ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Phillip Lindsay had his living arrangements well planned out.
The Broncos’ thousand-yard, Pro Bowl running back from Aurora was going to live at mom and dad’s house for a year, collect his $15,000 signing bonus as an undrafted college free agent, his $480,000 rookie minimum salary, put away his $200,000-plus play-time performance bonus, then buy his own place in year two.
And Lindsay did go out and look at a few homes during the offseason. But, here it is year two in the NFL and Lindsay is still staying with mom and dad.
“I know. But the lockout!’’ Lindsay said in a sit-down interview with 9NEWS, referring to the league’s potential work stoppage in 2021. “After this season I’ll be more comfortable in being able to have something. And have more (savings) when the lockout begins.
“It’s about being smart. Right now I feel like it’s the smart thing. Everybody else is out of the house. My parents are never home. I’m the only one to watch the house. Might as well.”
He will take his familiar route to Broncos Stadium at Mile High tonight for a preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers.
After sitting out the offseason to recover from right wrist surgery, Lindsay has brought pent-up energy to the Broncos’ practice field during the just completed training camp. There are 89 players who walk out for the start of Vic Fangio’s long practices each day. Lindsay walks out of the locker room, takes a quick hop and sprints out for the start of every practice.
“Just to get the day going,’’ Lindsay said. “You’re not going to just walk out there in a game. This is my job. I’m going out there ready. Once I hit that field? It’s time to play. Even if you’re not feeling good you’ve got to go out there and you’ve got to take care of business.”
While watching him dart, hop and explode during practice -- and again while turning a near-broken play handoff from Joe Flacco into a 10-yard gain in the Broncos’ previous preseason game at Seattle -- it’s obvious Lindsay was able to keep his legs trained over the winter and spring while his wrist healed.
“Oh, for sure I did a lot on my legs in the offseason,’’ he said. “Let my wrist heal. I’m starting to come back from my wrist. I’m catching a lot better now and starting to get more comfortable with it. Sometimes I’m dropping balls here and there, but that’s just concentration. But I feel good overall.’’
The idea is to be at his best for the Broncos’ regular-season opener September 9 against the rival Raiders at Oakland. The Black Hole is where Lindsay crossed the 1,000-yard rushing barrier last year on Monday, Christmas Eve night. The milestone made him the first undrafted rookie in NFL history to be named to the Pro Bowl.
And it’s also where his season ended as a stiff-arm through traffic led to his wrist injury. He was not able to play in the season finale and tack on to his rushing total, or play in the Pro Bowl.
So it will be back-to-back games in the Black Hole for Lindsay.
“I just want to get a win,’’ Lindsay said. “We’re a better team than we were last year. Joe’s going to have a great game.”
Flacco, first-round tight end Noah Fant and a revised offensive line featuring the additions of right tackle Ja’Wuan James through free agency and left guard Dalton Risner by way of the draft is why Lindsay says the Broncos’ offense will improve this season.
He says it with his organic enthusiasm. Even as he sits and speaks, Lindsay exudes energy. Where does he get it all? From home, of course.
“From my mom,’’ he said. “It’s not just me. My brothers and sisters are like that. You’ve got to love what you do. And I love what I do and you’ve got to continue to do that. I want to have a great year. I want us to have a great year. If we don’t work hard, we’re not going to get there.’’
> Catch Broncos vs. 49ers Monday at 6 p.m. on KTVD Ch. 20 (5 or 657 on Xfinity)
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