Born and raised in South Central, California, Joe Kelly’s love to compete athletically helped him start playing football. He played basketball, baseball, and ran track growing up but decided to focus primarily on baseball and football in high school.
Kelly decided to focus solely on football after receiving a scholarship from the University of Washington. He switched from playing running back to linebacker and enjoyed a successful college career before getting drafted in the first round of the 1986 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals.
Kelly spent eleven years in the NFL, suiting up for the Bengals, New York Jets, Los Angeles Raiders, Los Angeles Rams, Green Bay Packers, and the Philadelphia Eagles. He loved his playing days and credited the relationships he built as a player for allowing him to enjoy a life-changing experience.
Once his playing career ended, Kelly focused on becoming a business owner. He knew a friend who owned group homes and his father had a youth organization, so Kelly spent time mentoring kids before staying in Los Angeles to shadow and eventually start his own group home.