Broncos' RB Phillip Lindsay Fires off Mysterious Tweet
Phillip Lindsay is on the doorstep of yet another season where he's going to have to prove himself and fight for what is his. It's the life of a former college free agent. There is no draft pedigree by which he can rest on his laurels and even if there was, that's not Lindsay's style.
Every NFL player has to prove himself each year and justify his place on the team but that road is a little easier when a team has a draft pick invested in a guy, or many tens of millions of dollars. Those with such a pedigree often are given every chance to succeed by their respective teams.
Despite Lindsay fighting for and earning a roster spot as an undrafted rookie back in 2018 and going on to post back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons in the ensuing years (only four Broncos running backs have done that, ever), inexplicably, heading into his third year, he'll be pitted in a roster battle to maintain his RB1 status.
The Broncos went out and paid ex-Chargers' RB and former first-rounder Melvin Gordon $16 million over two years this past March. It came just a couple months after GM John Elway said he would be considering giving Lindsay an extension since the former Colorado Buffalo had already out-played his bottom-of-the-ladder rookie contract.
Instead, Lindsay watched as money that he likely felt would go to him get funneled into Gordon's purse instead. Lindsay has since come out and admitted his disappointment and initial anger at Elway's decision, and made it clear that while he welcomes Gordon as a teammate, he's not about to just curl up and die.
Just this past Tuesday, Lindsay sent a cryptic tweet that many interpreted as a state of unrest and anticipation for the coming roster battle with Gordon this summer.
I decided to write this article after several Mile High Huddle readers reached out to me on social media to ask what Lindsay's tweet meant. I don't know exactly but my intuition is that it's foreshadowing of what's to come when training camp rolls around and perhaps a little window into Lindsay's mindset.
After the initial sting of the Gordon deal subsided, Lindsay's formed a new, mature outlook that belied his relative youth.
"It caught me off-guard because it was like, 'Okay, I've put in the work and done all this' and it makes it seem like they don't respect you enough to know the work you're putting in," Lindsay told Terrell Davis. "So I was really upset at the beginning, I'm not going to lie.
"But then I started to think—and I'm like, 'okay, the thing is this'—if something happens to me or something happens to him, it's hard. When I wasn't in the game, stuff was not going as well or smooth. But if you have somebody that can complement me like I did my rookie year where I'm not just running up the middle trying to get first downs all day. I was like, 'Okay, this takes some pressure off me. Now I can do my job and use my speed do my stuff and stay healthier, too.'"
Since Lindsay uttered these words to Terrell Davis on Instagram Live, the Broncos' running back has likely been unable to avoid all the bold predictions and stat projections for Gordon from the national perspective. It's understandable that Gordon has built up some national hype — just follow the money. Those are the players who traditionally get the ball in the NFL.
But Lindsay's tweet is a good example of those same national voices completely underestimating Lindsay's heart. Dating back to his high school days and spanning all the way to the present, no running back that has crossed Lindsay's orbit has ever been able to keep him 1.) off the field and 2.) from being the RB1.
Will Gordon be the first back to vanquish Lindsay and relegate him to a supporting role? Some people believe so. Some believe the Broncos will set the board in Gordon's favor so as to ensure that Lindsay takes a back seat.
Not me. I'll believe that when I see it. I'm not about to sell Lindsay short after everything I've seen him accomplish in two years in the Orange and Blue.
This is Lindsay's team as evidenced by his dedicated attendance at the workout sessions with Drew Lock and the Broncos' offense away from the team facility. You know who hasn't been at those workouts? I'll give you a hint; his initials are M.G.
Bet against Phillip Lindsay and you will lose. Ask Freeman, Royce circa 2018. You'd think the Broncos' brass would have figured this out themselves by now.
OC Pat Shurmur believes there's enough for both backs to eat in his system and he's probably right. But every depth chart has a pecking order. Only time will tell how the Broncos' RB situation will shake out but, again, if I'm putting my chips on one dude, I'd be remiss not to push 'em all in on the Colorado Kid.
For what it's worth, Lindsay's tweet could have been him making an observation about all the talent now loaded on the Broncos' offense. There's been a lot of hype imbued into this unit and there's a chance the Broncos might have a hard time living up to it on the grid-iron.
Excitement is in the air and Lindsay could be trying to temper those suddenly Mile High expectations. Maybe he was saying that potential never pays the bills; only production.
I can't say for sure but I have my suspicions, as you've deduced by now.