Colts: Chris Ballard leaves door open for Marlon Mack return
Colts GM Chris Ballard hinted that the franchise could re-sign Marlon Mack.
Injuries were very much the storyline surrounding the Indianapolis Colts’ to start the season as several key players — including running back Marlon Mack and wideouts Parris Campbell and Michael Pittman Jr. — all spent significant time on the sidelines.
Mack and Campbell, unfortunately, ended up missing the entire campaign and the fact that Indy was still able to be as consistent as they were on offense was pretty impressive. Both injuries were devastating, but it was especially crushing for Mack because he was playing for a new contract after general manager Chris Ballard opted against extending him last offseason.
Coming off a torn Achilles, which is widely said to be the most difficult injury in terms of returning to full strength nowadays, it remains to be seen if Ballard is keen on re-signing him. Well, during his season-closing virtual press conference, the fourth-year GM acknowledged the possibility of bringing Mack back in 2021.
These comments aren’t as bullish as they might come across, but at least Ballard didn’t fully close the door on a potential return.
Given how many other unrestricted free agents are ahead of him in the contract pecking order, it seems as though the Colts will only entertain the thought of extending Mack if he’s willing to take a reasonable discount and split carries with Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines.
Over the previous two campaigns, Mack compiled 1,999 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns on 4.4 yards per attempt, proving that he’s more than capable of being a featured back. However, his injury opened the door for Taylor to assume that role and the rookie ultimately proved, albeit after some early-season struggles, that he’s already one of the premier players at his position.
We would hate to see Mack’s tenure with the Colts end in such a negative light, so we really hope both sides can reach an agreement. As evidenced by him remaining in Indianapolis and becoming a prominent voice in the running back meetings each week amid his grueling recovery process, this is a player who cares deeply about the franchise and his teammates.
At just 24 years old, this injury won’t come close to defining his career and he would add another dimension to the Colts already talented backfield.