PITTSBURGH — It's been a process, but on Sunday afternoon against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field, the Indianapolis Colts expanded rookie wide receiver Parris Campbell's role.
With leading receiver T.Y. Hilton out with a calf injury, Campbell and the rest of the Colts' receiving corps had to step up and take ownership of the position group.
The sixth game of Campbell's career was easily his most productive as he caught all five of his targets for 53 yards (10.6 avg.), ran the ball three times for 27 yards (9.0 avg.), and returned two kickoffs for 64 yards (32.0 avg.).
"We had a great gameplan going in. I was involved a little bit more," Campbell told reporters after the game. "I just got opportunities to show what I can do. I think I made some plays in the game."
Campbell set new single-game career highs in receptions (tied) and carries, receiving and rushing yards, kickoff returns (tied), kickoff return yards, and all-purpose yards (144). He also had his new longest carry (22), reception (27) and kickoff return (38).
Coming into Sunday's contest against the Steelers, Campbell had a total of 10 receptions for 62 yards (6.2 avg.) and one touchdown, one carry for seven yards, and five kickoff returns for 113 yards (22.6 avg.). Now he has 15 receptions for 115 yards (7.7 avg.), four carries for 34 yards (8.5 avg.) and seven kickoff returns for 177 total yards, an average of 25.3 yards per return.
After a hamstring injury suffered during training camp limited Campbell's activity early in the regular season, his journey didn't get any easier as he suffered an abdominal injury in Week 4 against the Oakland Raiders, which required a procedure that put him out the next three weeks.
Campbell returned to the practice field in Week 8, logging limited participation all three days before ultimately returning to game action later that week against the Denver Broncos. He played just eight snaps last week as he worked his way back into the lineup and was targeted once.
But Sunday's game against the Steelers provided a glimpse into how Campbell can be used in the Colts' system — as a multi-purpose weapon. He is not just going to be a traditional receiver, as he'll be used in the run game on some end-arounds and perhaps occasionally in the backfield as well as a kick returner. His multiple chunk plays on Sunday prove that he can be an asset moving forward.
"It felt real good. Especially coming off the injury, coming off the surgery, whatever," Campbell said. "Just to be back out there playing, it was fun, I was having fun. I felt like I was in a groove, so we'll keep working and get back to it."
Campbell also suffered a hand injury in Sunday's game; stay tuned to Colts.com for all the latest.