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Kelley Bryant, 1990s Montana Grizzlies defensive line standout, dies

KelleyBryant
Posted at 3:11 PM, Jan 27, 2023

MISSOULA — Kelley Bryant, an interior defensive lineman at Montana from 1996-99, died recently after a bout with cancer. The Grizzlies announced Bryant's passing on Friday via social media. Bryant was 46.

Bryant was a four-year letterwinner and a three-year starter on Montana's defensive line, helping the Grizzlies to a 39-12 record, four playoff berths and an appearance in the FCS (then Division I-AA) national championship game in 1996 under coach Mick Dennehy.

Bryant, from Honolulu, Hawaii, began his playing career at Oregon State in 1995, where he redshirted before transferring to UM the following season. As a sophomore in 1997, Bryant was named first-team All-Big Sky and was chosen as the Grizzlies' outstanding sophomore.

After an injury hampered junior year, Bryant had 34 total tackles, six quarterback sacks, eight tackles for loss, a fumble recovery, a special teams touchdown and a safety as a senior in 1999. Bryant was first-team all-conference and an All-America selection that season.

Bryant finished his career with 72 total tackles and 13 quarterback sacks.

"We lost a good one too soon," the Grizzlies tweeted Friday. "Saddened to hear our brother Kelley Bryant passed away after a battle with cancer. Help us keep his family in your prayers."

To watch a reel of Bryant's Griz career, see the video above.