After a whirlwind offseason that saw the Colts and Jonathan Taylor locked in a stalemate, cooler heads have seemingly prevailed — at least, for now. Taylor will practice on Thursday for the first time in many months, with the Indianapolis offense welcoming back its star running back with open arms.
Jonathan Taylor Is Back With The Colts… For Now
The team opened Taylor’s 21-day window to return from the PUP list earlier in the week. The fourth-year player missed the first month of action with a nagging ankle injury. The initial injury occurred during the 2022 campaign, and it allegedly caused a rift between JT and the franchise after the ball carrier felt rushed to return.
From the infamous Jim Irsay bus meeting to his agent going on a social media tirade, there was a point in the offseason when things felt irreparable between the two sides. The Colts actively entertained trade offers prior to the regular season, although the asking price was purposefully high. Thus, no team pulled the trigger on a deal for the NFL’s 2021 leading rusher.
Things can change quickly in the league, though. Once Taylor learned that a trade would not materialize, he had to accept one reality — play for the Colts or waste a full season of his prime years. After taking rehab seriously, the former Wisconsin Badger announced he is finally at 100 percent. And he’s ready to return to what he loves: playing football.
“It feels good to finally be healthy,” Taylor said on Thursday. “The goal was to be healthy. Been a lot of things said and things done. But — at the end of the day — the No. 1 overall goal for everybody was for me to get healthy. I think everybody was on the same page with that.”
Taylor Avoids Contract Talks; Focus Is Solely On Football In 2023
As questions about the trade request and contract talks continued coming his way, Taylor did the best juke of his career by switching the narrative to a focus on getting healthy and helping the Colts.
“I don’t think it matters on if I’m staying, if I’m committed or not, because I’m here,” Taylor said with sincerity. “I mean, if somebody wasn’t committed, they wouldn’t be here. And right now, I’m here.”
“I’m not here to get into any contract things. The season is here. We got the Tennessee Titans on the clock. Division game, division matchup. What are you gonna do? Are you gonna boast up and get ready to defend your house? Or are you gonna fold?”
In response to the media coverage of his trade request, Taylor said, “It’s okay. I mean, it’s the media’s job to speculate and [say] ‘oh, what’s going on?’ The only real thing that matters is the people inside of these walls.”
The 2021 All-Pro then sent music to the ears of Colts fans everywhere. “My No. 1 thing is to take care of my teammates. A lot of people worry about what I want. It doesn’t matter what, necessarily, I want. What matters is what this team needs, what this team wants, what this city wants, and what this city needs. And what this city needs is a championship.”
JT Provides Much-Needed Ammo For Anthony Richardson And The Colts Offense
There you have it, folks. Jonathan Taylor is back and ready to help the Colts compete for a playoff spot. And, by extension, a Super Bowl. These are exciting times in Nap Town, as the team finally has an answer at quarterback with Anthony Richardson. The fan base has dreamt of Richardson to Taylor handoffs since April. And they aren’t the only ones.
Colts linebacker Zaire Franklin said as much when asked about the potential pairing. “I dreamt about it,” Franklin said with a gleam of excitement in his eyes. Richardson himself spoke about Taylor on Wednesday, saying he cannot wait to have such a great player with him in the backfield.
Taylor’s future with the franchise is still very much to be determined. But that is an issue for the offseason. As for the remainder of the regular season? It is “all systems go” for Shane Steichen’s crew. This weekend’s home tilt with the Titans could go a long way to determining the final AFC South standings. Hopefully, we see No. 28 out there in all his glory.
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