Summer 2024

Colts center Ryan Kelly, wife Emma put trust in God's 'bigger purpose' after daughter's death

Indianapolis Colts center Ryan Kelly and his wife, Emma, are clinging to their faith as they grieve the unexpected loss of their daughter, Mary Kate.

Kelly missed Saturday’s game against the New England Patriots and later revealed that their daughter died while still in the womb. Emma was 19 weeks along in her pregnancy when they learned that Mary Kate’s heart had stopped suddenly.

“Nothing made me happier than being your Dad,” Kelly wrote on social media. “You gave your mom and I that gift. You were simply a miracle and always will be. I’m sorry you never got to open those sweet eyes and see us or take your first steps but you have angel wings now. You left this world too soon but we know God had a bigger purpose for you.

“Your mom and I find comfort in knowing you’re being loved on by your great grandparents. Thank you for watching over us and your future siblings. I’ll forever wonder who you’d be today. Until we meet again my sweet girl, I love you.”

Emma delivered the baby on Friday, and the couple was able to spend a little time with Mary Kate.

Emma also shared about the heartache on her Instagram page, adding that she “was so angry at first that I had to deliver her, only for it to become the biggest blessing out of this nightmare” to get to hold their daughter.

“These 19 weeks with her opened our hearts & souls more than we ever imagined possible & I’m forever grateful we had some time, earth-side, with the little girl who made us mom and dad,” Emma wrote. “She was tiny, perfect and incredibly loved from everyone who knew she existed. I don’t think we’ll ever understand why God decided to call her home when he did but our faith is unshaken. He knows better than we & she was needed back home, in Heaven.”

Ryan was drafted by the Colts at No. 18 overall out of Alabama in 2016 and has been their starting center ever since. He signed a four-year extension last year that made him the highest-paid center in the NFL. He’s been named to the Pro Bowl twice and was a second-team All-Pro in 2020.

Despite being in the thick of a chase for a playoff spot, the Colts (8-6) plan to give Kelly all the time off he needs.

“What we’ve said to Ryan is, ‘Hey, take all the time you need, we’re 100 percent behind you and Emma,’” Colts head coach Frank Reich said. “’We’re here to support you, and when you’re ready to take that step, we’re right here.’”

Reich added, “I’m just not going to push that. Far as I know, it could be tomorrow, it could be a week from now. Whatever it is, we’re 100 percent behind him.”

A Christian himself, Reich has sought to instill a family culture with the Colts. He said that takes precedent over football as it relates to this instance.

“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.”

Please join us in praying for the Kelly family.

Eagles’ Marquise Goodwin, wife Morgan open up about losing three babies
— Colts coach Frank Reich encourages those struggling, points to ‘Christ alone’
— Colts QB Carson Wentz’s AO1 Foundation flies Wentz superfan to Indy for game
— Colts rookie QB Sam Ehlinger finding peace in God as he grieves brother’s death
— Colts QB Carson Wentz, coach Frank Reich bonded immediately over Scripture