After former Denver Broncos quarterback Chad Kelly was arrested in a bizarre incident involving a home invasion and a vacuum tube last year, the team wasted no time in dumping him, even though he'd shown promise during the pre-season — and now we've got a much better idea why. According to a recently filed lawsuit, Kelly punched out Jackson Belcher, a videographer working for Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller, at the latter's Gothic Theatre Halloween party shortly before the bust.
Oh, yeah: The residents of the aforementioned home, Nancy Lozano and Marco Torres, are suing Kelly, too.
The nephew of Jim Kelly, a member of the NFL Hall of Fame owing to his stellar career with the Buffalo Bills, Kelly is currently a backup QB for the Indianapolis Colts. At this writing, he has declined to comment about the suits.
The Belcher lawsuit, first reported by TMZ, is currently at a crossroads. As noted by the Indianapolis Star, it was put forward in Arapahoe County District Court; this link tracks a series of filings beginning on November 27. However, the case is reportedly in the process of being re-submitted in federal court. We've reached out to attorneys for Leventhal Puga Braley, P.C., the Denver-based law firm representing Belcher, and will share their thoughts in this space if and when they get back to us.
We already knew plenty about Kelly's shenanigans in relation to the party at the Gothic thanks to an arrest affidavit issued by the Englewood Police Department that's accessible below. At around 1:17 a.m. on October 23, 2018, the document notes, officers responded to the residence of Lozano and Torres, located on the 3200 block of South Lincoln Street, in regard to "a male standing outside a residence" — though he allegedly went inside shortly thereafter.
Lozano told investigators that she was sitting on a couch with her child when Kelly entered without waiting for an invitation and sat down near her while "mumbling incoherently," presumably because he was under the influence of assorted intoxicants. At that point, she called to Torres for help, and he chased Kelly outside while hitting him in the back with a vacuum tube.
That Kelly had gotten into trouble wasn't exactly a shock. After all, he'd been kicked off the Clemson University squad in 2014 for behavior "detrimental to the team," and after the University of Mississippi decided to give him a second chance, he was arrested for a dust-up with a bouncer and the cops at a Buffalo nightclub. Following a plea deal that kept him out of jail, he took the field with Ole Miss and had some impressive outings before hurting his knee. This injury, as well as his past issues, resulted in Kelly falling to the last pick of the 2017 NFL Draft — a position designated by the snarky nickname "Mr. Irrelevant."
Nonetheless, Kelly had his moments with the Broncos, and given that the team's other quarterback options at the time were Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch, he was seen by some observers as having a legitimate shot at starting. No wonder the Colts took a chance on Kelly after Denver cut him loose, despite his suspension for the first two games of the 2019 under the NFL's personal-conduct policy as a result of his actions in Englewood. This past March, Kelly pleaded guilty to second-degree trespassing and was sentenced to a year's probation and fifty hours of community service.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Belcher's suit could cost him considerably more. The complaint alleges that an unprovoked Kelly slugged him "on the bridge of the nose, causing him to fall into the group of people [at the Gothic] and then onto a railing," breaking his $14,000 camera in the process.
The videographer was treated at an emergency room and later learned that he'd suffered a nasal fracture and associated sinusitis. But even though he underwent four surgeries to address the damage and suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome, the outcome might have been even worse. "Doctors informed [Belcher] that if he had been hit one centimeter to the left, he very well may have died from the injuries," the narrative maintains.
The Broncos' quarterback situation remains a mess, with three signal-callers — Joe Flacco, Brandon Allen and Drew Lock — having combined forces during a miserable 4-8 season to date. But we're guessing the team brass is still glad to be rid of Kelly, especially now.
Click to read Chad Kelly's 2018 arrest affidavit.