A place like Seattle was too far for his family to travel to watch him play. Indianapolis is perfect because it’s just a two-hour drive from Kelly’s hometown of Cincinnati.
Kelly, 27, won’t have to worry about playing anywhere else anytime soon after he signed a four-year, $50 million extension that includes $34 million guaranteed with the Colts, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
“Feels good to be rewarded,” Kelly said. “I want to live up to the contract I signed. Go out every single day, be the leader on the offensive line they I know I can be. Play with the consistency I can play with and stay healthy. Those are the things that drive me every single day.”
The deal makes Kelly the highest-paid center in the league and ties him to Indianapolis for the next five seasons. Kelly acknowledged that there was some tough negotiating between his agent and the Colts. His goal was to get the deal done before they open the season Week 1 at Jacksonville.
“One thing I’ve learned in this business is even when you’re the highest paid you’re going to be the highest paid for a week, a year, somebody is going to jump you eventually,” Kelly said. “… It’s not something you want to be dealing with on the middle of the season. I’m glad it got done.”
Kelly, the 18th overall choice in 2016 out of Alabama, has started all 51 games in which he has appeared during his career. He has one Pro Bowl appearance.
The Colts were the only team in the NFL to start the same five offensive linemen all 16 games last season.