Ryan Kelly Says 2018 Season Was Most Fun He Has Had Playing Football

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Ryan Kelly Says 2018 Season Was Most Fun He Has Had Playing Football

Colts center Ryan Kelly enters a very important 4th NFL season working with Andrew Luck this spring. What is Kelly’s mindset heading into the 2019 campaign?

Andy Lyons | Getty Images

INDIANAPOLISRyan Kelly won a National Championship at Alabama.


In 2015, Kelly not only was on the undefeated National Champs, but he also took home the Rimington Award, given to the nation’s best center.


Yet, Kelly calls last season---one in which injuries limited him to 12 games played, and the Colts lost in the Divisional Round of the Playoffs---his favorite year in football.


And Kelly points to the continuity of this offensive line group returning every single player, except the retired Matt Slauson, as to why he loved last year so much.


“I think we have an incredible group,” Kelly says of his fellas in the trenches. “I give a lot of credit to coach Frank (Reich) and Chris (Ballard) for developing a room with high character guys.


“Last year was the most fun I’ve had playing football. I want to keep that rolling as much as I can.”


Kelly answered that question with a bit of an eyebrow raiser.


The fact that he went down that path with such an answer wasn’t expected when the question was asked.


The initial inquiry was about Kelly entering a critical season.


With a decision on Kelly’s rookie contract possibly being extended through 2020 due by May 3, the center must prove his durability this fall.


The fourth-year center says he is not too concerned about the pending second contract.


“You don’t come in this league playing for contracts,” Kelly says. “Maybe initially that’s what you are thinking, but once you get into that, you just want to be out there with your guys. At the end of the day, watching games from the sideline is not fun…”


"Obviously, a big thing for me will be going throughout the year and trying to be healthy the entire year."


Kelly has missed 13 games over the last two seasons.


It’s no secret that the Colts are a much less effective offensive unit when their first-round center is out of the lineup.


A future Colts offense with Kelly snapping to Andrew Luck is exactly what Ryan Grigson envisioned back in 2016.


That pairing now is working together for the entire spring for their first time ever, forming a combination that needs to maintain their health for this team to continue its ascension.


“It’s huge,” Kelly says of working together with Luck this spring. “Obviously, you can never really replicate game day experience and having those valuable reps that we have had together but just in Phase II, we can start doing it on the field and kind of seeing things the way they are broken down. I know that we are always going to have something new. We do a lot of self-scouting so I know there are going to be some new routes, new concepts of what we put in and just being able to iron those out now, it kind of accelerates us for those OTA days that are going to come.”


And we could find out soon how much longer this duo will continue to work together in Indianapolis.

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