Ryan Kelly, NFL center for the Colts, took to Instagram to explain why he wasn’t at the team’s winning game against the New England Patriots. The NFL player said that he was mourning the death of his baby daughter after saying goodbye to her on Dec. 17.

According to Ryan and his wife Emma, the couple had to deliver the baby early after doctors discovered that the infant’s heart had unexpectedly stopped at 19 weeks. The baby girl, named Mary Kate, didn’t survive.

In his Instagram post, Ryan wrote, “Nothing made me happier than being your Dad. 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. 

The Colts player added that he was happy she’d be taken care of by her great-grandparents in heaven and that he knew she’d continue to watch over them and any future siblings. To end the heartbreaking post, Ryan said, “I’ll forever wonder who you’d be today. Until we meet again my sweet girl, I love you.”

Ryan Kelly and his wife, Emma, lost their baby daughter last week. The NFL player shared a heartfelt message to his baby girl on Instagram. (Credit: Instagram).

Emma said that she went to the hospital Wednesday after experiencing complications with her pregnancy. She was told that her only option was to deliver her baby early.

She said, “I was told there was no other choice but to deliver our baby next,” she wrote on Instagram. “Ryan and I spent almost 48 hours in the hospital. I labored for 24 hours with her before she made her entrance on December 17th. I was so angry at first that I had to deliver her, only for it to become the biggest blessing out of this nightmare. It gave Ryan and I the opportunity to hold our little Saint, Mary Kate, before officially saying goodbye to her.”

According to Emma, doctors don’t know why the little girl’s heart stopped. Emma was one week away from being at the halfway point of her pregnancy, and doctors say that normally a woman has a 1% chance of losing her baby at this point of the pregnancy.

Colts player Ryan Kelly posted a photo of his infant daughter's handprint along with a touching message to the baby girl. (Credit: Instagram)
Colts player Ryan Kelly posted a photo of his infant daughter’s handprint along with a touching message to the baby girl. (Credit: Instagram)

Since Ryan and Emma posted about Mary Kate, many members of the Colts football team have reached out and offered their condolences to the family.

Colts’ cornerback Kenny Moore II said, “We can all just show him the love and care that he has for this game. We can show that same love and care for him off the field … It just shows that life hits everybody hard at some point along the road. We’re here thinking about Ryan and his family as they go through this tough time.”

Ryan Kelly was signed to the Indianapolis Colts back in 2016. He was the Number 18 overall pick for the team and was signed out of Alabama. The starting center just signed a four-year contract extension with the team. This makes him the NFL’s highest-paid center.

With the recent death of his daughter, it is unclear when Ryan Kelly will return to the field. During the Saturday game against the Patriots, Ryan’s spot was filled by Danny Pinter. Head coach Frank Reich said Ryan Kelly can have all the time he needs with his wife and family to mourn. Reich said that Ryan’s return to the field is up to him.