While Chad Kelly‘s disappointing 2016 season and the ACL tear that ended it likely played a part in his slide to the bottom of the draft, his off-field and character concerns undoubtedly were a significant factor as well.
Now, after Chad was selected with the final pick of the draft by the Denver Broncos, Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly believes his nephew knows what it will take for him to be successful in the NFL.
“I told Chad, ‘Don’t worry about going in there and thinking you’re going to compete for that starting job,'” Jim told ESPN’s Mike Rodak on Thursday. “The bottom line is, you gotta go there and get healthy, learn the system and be humble. And I think he’s finally got it. He understands that.”
Chad was dismissed from Clemson in 2014 over disagreements with the coaching staff, and he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in 2015. The latter incident caused him to be banned from the NFL Scouting Combine.
He also entered the field of a high school football game in Buffalo last October when a fight involving his younger brother erupted.
“He wasn’t involved in no brawl,” Jim said. “But people have to put that as a headline, ‘Chad Kelly involved in a brawl.’ He goes, ‘Uncle Jim, I saw my little brother getting kicked. What do you want me to do, stand there and watch?’ He said, ‘I wasn’t doing anything wrong, I was just trying to get him off the bottom of the pile at a high school football game.'”
While many still question Chad’s maturity, Jim believes the young pivot has a work ethic that easily eclipses his own.
“The main thing, the kid threw 25,000 passes in his life, and his 50 most important passes (at his pro day), he hurts his wrist,” Jim said Thursday. “But when you have the work ethic like he does, I never had that. I mean, I had fun, I worked my tail off, but this kid is just off the charts.
“I said, ‘Just go in there, focus on learning the playbook, focus on what it takes to be a professional, and let us handle all the other stuff, Chad.’ He finally gets it. I’m excited for him. I really am.”
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