Chad Kelly thanks Argos fans for support, promises better results following playoff exit

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Toronto Argonauts’ franchise quarterback Chad Kelly has vowed that his team will achieve better results in 2024 after squandering a 16-2 regular season record with an early playoff exit in the East Final.

“Argo Nation, thank you so much for your dedication and support this past football season,” he wrote in a statement on social media. “The 150th Anniversary season was one of the most memorable years that I’ve ever been a part of. I know the result was not what we all wanted, but I promise it will fuel myself, my teammates, and coaches, to give you a better result next year. Thank you for everything and Go Argos.”

The 29-year-old had a poor outing in the East Final on Saturday as he threw for 246 yards, one touchdown, and four interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns as part of a 38-17 upset loss to the Montreal Alouettes. He also carried the ball seven times for 58 yards and lost one fumble.

It was a shocking result as the Argonauts were favoured by a double-digit spread heading into the game and swept the regular season series against Montreal.

Despite the loss, one could argue it was still a positive season for the Argos. The club saw its regular season attendance increase by 20.5 percent, while ticket sales for the East Final spiked by 24.8 percent as attendance grew from 21,331 to 26,620. The game also drew a large television rating as the audience grew 43 percent from last year’s East Final, which featured the same two teams.

Kelly made a long-term commitment to Toronto this season, signing a three-year contract extension that made him the CFL’s highest-paid player. He will earn $615,000 next year, which is slightly more than Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ quarterback Zach Collaros.

The native of Buffalo, N.Y. completed 68.5 percent of his passes for 4,123 yards, 23 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions this season and carried the ball 41 times for 248 yards and eight scores. He went 15-1 as a starter during the regular season with the lone loss coming in a game he didn’t finish due to injury.

Kelly will be in Hamilton for the Grey Cup this week as he received the East Division’s nomination for Most Outstanding Player. Regardless of whether or not his team remains as dominant in 2024, he’s hoping that the Argos will be playing for the Grey Cup in Vancouver.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.