One of the first players cut as the Redskins trimmed their roster from 89 players to 80 on Tuesday, Kelly had been sidelined by a foot injury since Aug. 4 and had missed all three preseason games. He also spent all of last season on injured reserve after a hamstring injury forced him to miss all of the 2010 preseason.
“It did [hurt], but at the same time, that’s the situation where you train and train and do as much as you can and you come out and, I don’t know,” said Kelly, who as a rookie was limited to just five games by a knee injury. “When I hurt my foot, I was like, ‘Alright, whatever.’ I got upset a little bit, but then I was like, ‘It is what it is.’ Nobody had to tell me. I’m smart enough.”
Said Coach Mike Shanahan: “It’s really a shame that Malcolm wasn’t able to stay healthy. He’s feeling better now than he has been in a while, but still hasn’t been able to go. Hopefully in a week or so he is ready to go because his weight’s down. But we had to make a decision on what direction we had to go since we had some depth at the wide receiver position, so we released him.”
The exact term for Kelly’s release is “waived injured.” Under collective bargaining agreement rules, Kelly — as a player released while injured — would be added to an injured reserve list if he clears waivers, as expected. Once Kelly is physically sound in the judgement of team physicians, he would be released.
Kelly, who for his career has 28 catches for 365 yards and no touchdowns, could receive an injury settlement upon his release.
In his three seasons with the Redskins, Kelly earned more than $3.2 million. Under the final season of his rookie contract, he would have drawn a salary of $555,000 and a salary cap number of $871,000.
Kelly said he isn’t sure if or when he will return to the football field.
He said he has some other ventures that he is involved in away from football, and that he would continue to pursue those interests while healing up.
“I’m the type of person that, as much as I love this thing, man. I’m not going to go out and kill myself. … I’ve got something going that’s not related to this and it’s going good. So, I’ll pay attention to that and see where it takes me,” Kelly said. “I want to heal up first. Once I heal up, then we’ll see. If I can go somewhere after I heal up then yeah, I’ll do that. But at the same time, I’m not about to rush so I can go somewhere when it’s not right. I’ll try, but at the same time, I want to make sure my foot is right and at the same time, I’m tired of getting hurt.”
Kelly’s release means that Washington now has just four members of the 10-player 2008 draft class remaining on their roster, that quartet including tight end Fred Davis, safeties Kareem Moore and Chris Horton and linebacker Rob Jackson.