ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Phillip Lindsay sat down in his Zoom chair sporting a sleeveless workout shirt. Better to show off the new set of arms the Bronco’s popular running back grew this offseason.
When it was suggested his guns were bigger, Lindsay broke out into a he-man, double-biceps-flexed pose. Accompanied by his familiar boyish smile, of course.
“I gained about 10 pounds—10 pounds of muscle,’’ Lindsay said Tuesday during his video conference call with the Denver media. “I feel good, I feel fast. I just felt like—that wrist injury (suffered on Christmas Eve, 2018) really did a toll on me when it came to working out because I came from having to sit out for four, five months to just rushing right into camp. I didn’t get that development like I did this year.
“I feel really good. I feel healthy. I feel explosive. I feel like I’m going to have a hell of a season this year.”
Lindsay is a favorite among Broncos fans for same reasons he was a favorite among University of Colorado football fans, and, presumably, among his classmates at Denver South High School. He is a little guy with tremendous toughness. A little guy who has the world’s best smile but a fierce edge to his personality. A little guy with enormous talent.
Undrafted as a 5-foot-7 ¼-inch running back out of CU, Lindsay not only beat the odds by making the Broncos’ roster in 2018, he rushed for 1,037 yards on 5.4 yards per carry to earn a Pro Bowl berth.
All this in really 14 games as he got ejected early in one game at Baltimore for throwing a punch at a player from the bottom of a scrum, suffered his wrist injury in the third quarter of game 15 and missed the season finale.
Surgery followed but it really didn’t take. Lindsay grinded through last season in pain and though he still had another 1,000-yard rushing season, he had follow-up surgery early in the offseason. This time, he says, his wrist feels good and if his wrist feels good, he says he’ll be better as a receiver out of the backfield.
“Pass catching-wise, I feel really good,’’ he said. “I feel like I’m back to myself. The year before me I came off my wrist injury and it was tougher than I thought. I thought the wrist injury wouldn’t be as bad as it was. It was, but this year I feel good. I feel good and at the end of the day I’m going to catch every ball that comes my way. That’s it. There’s nothing else I can say about that.”
The passing game is where Lindsay lost his starting job to Melvin Gordon this offseason. It’s not official, of course, but Lindsay is coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons and the Broncos still signed Gordon to a two-year, near fully guaranteed $16 million contract in March.
You figure it out. So how will new offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur use Gordon and Lindsay? Hot hand gets to play? Assigned roles?
“I wish I could let you know and tell you now,’’ Lindsay said. “I don’t know. At the end of the day, that’s not my job to sit there and put me or Melvin in the game. That’s their job. If they don’t want to have one of their game-changers and playmakers in the game, that’s on them.
“I don’t get paid to sit there and call the plays. That’s not my job. My job is when I get the ball and when I’m in the game to make an explosive play. That’s how I think about it.
“For me, I’ve never needed 15, 25, a bunch of carries. I just need to get a couple of carries that fit me and I’m explosive with. That’s what I’m going to continue to do. That’s all you’re going to get from me.
“The fact is that I’m going to continue to make Broncos Country proud by what I do and that’s be fiery and everything else. I can’t control anything else. I can’t control what people do and how they act and what they think about me, but I can control myself and making plays. I’ve always been successful making plays.”
Lindsay, you see, doesn’t need to show off his biceps to flex.