INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Parris Campbell on Wednesday spoke to local media members via video conference call. What did he have to say about his "taxing" rookie season, getting to 100-percent this offseason and what he sees his role being on offense in 2020?
You can catch the entire session above, but here are some top takeaways:
» Campbell is feeling back to 100 percent after an injury-plagued rookie season: Hopes were high for the speedy Campbell after the Colts took him in the second round of last year's NFL Draft, but unfortunately his rookie year would end up being defined by multiple injuries, the last of which, a fractured foot, placed him on the season-ending injured reserve list on Dec. 9.
In all, Campbell suffered a hamstring injury in training camp that kept him out of all but one preseason game, and once the regular season arrived he suffered a sports hernia injury that required surgery after Week 4; returned by Week 8 and then suffered a broken hand Week 9 against the Pittsburgh Steelers; underwent surgery and returned again Week 14 and fractured his foot in the third quarter of that matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"It was very taxing," Campbell said of his rookie season. "Especially for someone (like me), I had never experienced anything like that."
Campbell said he was able to get through the tough times by relying on family members, friends, coaches and teammates.
"I just stayed true to myself," he said.
"I know this just from growing up: I know everyone's path is different," Campbell continued. "I know everything happens for a reason. I had bumps in my path earlier than some guys, so it was just the hand I was dealt. … I'm not gonna run from anything. I took my problems head-on."
Asked if he was back to running routes again, Campbell grinned.
"I'm 100 percent," said Campbell, who added that he's been able to run without restriction for about two months now. "I say that with a smile because it's fun doing that stuff again."
» Campbell is focusing on a new, stricter routine to try to avoid further injury issues: It's not like Campbell's injuries from his rookie season were the product of any sort of wrongdoing on his part; he just happened to be the victim of some hard luck over the course of a four-month period.
But Campbell set two primary goals for himself entering this offseason: maintain a better routine in terms of taking care of and maintaining his body, and, in turn, be available for every single game the Colts play this upcoming season.
While Campbell has always been sure to remain in good condition and catch plenty of footballs in offseasons past, now he said he's "transformed himself into a pro" to do some of the extra things that can really make a difference down the road.
Those changes have included the implementation of weekly massages, morning and night stretching sessions, Active Release Techniques (ART) that manipulate tissue with movement to break up restrictions to motion, as well as constant communication with team trainers at times when he might not be feeling his best.
"My No. 1 goal of all (this year) was to have a set routine, and, like I said, just going back to taking care of my body … eating the right things, making sure I'm filling myself with the right things … and playing every game that we play," Campbell said. "I wanna be on the field. I feel like if I'm on the field it's an advantage for us."
» Campbell sees himself making plays all over the field for the Colts' offense: In seven total games last season, Campbell logged 18 receptions for 127 yards and a touchdown, as well as four rushing attempts for 34 yards and seven kickoff returns for 175 yards (25.0 avg.).
He was able to show flashes of his potential working within head coach Frank Reich and offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni's system, but seemingly every time he'd start to gain any sort of momentum he'd suffer a new injury and have to start that process all over again.
Now fully healthy entering the 2020 season, Campbell hopes with availability he'll see more and more added to his plate after playing a very specific role during his college career at Ohio State.
"The person that I am and knowing what I can do, I always knew that I could do more," Campbell said. "I think that's what the whole entire Colts organization saw me do throughout the draft process and the Combine and all that stuff; they saw my ability to not just be limited to the slot and all those gadget plays. … Definitely just the more reps that I get at playing outside receiver, or whatever it is, I really think I'm just going to continue to get better with it."
And when he's lined up in the slot specifically — that's the role Reich has said he sees the second-year receiver playing the most — Campbell is confident he can exploit his assignments with his pure speed and a surprising mix of size and strength.
"I think slot receiver is all about matchups, and that's where the gameplan and the scheme comes in," Campbell said. "But a lot of times when you're in the slot, unless the defense is in nickel and bringing in an extra DB, a majority of the time you're lined up against safeties, sometimes even linebackers, who aren't, I don't want to say as athletic, but the speed may not be up to par. So it's definitely just a matchup thing, and having the things that I have, I think it just works well."
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