Backup quarterback Chad Kelly stunned the nation when he came off the bench to lead the Toronto Argonauts to victory in Grey Cup 109, but it seems the CFL league office was equally surprised by his sudden emergence.
In an interview with Barstool Sports’ popular Pardon My Take podcast this week, Kelly was asked how many adult beverages he consumed from the historic chalice and revealed that his post-game celebrations in the locker room were considerably delayed.
“Let me tell you all this, I didn’t even get to celebrate with the team for 15, 20 minutes after the game. You wanna know why? Because they wanted to drug test me,” Kelly said, receiving raucous laughter and disbelief from the hosts.
“I played 10 snaps and they drug test me. That’s not random.”
Kelly entered the 2022 CFL championship game in the fourth quarter after starter McLeod Bethel-Thompson was forced to the sideline with a dislocated thumb, completing four-of-six passes for 43 yards. He set up the game-winning touchdown with a memorable 20-yard scramble on second-and-15, steering his team to a 24-23 upset of the two-time defending champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
While the quarterback said he later drank two or three beers out of the Grey Cup, he wasn’t thrilled to be pulled away from the festivities for a supposedly randomized urine sample.
“I told the guy that was testing me, I said, ‘I’m gonna tweet about this.’ He’s like, ‘Oh man, don’t do that. Don’t do that,'” Kelly imitated, eliciting more laughter. “This ain’t random, baby.”
Podcast co-host Dan ‘Big Cat’ Katz dubbed the test a “reputation call,” referencing Kelly’s colourful history of non-football-related incidents. Off-the-field behavioural concerns saw the quarterback kicked out of Clemson as a freshman and fall to the final pick in the 2017 NFL Draft after a stellar career at Ole Miss, while an arrest for criminal trespassing led to his release from the Denver Broncos.
Those poor decisions eventually led to Kelly signing in Toronto, where he is expected to be in contention for the starting quarterback position next season. Known for his brash confidence, the 28-year-old CFL backup has raised eyebrows by saying he is better than half of all NFL starters.
“Obviously, there’s a lot of off-the-field stuff, right? We all know about it, it’s all been publicized. You stick a camera in a kid’s face at age eight years old and give him his own day, that’s predominately what’s going to happen is that the light’s gonna shine a little brighter when it’s good or bad,” he said, referencing the limelight that came with being the nephew of Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly.
“But I think people mistake my on-the-field capabilities of thinking clearly because they see that I do some dumb things off the field. So I think that with me saying 50 percent, I feel like I know the game a lot more than a lot of people because I started at such a young age and that’s all I knew.”
Whether Kelly’s suspiciously high talent level will result in true CFL stardom or a return to the NFL remains unknown. Either way, his name recognition is already attracting eyeballs in the US market, as evidenced by his post-Grey Cup appearance on one of the world’s most streamed sports podcasts.