INDIANAPOLIS — Christine Michael's opportunity with the Indianapolis Colts in 2017 came to a halt almost as soon as it began.
A true journeyman running back the first four years of his NFL career, Michael signed with the Colts as a free agent on June 1 to get an opportunity to compete for a spot behind starter Frank Gore.
But just two weeks later, Michael would suffer an injury during a minicamp practice and would be placed on Injured Reserve, ending his 2017 season before it even started.
Now, Michael heads into this offseason set to become a free agent once again when the new league year begins at 4 p.m. March 14.
He has certainly shown flashes of terrific production in his limited opportunities in the NFL, as evidenced by his career 4.3 yards-per-carry average. A second-round (62nd overall) selection by the Seattle Seahawks in the 2013 NFL Draft, he had limited carries in his first stint in Seattle behind both Marshawn Lynch and current Colts running back Robert Turbin, playing in 14 games with no starts, and running the ball 52 times for 254 yards (4.9 yards per carry) with no touchdowns. He was targeted just twice as a receiver, catching one pass for 12 yards.
He was then traded to the Dallas Cowboys, where he ran the ball 15 times for 51 yards to start 2015, before he was released and spent a few weeks on the Washington Redskins' practice squad. Then came his second stint with the Seahawks, where he played in three games with his first two career starts to end the 2015 season, and then in nine games with seven more starts to begin the 2016 season, running the ball a combined 156 times for 661 yards (4.2 yards per carry) with six rushing touchdowns, as well as 22 receptions for 120 yards and a score.
But with the emergency of rookie C.J. Prosise, as well as the return of the talented Thomas Rawls, the Seahawks decided to part ways with Michael in the middle of the 2016 season. The Green Bay Packers, who had been struggling all season with their run game, decided to see what Michael could give them for the last part of the year, and he would play in six games, running 31 times for 114 yards. (3.7 yards per carry) with one touchdown — a 42-yard score against the Chicago Bears — and caught two passes for 11 yards.
So, in total, Michael has played in 37 games with nine starts, running the ball 254 times for 1,080 yards with seven touchdowns, while catching 26 passes (22 in 2016 alone) for 107 yards and a score.
The Colts, meanwhile, certainly have some decisions to make at the running back position moving forward. Gore also enters the offseason as a free-agent-to-be, meaning if he doesn't come back, the No. 1 job is open for the taking between 2017 fourth-round pick Marlon Mack, Turbin, Josh Ferguson and any other back brought in via the draft or free agency by general manager Chris Ballard.2018 Colts Free Agent Watch:* *
- Wide receiver Kamar Aiken
- Inside linebacker Jon Bostic
- Safety Darius Butler
- Cornerback Pierre Desir
- Running back Frank Gore
- Cornerback Rashaan Melvin
- Guard Jack Mewhort
- Running back Christine Michael
- Outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo
- Wide receiver Donte Moncrief
- Center Mike Person
- Quarterback Scott Tolzien
- Kicker Adam Vinatieri
- Tight end Brandon Williams
38 Michael, Christine RB 5-10 220lbs 27yrs 5yrs Texas A&M