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Suspended Kelly withdraws from Argonauts camp

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Toronto Argonauts quarterback Chad Kelly issued a statement Thursday saying he is withdrawing from training camp to in order to “minimize distractions for the team.”

Kelly is currently suspended from Toronto’s two pre-season games and at least its first nine regular-season games for violating the CFL’s gender-based violence policy.  

Kelly has yet to decide on an appeal and the release of his statement Thursday follows recent engagement with the highest levels of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, including new president Keith Pelley.

As per the suspension, Kelly must undergo confidential assessments by an independent expert and attend mandatory counselling sessions conducted by a gender-based violence expert. Both must be satisfactorily completed before the CFL will consider Kelly's reinstatement and the league reserves the right to modify his discipline.

“I have had to take time to process the findings from the CFL investigation released last week as they were not consistent with the person I am, nor the team and community leader I strive to be,” the statement reads. “I want to be the leader who brings people together and I strongly believe that all workplaces should be safe and healthy for every member of the team. While my legal team awaits the legal findings for review, and explores options to clarify a number of the conclusions from the report and considers next steps, I will take full advantage of this counselling opportunity to learn, grow and better myself.

“At the same time, I want to support the Argonauts organization as it prepares for the season and have made the decision to withdraw from training camp to minimize distractions for the team and to put in the work to earn both reinstatement in the CFL and everyone's trust.  I look forward to getting back on the field soon.”

The Argonauts announced they had placed Kelly on the suspended list Wednesday morning but issued a revision a few hours later saying he was not on the suspended list, adding that Kelly was not participating in camp and was not at the team’s facility.

The suspension followed an independent investigation commissioned by the league into a lawsuit filed by a former strength and conditioning coach against Kelly for sexual harassment and the club for wrongful dismissal.

Kelly was on the field Thursday for the Argos' rookie camp but the club announced Sunday on the first day of training camp that Kelly wouldn't be participating in team activities.

The 30-year-old was the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player in 2023, leading the team to a 16-2 record during the regular season.