad Kelly runs for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Buffalo Bills, Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/David Dermer)
  • Former Red Lion High QB Chad Kelly is a quarterback with the Indianapolis Colts.
  • The talented Kelly has experienced a troubled career, on and off the field.
  • Colts coach Frank Reich recently praised Kelly for his work on and off the field.
Chad Kelly

The Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback room has a new look with the signing of starter Phillip Rivers and the drafting of Jacob Eason in the fourth round.

They join last year’s starter, Jacoby Brissett, and former Red Lion High School product Chad Kelly.

“I cannot tell you how happy we are with Chad,” Colts coach Frank Reich said on the Rich Eisen Show when asked about Kelly. “He’s progressed a lot as a quarterback. He really works hard at it.”

Eisen said he would never hear the end of it from Chad’s uncle, Jim, if he didn’t ask about him.

“I am as close to Jim as anybody and I know the Kelly clan really well and Chad is a true Kelly,” Reich said. “If you’re a Kelly, that’s a guy you want in the bunker with you. He knows how to fight. He’s a good teammate. He has worked with Phil Simms. He’s really worked hard at his craft and continuing to improve. We’ll have four (quarterbacks) in camp. It’s going to be really competitive. We like that.”

The talented Kelly signed with the Colts last May after a tryout and was with the Colts through the spring, training camp and the preseason. He was suspended for the first two games of the season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy stemming from a guilty plea for second-degree trespassing when he was with the Denver Broncos.

Kelly was waived when he returned to the Colts and signed to the practice squad in mid-September. He was promoted to the 53-man roster in November but did not play.

The Colts will have a decision to make in terms of how many quarterbacks they carry. If they carry two and attempt to put Kelly and/or Eason on the practice squad, the players could be claimed by another team.

Kelly’s opportunity with the Colts came after a call between Reich and Jim Kelly.

“Everybody knows Chad has had one or two issues off the field that put him on the outside,” Reich said. “Jim called me up and said, ‘Hey Frank, he just needs a chance.” We talked through (in the Colts’ front office). We brought Chad in and Chris Ballard and I sat him down and said, ‘Hey, this is it. You’ve got to do right on and off the field.’

“Chad Kelly off the field has been as good as anybody I’ve been around. He’s been a 10 out of 10, off the field as well as on the field. I’m excited for him.”

Kelly has endured a number of problems, on and off the field, dating back to his high school days at Red Lion. He was the starting QB at Red Lion during both his freshman and sophomore seasons, only to get suspended from the team each season.

After his sophomore season, Kelly's family moved to the Buffalo area, where Kelly became a high school All-American. He earned a scholarship to Clemson, only to get suspended from the Tigers' team, before eventually excelling for Mississippi.

Kelly was also a national Punt, Pass & Kick champion during his days in York County.