Leroy Kelly
No. 44     
Running back
Personal information
Date of birth: (1942-05-20) May 20, 1942 (age 77)
Place of birth: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Career information
College: Morgan State
NFL Draft: 1964 / Round: 8 / Pick: 110
Debuted in 1964 for the Cleveland Browns
Last played in 1973 for the Oakland Raiders
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Rushing Yards     7,274
Average     4.2
Touchdowns     74
Stats at
Pro Football Hall of Fame

Leroy Kelly (born May 20, 1942 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is a former American football player. A Pro Football Hall of Fame running back, he played for the Cleveland Browns in the National Football League from 1964-73.


During his 10-year NFL career, this 6', 202-lb running back rushed for 7,274 yards and 74 touchdowns on 1,727 carries for 4.2 yards per carry. He also caught 190 passes for 2,281 yards and 13 touchdowns. On special teams, he returned 94 punts for 990 yards and 3 touchdowns, and 76 kickoffs for 1,784 yards. Overall, he gained 12,330 all-purpose yards and scored 90 touchdowns. He was named All-NFL five times and to six Pro Bowls.

Kelly led the NFL in rushing for two consecutive seasons (1967-68), and in rushing touchdowns for three (1966-68). He also was a talented punt and kick returner, who averaged 10.5 yards per punt return and 23.5 yards per kick return for his career.

Noted as an exceptionally fine runner on the muddy playing fields of his day (even in the NFL), Kelly gained major yardage in the famed Cleveland trap play up the middle, but was equally devastating on sweeps or as a receiver. His quick-starting ability, along with a sense of balance and knack of evading direct hits by tacklers, kept him relatively injury-free, missing only four games in ten years and never more than one per season.

Kelly had attended Simon Gratz High School in Philadelphia and Morgan State University in Baltimore. He was selected by the Browns in the eighth round of the 1964 NFL Draft. As a Cleveland rookie he was a key return man, contributing to the Browns' 1964 NFL championship, and backup running back behind featured fullback Jim Brown and blocking halfback Ernie Green. He moved up to become the Browns' featured running back after Brown's retirement at the end of the 1965 season.

Kelly ended his pro career with the Chicago Fire of the World Football League in 1974, rushing for 315 yards (4.1 average) and catching 8 passes for 128 yards (16.0 average).[1]

After his retirement as an active player, he remained in the World Football League as the Philadelphia Bell's offensive backfield coach, joining two other Hall of Famers on that staff, former Green Bay Packers defensive backfield standouts Willie Wood (the first black head coach in pro football history) and Herb Adderley (defensive coordinator).

Kelly was voted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994.


Pat Kelly, his younger brother, was an All-Star outfielder who played for five teams during a 15-year Major League Baseball career.

David Kelly, his eldest son, is sports anchor and reporter for KMSB-TV in Tucson, Arizona.

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