Former St. Joe's star Chad Kelly, who was dismissed from the Clemson football team early this week, issued an apology today through his uncle, Dan Kelly:
"I have apologized to the coaching staff for my behavior," Kelly, the nephew of former Bills great Jim Kelly, said in the release. "I am disappointed in myself. I let down not only my coaches and teammates, but also Clemson University and all of our fans. Most importantly, I've let down myself and my family.
"I have always been competitive to a fault, winning at all costs. I let my emotions get the best of me, culminating in this unfortunate situation with Coach (Dabo) Swinney and the Clemson Tigers."
Swinney, the Clemson head coach, dismissed Kelly from the team on Monday, citing a "pattern" of behavior. Kelly had an on-field alteraction with his coaches last Saturday during the annual spring game. He was upset with the coaches for punting on fourth-and-three in the first half and was benched for the entire second half as a result.
According to South Carolina newspaper reports, Kelly didn't show remorse in a meeting with Swinney on Monday. The reports said Kelly also didn't apologize for an incident from last Thursday, when he was involved in a fender-bender that involved Ali Rogers, a former Miss South Carolina who works as in intern in the football offices. Rogers tweeted on Tuesday that Kelly had been disrespectful and tried to get her not to file a police report.
I spoke today with St. Joe's football coach Dennis Gilbert, who coached Kelly during his two years as a high school star in Buffalo. Gilbert attended Saturday's spring game with his two teen-aged sons and has been in contact with Kelly in recent days.
"I tell you, one of his best attributes is the fact that he's so competitive, " Gilbert said. "I think that's what gives him a big edge on the field of competition, that he's so competitive in everything he does. At times, that can get in your way, too."
"I have talked to him extensively," Gilbert said. "He's one of us, you know. Regardless of what happens, as a coach you've always got to be there for your kids and support them. It's easy to stand with them during the good times; you got to help them through the tough times, too.
"One of the first things Chad said to me after everything played out Monday was, ''Well, coach, we always said it's not the mistakes you make, it's how you answer them. We're in answering mode now.''"