Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly heading to Senior Bowl, won’t play

Published 3:53 pm Monday, December 5, 2016

Chad Kelly won’t get to show his stuff on the field at the Senior Bowl, but the former Ole Miss quarterback will get another chance to answer questions about what he’s done off it as he prepares for next year’s NFL Draft.

Kelly was one of 20 players added to the Senior Bowl roster Monday. The knee injury Kelly suffered in November will prevent him from playing in front of NFL personnel on Jan. 28 in Mobile, Alabama, but he will be available to participate in media events during the week. Practice for the Senior Bowl begins Jan. 23.

Kelly joins tight end Evan Engram as Ole Miss’ Senior Bowl representatives so far. Widely considered a mid-round selection before the injury, Kelly is now projected by NFL.com to go in the final round of April’s draft if he’s drafted at all.

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Talent isn’t the issue for the strong-armed Kelly, who set 25 school records at Ole Miss and was the Southeastern Conference’s leading passer before a torn ACL and meniscus against Georgia Southern on Nov. 5 ended his collegiate career. He finished his two seasons at Ole Miss accounting for 7,632 yards of offense and 65 touchdowns.

He’ll have to try to convince teams of his durability and maturity. Kelly is recovering from his second ACL tear, the first coming while at Clemson before being dismissed from the team in the spring of 2014 for bad behavior.

He landed at East Mississippi Community College and eventually Ole Miss despite being arrested in his hometown of Buffalo, New York less than a week after signing with the Rebels in December 2014. A couple of weeks after his most recent injury, a social media photo of Kelly appearing to handle marijuana went viral on the Internet.

During Ole Miss’ bye week in October, Kelly had to be restrained when he ran on the field during his younger brother’s high school game after a benches-clearing scuffle broke out as a result of Kelly’s brother, Casey, being on the receiving end of a late hit out of bounds. Kelly apologized for running onto the field afterwards and was not disciplined.