Mississippi signee QB Chad Kelly agrees to plea deal following nightclub fight
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Mississippi quarterback signee Chad Kelly pleaded guilty Monday to a non-criminal charge of disorderly conduct and agreed to 50 hours of community service following a fight with bouncers outside a Buffalo nightclub last month that continues to cloud his status with Ole Miss.
Kelly also has sent a written apology to the Buffalo Police Department, whose officers charged him with resisting arrest, menacing and several other counts following the early morning altercation Dec. 21.
”His conduct could have been more mature,” Kelly’s attorney, Thomas Eoannou, said after a City Court judge accepted the terms of a plea agreement offered by prosecutors and agreed to dismiss criminal charges against him.
Kelly, the 20-year-old nephew of Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, declined to speak with reporters.
Although Eoannou said he’d been in constant contact with Ole Miss and that Kelly’s scholarship and ability to play football ”should be fine,” coach Hugh Freeze told The Associated Press on Monday he had yet to decide Kelly’s status with the program. The arrest occurred days after Kelly had signed a commitment to play.
Freeze said he would have a discussion with the family ”in the next few days” to determine the quarterback’s future with the program.
Kelly was expected to be on campus in the next day or two, Eoannou said.
Kelly, who grew up in nearby Niagara Falls, and a male companion were arrested shortly after 3 a.m. Police said they attempted to re-enter the club after being ejected earlier in the night.
According to the police report, Kelly traded punches with two bouncers before telling them, ”I’m going to go to my car and get my AK47 and spray this place.”
Eoannou said video contradicted the account and did not include the weapons comment, which he said was told to officers secondhand.
In April, Kelly was kicked off the Clemson football team for what was said to be detrimental conduct. That happened two days after he was benched during a spring game for disagreeing with coaches over strategy on a fourth down.
Kelly enrolled at East Mississippi Community College, where he led the school to win the National Junior College Athletic Association title this month.
”My assessment is he’s a good kid. He’s highly competitive. He’s highly emotional,” Eoannou said, ”and he needs to learn to shut that off when he’s not on the football field.”
Kelly, who also must undergo a court-ordered evaluation to determine whether drug or alcohol counseling is needed, will be allowed to perform his community service in Mississippi, likely at a church or with the Salvation Army, his lawyer said. Judge Susan Eagan ordered him to report back to Buffalo March 9 to prove he has completed it. If not, he will face 15 days in jail.