WESTFIELD, Ind. — Last week, Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard told the media that Marlon Mack was ready to go for training camp. Today, we heard it from the Colts' mouth.
Mack is recovered from offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum that he suffered last year in training camp as a rookie. The recovery and subsequent rehab caused him to miss the on-field portion of the offseason program and minicamp this spring, but Mack is now ready to begin training camp.
Mack told reporters on Wednesday that he has no limitations heading into Day 1 of practice on Thursday.
The Colts' will have a new-look backfield after Frank Gore departed for the Miami Dolphins this offseason and some new faces have been brought in.
On paper, Mack could be considered the leader in the clubhouse to start at running back. He flashed a lot of potential last year — earning the second-most touches among Colts running backs in that time — and is one of only a couple veteran running backs who had major contributions last season in any capacity.
After it was announced that Robert Turbin would be suspended for the first four games of the 2018 season, the Colts will certainly need someone with experience to step up.
Some believe all signs point to Mack in that regard. However, he doesn't see it that way.
When asked if he views himself as the starter, Mack said: "Not really. You've gotta earn it. And I've learned everything in this league is earned, not given. So, I definitely don't see myself as the starter. I'm out here just working just like the other guys."
The Colts this spring drafted two highly talented rookies in Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins. They, along with Mack and fellow veterans Christine Michael and Josh Ferguson, will be competing for snaps in the Colts' backfield — particularly in the first four weeks of the season while Turbin serves his suspension.
Colts head coach Frank Reich said even with Turbin's absence, he likes what he has available in the backfield.
"I like the fact that our guys are mostly three-down backs. They can mostly play all three downs. What I've seen is these guys are all good in pass protection," Reich said.
"What I like is the versatility of our players. Then, we just have to see who has that knack with the ball in their hands to make guys miss (and) to break tackles. That's what we will have to find out."
Someone has to be the starter. It certainly could make sense for it to be Mack as a proven, playmaking veteran, but he is only focused on getting himself back into the swing of things at the moment.