Former Clemson quarterback Chad Kelly apologized for his behavior with the Tigers and believes he can learn from the experience.
Kelly issued a statement Wednesday through his uncle, Dan Kelly, the vice president of Jim Kelly Inc. Chad Kelly is the nephew of former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly.
The younger Kelly was dismissed from the team Monday by Clemson coach Dabo Swinney for a pattern of conduct detrimental to the team.
“I let down not only my coaches, and teammates, but also Clemson University and all of our fans,” Kelly said. “Most importantly, I've let down myself and my family.”
Kelly, who would've been a third-year sophomore this fall, was in a three-way race in spring workouts with rising senior Cole Stoudt and true freshman Deshaun Watson to take over for three-year starter Tajh Boyd.
But Kelly threw a pair of interceptions and was not crisp at the Orange-and-White game Saturday that concludes spring drills. At one point, Kelly's frustrations boiled over and he argued with coaches on the sideline. He was benched for the second half.
There was also an incident last week when Kelly was riding in a car that accidently backed into the vehicle of former Miss South Carolina Ali Rogers, who has worked with the Tigers football team in the past.
Rogers said Kelly tried to get her to not file a police report and became agitated and disrespectful toward her.
The last straw came Monday at Kelly's meeting with Swinney where he reacted harshly to news that the more experienced Stoudt would head into fall practice as the starter.
“He has had a pattern of behavior that is not consistent with the values of our program,” Swinney said in dismissing Kelly.
When reached Wednesday, Swinney said he was proud of Kelly for apologizing and taking ownership of his actions.
“Hopefully, this will help him grow so he becomes the special person and player I know he can be,” Swinney said.
Kelly, 20, acknowledged Tuesday that he didn't handle himself the way he should, saying he was “competitive to a fault, winning at all costs.”
He said he should've kept cool and calmly dealt with setbacks.
“I let my emotions get the best of me, culminating in this unfortunate situation with coach Swinney and the Clemson Tigers,” Kelly said. “What's most important now is that I use this experience to grow as a student, as an athlete and most importantly, as a man.”
Kelly was expected to finish out the semester at Clemson before deciding where to continue playing football.
The 6-foot-3, 209-pound Kelly signed with the Tigers in February 2012, choosing Clemson over offers from Alabama, Florida State, Michigan State and Purdue. Kelly tore the ACL in his left knee at the 2013 spring game, yet returned in time for the season to play in five games.
He was 10-of-17 passing for 58 yards. He rushed 16 times for 117 yards and a touchdown.
“It's not going to be easy, but no matter what happens, I'll be a better person both on and off the field,” Kelly said.
Swinney was grateful for Kelly's words and wished him well.
“I will be his biggest fan,” the coach said.