Kelley was born and raised in the 9th Ward district of New Orleans, until he and his parents lost their home as a result of Hurricane Katrina’s effect on the city in August 2005. 

Two-year letterman at O. Perry Walker for coach Emanuel Powell, rated a three-star recruit by while garnering two-star recognition from and For his high school career, ran 404 times for 2,347 yards (5.8 avg.) and 25 touchdowns, hauled in 28 passes for 242 yards (8.6 avg.) and three touchdowns. Named first-team All-District 10-4A as a junior and senior.

He went on to enroll at Tulane University, where he was a three-year letterman has rushed 253 times for 1,038 yards (4.1 avg) and five touchdowns, caught 80 passes for 694 yards (8.7 avg) and five scores, returned 67 kickoffs for 1,370 yards (20.4 avg) and posted nine tackles.

Kelley’s “Fat Rob” nickname originated during his senior year at Tulane, after his running backs coach bought him a backpack with the nickname ingrained on it.


On May 6, 2016, the Washington Redskins signed Kelley as an undrafted free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft. On September 25, 2016, Kelley had his first rushing attempt of his career against the New York Giants. On October 23, 2016, he scored his first touchdown against the Detroit Lions, a one-yard reception from quarterback Kirk Cousins. On October 30, 2016, Kelley made his first career start in place of an injured Matt Jones, where he rushed for 87 yards on 21 carries, while also scoring his first career rushing touchdown in a 27–27 tie with the Cincinnati Bengals. After his starting debut, the team announced that Kelley would be the full-time starting running back. On November 20, 2016, Kelley had his first multi-touchdown game after recording a career-high 137 rushing yards with three rushing touchdowns in a 42–24 victory over the Green Bay Packers on NBC Sunday Night Football.

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Robert Kelley Highlights