Despite having only appeared in 1 game during the past two seasons, the Indianapolis Colts brass still believes in soon-to-be 4th year running back Vick Ballard. The good news for Ballard is that he has less mileage on his tires because of it at a position that generally has a short shelf-life, the bad news is that he has hardly played any football since he was a rookie back in 2012.
Following a rookie season in which he rushed for 814 rushing yards on 211 carries including 12 starts, Ballard has missed the last two seasons because of consecutive season-ending injuries to his achilles and ACL respectively. The 2012 5th round pick out of Mississippi State had showed some initial promise as a rookie, but he hasn’t been able to really see the field since.
"“Hey, you know as a rookie, you love what he did and that would be outstanding,” Ryan Grigson said. “You know he’s a very young guy, he still has all the core traits we’re looking for in a runner, he can do all the things we want for a runner to do in this offense. And you don’t have to worry about him for a second because he’s going to work his tail off.”“He runs hard, he’s got really good feet. He can avoid. He gets tough yards,” Grigson added. “You know and he makes, the picture right outside our hallway is the one at Tennessee where he makes the corkscrew diving touchdown to win the game at Tennessee. You know I mean he’s so competitive, yet you never hear him say a word. And those are the kind of guys we like.”"
Head Coach Chuck Pagano reiterated their strong belief in Ballard’s recovery:
"“Vick’s doing well, going through rehab.” Pagano said. “Always refer to the docs on that but he’s working his tail off.”"
Largely an afterthought heading into this offseason because of injuries, it looks as though Ballard could be a darkhorse candidate to factor in the Colts running back equation next season if he can make a full recovery. If one thing is for certain, there’s certainly reps up for grabs with the overall running back group largely unsettled heading into next season.
Sep 8, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Vick Ballard (33) runs the ball against the Oakland Raiders at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts won 21-17. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports