When Indianapolis Colts chess piece Parris Campbell joined the team prior to the 2019 season out of Ohio State, he had every intention of helping to take Andrew Luck to the promised land by burning through the defense for him.
Sometimes, things don’t work out quite as we planned, especially in this impossible game.
Within a few months of Campbell’s arrival in Indianapolis, Luck had walked out the door for the final time, waving to a shellshocked crowd in the preseason finale. Likely floored by this development, he was still unable to establish a rapport with Jacoby Brissett and Philip Rivers, waylaid by a series of his own injuries that might’ve sapped a weaker man of his strengths.
Five separate injuries in two years for a total of 23 games lost will do that to a person.
But talk with anyone at Colts OTAs and they’ll tell you that Campbell, rebranded to No. 1 after going through two years of feeling like a zero, is nearing a return to the player he was entering the summer of 2019.
If he can stay on the field for 16 games this year, there’s plenty of time for him to grab that pre-draft reputation back and change Carson Wentz’s offense for the better.
Colts WR Parris Campbell’s injury history
We’ll run this down for the purposes of informing the public, but understand if you’d rather look away.
In two years with the franchise, Campbell has suffered a broken foot (that landed him on IR to end 2019), a broken hand, a sports hernia, and a devastating PCL and MCL injury in 2020 that knocked him out in Week 2 of what was supposed to signify his comeback.
Campbell’s flashes in his first season, often left to his own devices downfield without a QB blessed with consistent arm strength, were special. His first NFL touchdown was a zig straight across through the back of the end zone against the Titans, in which you can watch a series of defensive backs turn to dust on screen.
Even on a routine play like this, Campbell’s burners are evident.
Of course, after fighting off all sorts of nicks, snaps and bends in 2019, he broke out with a career-high 71 yards in Week 1 of 2020 … at the exact time when nobody wanted to talk potential, considering a supposed contender had just lost a flop to the hapless Jaguars.
Then, disaster befell Campbell in Week 2, and the pick was largely written off as another attempt at creating something special without success. Back to the “ground and pound,” eh? Is what it is.
It doesn’t have to be that way, though. With a Julio Jones trade unlikely, Campbell, TY Hilton and Michael Pittman Jr. will all have to work to elevate each other this year while opening up the offense for a QB who could use some help. Rest assured, if Campbell’s talent plays up and he looks as healthy when the curtain rises as he has in practice, he could turn into quite an important piece of Wentz’s puzzle by year’s end.
The journey’s not over yet.