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Colts Starting Center Ryan Kelly Headed to his First Pro Bowl

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Carolina Panthers v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The Indianapolis Colts have another Pro Bowler, as starting center Ryan Kelly, who was previously named an alternate, has been announced as the replacement for injured Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey. It’s Kelly’s first time making the Pro Bowl in his 4-year career.

Kelly will join his fellow offensive line teammate, offensive guard Quenton Nelson, as well as linebacker Darius Leonard in Orlando, Florida.

It’s the first time that two Colts offensive lineman have made the Pro Bowl in the same season since Tarik Glenn and Jeff Saturday accomplished the feat back in 2006.

As a former 2016 first round pick of the Colts, Kelly had been limited in prior seasons by injuries, but he started in all 16 games for Indianapolis in 2019—and really took his game to another level—as the Colts again were one of the best blocking units in all of football.

Per Pro Football Focus (subscription), Kelly was their 7th best rated center with a +73.0 grade overall—having only allowed 1 sack and 21 QB pressures on the season, while committing just 6 penalties.

The Colts picked up Kelly’s 5th-year option this past year ($10.35M) and set to become a free agent after 2020, he’s a key candidate to be re-signed to a lucrative multi-year contract extension—although resolving starting left tackle Anthony Castonzo’s playing status may be the franchise’s top priority right now.

Regarding any future contract negotiations, Kelly has stated that Indianapolis “is where [he] wants to be”, and it appears the Colts organization shares a similar sentiment as general manager Chris Ballard stated in his end of season press conference last week that he was:

“Really proud of Ryan Kelly,” Ballard stated. “16 weeks, fought through [injuries]. Tremendous leader. Is really starting to understand about the group and bringing the group together, the o-line, and being the leader of the group. And fun to watch his growth.”

This is obviously a great honor for Kelly, and I’d be surprised if it isn’t the first of at least a few Pro Bowl appearances from one of the league’s best centers—who fortunately plays for the Colts.

Now it’s just time for the Colts to lock him up for the long-term future.