INDIANAPOLIS — Ryan Kelly will decide when he returns to the football field.
The Colts organization is making sure of it.
Kelly, the team’s Pro Bowl center, missed Saturday’s win over the New England Patriots because of the death Friday of his infant daughter, Mary Kate, 19 weeks into Emma Kelly’s pregnancy.
“What we’ve said to Ryan is ‘Hey, take all the time you need, we’re 100 percent behind you and Emma,’ ” Colts coach coach Frank Reich said. “‘We’re here to support you, and when you’re ready to take that step, we’re right here.’ “
Second-year pro Danny Pinter has started the past two games — Kelly missed the Texans win because of COVID-19 — in Kelly’s place, and the Colts feel comfortable with Pinter stepping into the middle of the offensive line.
But more importantly, the Indianapolis organization recognizes that Kelly’s dealing with something far bigger than his profession.
“I’m just not going to push that,” Reich said. “Far as I know, it could be tomorrow, it could be a week from now. Whatever it is, we’re 100 percent behind him.”
Reich emphasized that the entire Colts organization, from the top down, is behind the Kelly family as they deal with the tragic loss of their daughter.
“These situations, as I think we all know, in life, there’s no perfect formula for how to handle these situations,” Reich said. “Everybody has to go through their process as a family. The mourning, and the healing steps that it takes.”
This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Colts give Ryan Kelly as much time as he needs after daughter’s death