INDIANAPOLIS –The player who produced the highest single rushing day for the Colts in 2013 is returning for 2014.
Ahmad Bradshaw, who rushed for 95 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries in a 27-7 victory at San Francisco in week three, is returning after missing most of the season with a neck injury.
Bradshaw joined the Colts as a free agent in June last year after six seasons with the New York Giants.
His addition was supposed to provide a 1-2 punch with second-year pro Vick Ballard as Indianapolis, with a new attack under Pep Hamilton, planned a power-type ground presence that dovetailed the approach of Chuck Pagano.
The plan was interrupted when Ballard sustained a non-contact knee injury in practice after the opener, then Bradshaw incurred a neck injury at San Francisco that halted his year.
Indianapolis traded its 2014 first-round pick to Cleveland for Trent Richardson just before Bradshaw was felled.
The Colts ended up using the 1-2 combination of Richardson and Donald Brown in going 11-5 and reaching the playoffs for a second straight season.
At the recent combine when questioned about Bradshaw's availability, Pagano indicated a possible return.
"Ahmad's just one of the guys (that are free agents)," said Pagano. "We have a plan in place."
Part of Pagano's plan is to re-establish the power ground attack the club showed at San Francisco when it rushed for 184 yards on 40 attempts, while grinding out three touchdowns.
Bradshaw and Richardson tallied on a one-yard runs, while Luck scored from six yards out.
The Colts are 25-1 since 1984 in games with three or more rushing touchdowns, including a streak of 24 straight wins.
With 10 100-plus rushing games in 2013, the Colts tied the sixth-most in a season in the Indianapolis era (14, 1988; 12, 1985, 94; 11, 1984, 99; 10, 1987, 89, 2000, 01, 04-06, 13).
Since 2012 under Pagano, the Colts are 13-0 in games with 30-plus rushes. The Colts are only undefeated team in 30-plus-rushing games during that span.
For his seven-year career, Bradshaw has rushed 962 times for 4,418 yards and 34 touchdowns, while catching 139 passes for 1,129 yards and three touchdowns in 87 regular-season games (35 starts).
In nine playoff contests (three starts), he has totaled 480 yards and two touchdowns on 111 attempts and 20 receptions for 141 yards.