Phillip Lindsay went undrafted. By all 32 teams in the NFL.
Whenever the rookie running back shines, as he has since arriving at the UCHealth Training Center, just remember that little diddy. As Vic Lombardi said on Twitter, do the teams get cable?
MHR’s Taylor Kothe’s tweet nicely laid out Lindsay’s debut for the Denver Broncos. The top two stat lines for offensive rookies in Week 1 (combining receptions & rushes):
Saquon Barkley: 20 touches for 128 combined yards and one TD
Phillip Lindsay: 17 touches for 102 combined yards and one TD
The second-overall pick and the undrafted free agent.
That seems to be the theme of Lindsay’s football story: Doubted and questioned. At some point, people will realize that’s when he’s at his best.
“This is the NFL,” Lindsay told the media after the game. “For me, I don’t care about stats. It’s about winning. It’s about me doing my part, Royce (Freeman) doing his part, Devontae (Booker) doing his part. If we all stick together, we’re going to be fine.”
Looks like the 30 jersey has a little #MileHighMagic left in it.#BeatTheSeahawks pic.twitter.com/v9fzsK9ByC— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) September 9, 2018
What makes Lindsay so special, and the stat that says it all about him, is the two tackles he recorded as a gunner on special teams. As I told Adam Malnati on the latest MHR Radio Podcast, the fact he was more excited about his tackles than his touchdown shows a selfless quality that is infectious for a team.
“Honestly, I just thought about how I have to go down and kick off (coverage unit),” Lindsay said. “That is my life. It is about winning and you learn fast. There are ups and downs. That’s just who I am. I’m not backing down to anyone. I don’t care who they are.”
By now, this shouldn’t surprise anyone.
Lindsay has been doubted and questioned since he set foot in Boulder. In fact, early in his career with the Buffaloes, he was benched for his fumbles. (Speaking of Lindsay’s Buffs, celebrate Colorado’s dramatic win over the Cornhuskers with this new shirt.)
Lindsay obviously learned his lesson and has taken the same approach with the Broncos. He’s humble and hungry. Lindsay is living his dream playing for the team he grew up rooting for. He told Troy Renck last week that Broncos games were too expensive for his family to go as a fan, and then he shines in his first game at that same stadium.
Broncos RB @I_CU_boy (71 rush yds., 31 rec. yds., 102 total yds. against Seattle) became just the third undrafted player in the common draft era (since '67) to total 100 yards and a touchdown in his professional debut. pic.twitter.com/m4XHGIfByo— Erich Schubert (@schube13) September 10, 2018
“You said it: he was hot,” Broncos coach Vance Joseph told the media after the game. “He ran downhill, he made guys miss, so we stayed with the hot hand. But, we have three capable backs that dress for the game, along with our fullback. Whoever’s hot gets the carries, and he was hot today so he carried the load.”
What Lindsay is doing is incredible, remarkable, fun and special. Yet you know he isn’t satisfied and will strive to get even better. After going undrafted by 32 teams and being doubted at every turn, Lindsay is writing his own story by shining brightly when the odds are against him.
The only thing that would make this better, given Lindsay is wearing No. 30, is for him to bring back the Mile High Salute.
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