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Argonauts quarterback Chad Kelly named CFL's outstanding player

Toronto Argonauts quarterback Chad Kelly (12) makes the pass during first half CFL Eastern Division final football action against the Montreal Alouettes, in Toronto, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn Toronto Argonauts quarterback Chad Kelly (12) makes the pass during first half CFL Eastern Division final football action against the Montreal Alouettes, in Toronto, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
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A record-setting first season as a CFL starter earned Chad Kelly the league's outstanding player award.

The Toronto Argonauts quarterback was honoured Thursday during the CFL's awards banquet at Fallsview Casino & Resort.

Voting was conducted by the Football Reporters of Canada and the nine CFL head coaches.

Kelly received the George Reed Most Outstanding Player Award, which the CFL named after the former Saskatchewan Roughriders' star who died last month at age 83.

Kelly, 29, was a key figure for Toronto (16-2), which tied the CFL record for most regular-season victories while establishing a franchise best in that category.

He won 15 of 16 starts, the 93.8 win percentage being the best in league history by a player with at least 14 starts.

Kelly completed 270 of 394 passes (68.5 per cent) for 4,123 yards with 23 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He also ran for 248 yards and eight TDs — tied for second-most in the CFL — on 40 carries (6.2-yard average).

Kelly, the nephew of former Buffalo Bill star quarterback Jim Kelly, was also a CFL all-star.

With Kelly under centre, Toronto finished second overall in offensive points (29.3 per game), offensive TDs (56) and net yards (377.8) while allowing a league-low 19 sacks.

But the Argos' season ended with a 38-17 loss to the Montreal Alouettes in the East Division final.

Running back Brady Oliveira of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers was the finalist.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 16, 2023.

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