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Phillip Lindsay on offseason snub: 'The Combine's cute'

The primary reason why Phillip Lindsay was snubbed by the NFL Combine may be one of the many reasons why he's had record-setting early success as a Broncos' running back.

DENVER — Phillip Lindsay isn’t about to give the folks who send out NFL Combine invitations any credit, but the primary reason why he was snubbed by the people there may be one of the many reasons why he’s had record-setting early success as a Broncos’ running back.

His lack of height.

Lindsay wasn’t invited to the combine in Indianapolis last winter because of his 5-foot-7-1/4-inch height.

“I don’t know why,’’ Lindsay said after he rushed for 107 yards on just 14 carries in the Broncos’ 20-19, heart-stopping win Sunday against the rival Oakland Raiders. “They didn’t have a lot of faith in me. They think they know everything.’’

Credit: Isaiah J. Downing, USA TODAY

The Combine snub had to be because of his height. It wasn’t because of his speed. He ran a 4.39-second, 40 at his University of Colorado Pro Day, which would have made him the second fastest running back at the combine – had he been among the 32 invited.

And it wasn’t because of his college production – he averaged 1,363 yards and 15 touchdowns on 5.0 yards per carry his final two seasons at CU.

No, it had to be the combine folks thought his 5-foot, 7 ¼-inch stature was too short.

Thing is, his height-challenged stature seems to help as he runs behind those big Broncos’ offensive lineman. The average measurement of Garett Bolles, Ron Leary, Matt Paradis, Connor McGovern and Jared Veldheer is 6-foot-4 ½, 309 pounds. Lindsay is simply difficult for the defensive to see.

Credit: Ron Chenoy, USA TODAY Sports

And by the time they do, quickness and speed bring Lindsay to the second level.

There are other reasons why he’s been so productive, like toughness and instincts.

“He finds the holes,’’ Paradis said. “He finds somewhere to run and slides through. He has a good feel for running. A lot of it is feel.’’

After getting 71 yards rushing and 31 yards receiving in the season opener, Lindsay’s encore performance against the Raiders made him the first undrafted player in NFL history to start his career with back-to-back games of at least 100 yards from scrimmage.

The key word there is, ‘’undrafted.” For the combine people weren’t the only so-called football know-it-alls who overlooked the smallish Lindsay. So did 32 NFL teams. Including the Broncos, who drafted David Williams in the seventh round but waited until college free agency to sign Lindsay with a $15,000 bonus.

Credit: Isaiah J. Downing, USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay runs for a touchdown in the first quarter against the Seattle Seahawks on Sept 9, 2018.

“For me, when you’re out there, you’re fighting for your family – this is my livelihood,’’ he said. “This is how I make my money. So, I’ve got a lot to lose. It’s my job. I look at it as I go out there and I prove every day that I can do it.

“I can care less what people think. I could care less what the combine has me. The combine’s cute. That’s how you can put it. The combine’s cute.’’

Lindsay was part of a win Sunday that he saw so many times as a kid who grew up in Denver rooting for the Broncos. To wit: The Broncos were down 12-0 at halftime against the Raiders and 19-7 late in the third quarter; yet rallied to win on in the final seconds, 20-19.

Mile High Magic keeps repeating itself.

“Yeah, it’s good to be a part of it,’’ Lindsay said. “Watching it on TV as a kid, it’s good to be on the inside of the action, to see how it’s done. To be in the locker room.’’