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INDIANAPOLIS – Oh yeah, Chris Ballard heard the shouting.

 

And he even heard it from his own children.

 

Why isn’t Chad Kelly playing?

 

“I heard the clamoring, too, from my kids,” Ballard says with a laugh, during his appearance on the Dan Dakich show last week.

 

“They love Chad. And they love Jacoby. But they love Chad.”

 

Fans are certainly intrigued by Kelly—the talented backup who has not been able to get out of his own with off-the-field mistakes stunting his on-field growth.

 

And the Colts are curious about him, too.

 

That’s why they kept him on their 53-man roster for the final month and half of the year, despite having no plans to dress him for a game.

 

“Chad had to earn trust,” Ballard says. “I’m not talking on the field. I’m talking off the field. He had screwed up a few times to where, ‘We are your last shot here, son. So we are going to have some guidelines here about what you have to do and you have to earn trust.’”

 

The Colts initially cut Kelly back in Week Three of the 2019 season, following his two-week suspension for a 2018 incident in Denver.

 

Such a move exposed Kelly to waivers, but no other team claimed the 25-year-old quarterback.

 

So, one year after being Denver’s backup quarterback, Kelly was heading to Indy’s practice squad, where he began practice by serving as a scout team member on various special teams units.

 

“The first time we cut him, he had this look of, ‘You are going to cut me?’” Ballard says of Kellly. “I said, ‘Damn right I’m cutting you and you are going to go to the practice squad and you are going to continue to work and continue to do the things that we are asking you to continue to do.’”

 

Clearly, Kelly earned enough trust for the Colts to have him back up Brian Hoyer, when Jacoby Brissett missed the Miami game due to a knee injury.

 

After that week, Kelly remained on the 53-man roster for the rest of 2019. But the Colts continued to have Brissett start, and Hoyer be QB No. 2. People wanting to see more of Kelly (or at least have him dress for a game) had a fair question, especially when the Colts were officially eliminated from the playoffs in Week 15.

 

The last game action we’ve seen from Kelly came in the 2019 preseason. In four preseason games, Kelly completed 74 percent of his passes (54-of-73) for 583 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He added 107 rushing yards and 2 TDs on 10 carries.

 

As we look ahead to 2020, there’s not a clear picture for Kelly’s role.

 

Both Jacoby Brissett and Brian Hoyer remain under contract.

 

If fans were shouting for more Kelly in 2019, they are screaming and shouting for a quarterback to be drafted in 2020.

 

Would that mean the end for Kelly in Indy?

 

Could he still be on the team’s practice squad?

 

Will the team cut Hoyer and opt for younger quarterback options, including Kelly?

 

“He’s got some natural playmaking to him,” Ballard says of Kelly.

 

“Do I think he has a future in the league? Yes, I do. Does he continue to have to earn trust each and every day? Yes.”