Kellen Clemens will play his fourth season with the Chargers in 2017. A second-round pick of the New York Jets in 2006, Clemens’ career has taken him to the Jets, Washington, Houston and the St. Louis Rams. His resume boasts 21 NFL starts. Clemens started the last nine games for the Rams in 2013, leading them to wins in four of their last seven games.
Clemens grew up in Burns, Oregon, a cowboy town located in the southeast corner of the state that was more than 100 miles removed from the nearest interstate. His biological father, Vernon Vincent, was killed in a mill accident when Kellen was just six months old and his mother remarried John Clemens a couple of years later. After remarrying, the family moved onto a 3,500-acre Black Angus beef cattle ranch that had been in the Clemens family for six generations since 1870. Located in Harney County in Ore., the family’s home was actually the county’s first school house before it became an actual working ranch. As a child, Clemens worked on the ranch, doing things like herding cattle, bailing hay and fixing machinery. It’s also where he learned to play football and he often trained by dragging tractor tires through the hay fields. John Clemens played defensive back at Portland State in the early 1980s and his grandfather, Delmer Clemens, played at Oregon in the 1950s.
Prior to enrolling at Oregon, Kellen prepped at Burns High School where he set state records for passing yards and touchdowns. He went 31-7 as a starter and became the only player from the state to earn Parade Magazine All-America honors. He led the Hilanders to the state finals as a senior.
At Oregon, Clemens set single-season passing records and he finished his career as the Ducks’ third-all-time leading passer in both yards and touchdowns. Unfortunately, his career ended prematurely when he broke his leg in the eighth game of his senior season as result of a horse-collar tackle during a game. Still enamored with his upside, the Jets drafted Clemens in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft.
A practicing Roman Catholic, Clemens married his wife, Nicole, while playing at Oregon. She attended the University of San Diego. The couple has three children: Kate, Grant and Scarlett. In 2008, Clemens, Nicole and young daughter, Kate, attended a mass conducted by Pope Benedict in Washington D.C., and after the mass as part of the Papal procession, the Pope walked by and blessed the couple’s daughter.
Clemens has four sisters, two of whom, Maria and Jessica, played college volleyball at Portland State after winning state championships in volleyball, basketball and track at Burns High.
TRANSACTION HISTORY: Second-round pick by New York Jets, April 29, 2006...signed July 27...re-signed, April 13, 2010...contract expired July 25, 2011...signed with Washington, July 29...released Sept. 3...signed with Houston, Nov. 23...waived Dec. 6...claimed by St. Louis, Dec. 7...released Aug. 31, 2012...re-signed with Rams, Sept. 13 and April 16, 2013...contract expired March 11, 2014...signed with Chargers, March 17...re-signed one-year contract with Chargers, March 9, 2016.
2017: Appeared in eight games, totaling 36 passing yards and an INT on six-of-eight passing (75.0 pct.) for a 43.8 passer rating…Dressed as the backup quarterback, but did not play in the other eight contests…at Denver (Sept. 11): Dressed as the backup quarterback, but did not participate…at Jacksonville (Nov. 12): Saw action as a holder on three special teams plays…vs. Buffalo (Nov. 19): Played the fourth quarter in relief of QB Philip Rivers, completing all five attempts for 33 yards (94.2 passer rating)…Completed his first attempt to TE Jeff Cumberland for a two-yard gain on a drag-route…Appeared on 17 plays on offense and 12 on special teams…at Dallas (Nov. 23): Appeared on six special teams plays, holding for all field goals and extra points…vs. Cleveland (Dec. 3): Served as the holder on all kicks and extra points for a total of six snaps on special teams…vs. Washington (Dec. 10): Held on all kicks and extra points for six snaps on special teams…Entered the game at quarterback in the fourth quarter, playing a total of 15 snaps…Finished with three passing yards and an INT on one-of-three (33.3 pct.) passing for a 2.8 passer rating…at Kansas City (Dec. 16): Appeared on two special teams plays as the holder on extra points…at New York Jets (Dec. 24): Handled all holding duties, seeing time on three special teams plays…vs. Oakland (Dec. 31): Saw action on four offensive snaps and six on special teams, handling all holding duties.
2016: Saw brief action late Sept. 18 vs. Jacksonville...took over as team’s holder on placements for final 11 games.
2015: Played one series at end of game Sept. 27 at Minnesota and led 14-play, 89-yard touchdown drive with 19-yard scoring throw to Keenan Allen...went 5 of 6 for 63 yards on drive.
2014: Saw action late in 31-0 win over New York Jets Oct. 5...took over for Philip Rivers in third quarter Nov. 2 at Miami and completed first pass as Charger.
2013: Passed for 247 yards and two touchdowns to post career-high passer rating (140.6) in 38-8 win at Indianapolis Nov. 10...threw two longest touchdown passes of career vs. Colts, 57 and 81 yards to Tavon Austin...in 27-16 win over New Orleans Dec. 15, posted career-best first-half passer rating (142.0).
2012: Saw action vs. New England Oct. 28 and at Arizona Nov. 25.
2011: Season-best 25 of 36 for 229 yards and touchdown for 95.7 rating Dec. 18 vs. Cincinnati...career-long 18-yard rushing touchdown Jan. 1 vs. San Francisco.
2010: Scored rushing touchdown vs. Buffalo on Jan. 2, 2011 in only appearance of season.
2009: Saw most extensive action of season Dec. 13 at Tampa Bay, completing 12 of 23 for 11 yards.
2008: Appeared in two games and posted only offensive stats Sept. 22 at San Diego.
2007: First-career start and touchdown pass Sept. 16 at Baltimore...first-career victory, 19-16, over Pittsburgh, Nov. 18...first-career rushing touchdown and season-highs for completions (24) and yards (286) Dec. 9 vs. Cleveland.
2006: First NFL action Oct. 8 at Jacksonville.
COLLEGE: Finished career third in school history for passing yards (7,555), total offense (8,090) and touchdowns (61)... honorable mention All-Pac-10 as junior...as sophomore in 2003 vs. Stanford, completed school-record 15 of 17 (88.9 pct.) with 85 and 86-yard touchdown passes against Cardinal...offensive player of week after 21 of 27 effort vs. UCLA in ’03...played in 39 career games with 34 starts and completed 613 of 1,005 (61.0 pct.) with 61 TDs and only 24 interceptions...redshirted in 2001...played at Oregon from 2002-05...business administration degree.
PERSONAL: Born in Lakeview, Oregon...consensus All-America, Oregon Gatorade Player of Year and three-time first-team All-Greater Oregon League quarterback at Burns (Ore.) High...also first-team all-state safety...passed for state-record 8,646 yards and 102 touchdowns.