WESTFIELD, Ind. — What’s holding up Jonathan Taylor from joining his Indianapolis Colts teammates on the Grand Park Sports Campus practice fields?
Physically, he’s not ready. Apparently, it’s that simple.
Colts General Manager Chris Ballard made that clear during a Tuesday interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio.
“Look, I think the world of Jonathan,” he said. “He’s been a great Colt, a great player for the Colts. Unfortunately, last year he got hurt early in the season, was dinged up all year, fought through it until he finally got to the point where he had to have this surgery.”
“Now, he’s finishing his rehab process,” Ballard continued. “Hopefully as we move forward here, we’ll get him back. But we need to get him 100% healthy before we do anything.”
That reinforced Head Coach Shane Steichen’s comments after Tuesday’s practice. It was the 11th camp workout Taylor’s missed. The Colts have joint practices Wednesday and Thursday with the Chicago Bears, then break camp.
“He’s rehabbing,” Steichen said. “Going forward, he’s rehabbing and I’m not going to get into specifics. Like I said last week, once he’s out here, he’ll be out here.”
Steichen confirmed Taylor had returned Monday after handling his rehab process away from the team last week.
The Colts haven’t been expansive whenever Taylor’s name is mentioned. Their feature/disgruntled running back was placed on the physically unable to perform list (PUP) when camp opened in late July.
The NFL’s 2021 rushing champion is in the final year of his rookie contract and due a base salary of $4.3 million.
Taylor wanted an extension to reflect his position as one of the league’s top backs. When that didn’t materialize, he requested a trade. Owner Jim Irsay insisted that wasn’t going to happen.
Ballard’s Tuesday comments were in lockstep with those of Irsay after his one-hour meeting with Taylor on July 29.
“It’s something where he has to make sure he’s healthy,” Irsay said. “I’m not going to get into details about that. We expect he should have an outstanding year.”
“E.J. Speed had a similar surgery and he’s doing really well,” the owner continued. “It’s not the type of surgery that you shouldn’t have success with. It’s early in the process and we want to make sure everyone’s 100% when they get on the field and get ready to go.”
“We don’t have any concerns,” he concluded.
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.