Undrafted underdog Lindsay making his mark with Broncos
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — John Elway’s much-celebrated 2018 draft class is turning heads at the Broncos‘ training camp, particularly ex-SMU receiver Courtland Sutton, a second-round pick whose spectacular catches have become a daily occurrence.
Phillip Lindsay , a 5-foot-8, 180-pound running back who was born in Denver, grew up in adjacent Aurora, attended Denver South High School and the University of Colorado and is drawing praises from coaches and teammates.
“No. 2 has shown explosion,” coach Vance Joseph said, referring to the rookie by his jersey number.
“He’s a shifty little back,” said linebacker Todd Davis. “He can definitely make people miss.”
“We’re definitely going to have some things planned for Phillip,” predicted Von Miller, who sees Lindsay carving a niche in a diverse backfield that includes veteran Devontae Booker, second-year speedster De’Angelo Henderson and rookie draft picks Royce Freeman of Oregon and David Williams of Arkansas.
Lindsay is leading the way in plays that draw reactions from the crowd.
“Guys like that in the league, you just can’t cover them,” Miller said. “They’re just assets to the offense. You have to have a back like that and we definitely have one.”
Uninvited to the NFL combine and bypassed on draft weekend, Lindsay signed a contract with his hometown team that would pay him $480,000 this season and included a $15,000 signing bonus.
By comparison, Freeman’s signing bonus was $997,020 and Williams’ was $93,900.
A Colorado alum himself, Joseph was no stranger to Lindsay’s talents.
“It’s hard to believe he didn’t go to the combine,” Joseph said. “Obviously he’s a Buff, so I’ve watched Phillip for three years as a starter in a major conference. He was a great player. We were all surprised he didn’t go to the combine, and obviously signing him as a free agent was tough because we drafted two backs. We pursued him heavy and he stayed home.”
Lindsay’s college coach, Mike MacIntyre, said he has no doubt his former pupil will make it in the NFL because of his versatility, tenacity and willingness to make the most of any morsel of playing time he gets.
“In college he covered kicks, returned kicks, he could play on all four big phases,” MacIntyre said. “And then he’s a guy that can catch the ball really well, so he could be a third-down back. He’s a guy that could block well, could run well, so when you take him to the game, even if he doesn’t play a lot of running back early, he’s going to play a lot of plays for you. So he’s valuable for you as a coaching staff and a team.
“He’ll be the special team coaches’ dream, I promise you that.”
MacIntyre got that right.
“I love Phillip,” Broncos special teams coordinator Tom McMahon declared. “Phillip works his butt off.”
He garnered the nickname “Tasmanian Devil” in college because of the frenetic energy he brings to the team as the undersized underdog he’s been all his life.
“I always bring a chip on my shoulder, not because I’m mad but because I know what I have to do,” Lindsay said. “For me, I’m a running back that’s 5-8 and 190 pounds and I have to go and get my respect for the NFL now.”
It’s nothing new.
“I mean, since when have I not been the underdog?” Lindsay said.
NOTES: In honor of owner Pat Bowlen and his wife, Annabel, both of whom are fighting Alzheimer’s, the Broncos handed out purple towels to their fans and wore purple-and-gray T-shirts Saturday to raise funds and awareness of the disease. … The Broncos will hold a 45-play scrimmage Sunday.