Chad Kelly is ready for his shot as a full-time starting quarterback


Last November, the Toronto Argonauts were able to claim the 109th Grey Cup thanks to their backup quarterback Chad Kelly coming off the bench to lead the team to the championship. With a new season on the horizon, Kelly is hoping to assume the starter’s role on a full-time basis in 2023.

The Argos quarterback was a guest on the SportsCage with Michael Ball earlier this week.

Kelly is currently the only quarterback on the Argonauts roster with experience in the Canadian Football League. McLeod Bethel-Thompson was the starter for the double blue in 2022 and was able to move to fourth place in the franchise’s history for all-time passing yards. Bethel-Thompson’s contract with Toronto will expire on February 14 when free agency in the CFL begins. There has been speculation that the 34-year-old will step away from the game. Kelly believes that Bethel-Thompson still has the desire to play the game.

“I don’t see why he wouldn’t want to come back and play. ”

There wasn’t much time for the 28-year-old to react during the Grey Cup. Bethel-Thompson suffered a dislocated thumb during the game. Shortly afterwards, the Argos forced a quick turnover which pressed Kelly into duty.

“I just run out on to the field as if here we go it’s just practice. I mean that’s how you have to approach a game and can’t look at the moment too big, just got to be even keeled.”

It remains to be seen what kind of competition awaits Kelly to be a starting quarterback this spring, but the final pick of the 2017 NFL Draft is ready to prove that he can be relevant and become a full-time starter. When asked by Ball if he is ready to be a starter this season, the former Ole Miss QB did not hesitate.

“1000 per cent. Am I ready? I am ready.”

Besides winning his first professional championship in Regina, there are other connections between Kelly and Saskatchewan. Newly appointed Roughriders offensive assistant, Naaman Roosevelt is someone that the quarterback has been familiar with for quite some time as both athletes attended the same high school.

Roosevelt was a big reason that Kelly decided to head to CFL.

“I look up to Naaman, I think highly of him.”

The quarterback added that the Riders offensive assistant assured him his skills would translate to the Canadian game.

“He’s like, man you’ve got the arm to make every single throw, imagine guys running full speed at the line of scrimmage and DBs sitting back eight yards from the line of scrimmage.”

Kelly said the way Roosevelt explained it to him it would be a natural transition for him to head north of the border.

Disciplinary issues have plagued the quarterback’s career. In 2014, he was dismissed from Clemson University due to conduct detrimental to the team. In March of 2019, he pled guilty to misdemeanour second-degree criminal trespassing for an incident following a Halloween party at teammate Von Miller’s house. Kelly says he’s learned from his previous mistakes and gives a lot of credit to his uncle, Jim, who was a legendary quarterback with the Buffalo Bills when he led the team to four straight appearances in the Super Bowl.

The younger Kelly says the former Bills quarterback gave him some valuable advice.

“I probably didn’t listen to him as much as I should’ve to say the least.” laughed the Argos QB but added that his uncle told him not to get discouraged and to keep working hard.

With aspirations of returning to the biggest stage in the game, Kelly is looking forward to showing what he can do north of the border before he can return down south.


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