NFL: Chicago Bears at Denver Broncos

Chad Kelly, the former Denver Broncos quarterback and reigning CFL MVP, has been suspended for the CFL's upcoming preseason, as well as a minimum of another nine games, after an investigation into allegations by a former assistant coach.

Kelly, 30, had been accused in a lawsuit earlier this year of making unwanted romantic advances and threatening comments to a former strength and conditioning assistant employed by the Toronto Argonauts, his team since 2022. This employee did not have her contract renewed by the Argos in January, and is also suing the organization for damages.

The CFL concluded Tuesday, after conducting a third-party investigation of allegations, that Kelly violated the league's gender-based violence policy. In addition to his suspension, the quarterback "will be required to undergo confidential assessments by an independent expert and attend mandatory counselling sessions conducted by a gender-based violence expert."

"Players are the ambassadors of our great game," CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said in a statement. "They are expected to be leaders in the locker room and role models in the community. It was important that we performed our due diligence to properly review this matter from all points of view. That in-depth investigation found that Mr. Kelly unequivocally violated the CFL's (policies) ... Mr. Kelly's suspension is the direct result of his behavior. ... He must take full advantage of this opportunity for personal betterment in order to return to the CFL."

Kelly, who is the nephew of former Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, helped lead the Argonauts to a franchise-best 16-2 record in 2023, totaling 31 touchdowns and advancing to the division finals of the playoffs. He spent much of the previous season, his first in the CFL, as Toronto's backup.

This isn't the first time Kelly has found himself in off-field trouble during his football career. He was dismissed from Clemson, the first stop of his college career, due to conduct detrimental to the team, and later slid to the seventh round of the 2017 NFL Draft due in part to reported character concerns. He was released by the Broncos halfway through his second NFL season after an arrest on suspicion of criminal trespassing, and later served a two-game suspension while playing for the Indianapolis Colts.