INDIANAPOLIS — The competition at running back for the Indianapolis Colts continues to build.
The Colts today announced the re-signing of veteran running back Christine Michael, who was signed by the team last offseason but never really got a chance to get into the mix after suffering a season-ending injury during a minicamp practice just two weeks later.
Michael, who turns 28 in November, has been a true journeyman running back in the first five years of his NFL career.
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 — who stands at 5-foot-10 and weighs 221 pounds — 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.
After allowing Frank Gore — their starter the last three seasons — to hit the free agent market one week ago, the Colts have still have plenty of competition at the running back position heading into the offseason.
The No. 1 job is open for the taking between 2017 fourth-round pick Marlon Mack, Turbin, Matt Jones, Josh Ferguson and Michael, while general manager Chris Ballard could very well also dip into what has been reported to be a very deep running back class in this year's NFL Draft.