Photo by Rob Leiter via Getty Images
According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Indianapolis Colts are trying out three running backs in the wake of starter Marlon Mack’s season-ending Achilles injury—including veteran Lamar Miller, Darius Jackson, and Benny LeMay:
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 14, 2020
The biggest name on this list is obviously Miller, who was a 2012 4th round pick of the Miami Dolphins, and spent the last four seasons as the starter for the Houston Texans—becoming a 2018 Pro Bowler for the Colts’ AFC South rival.
Miller almost rushed for 1,000 yards two years ago, finishing with 973 yards on 210 carries (4.6 ypc. avg.) and 5 touchdowns during 14 starts in 2018 for the Texans.
However, the veteran tore his ACL just ahead of the 2019 season and missed the entirety of last season, then signed with the New England Patriots this offseason (and ended up on PUP)—before being recently waived.
The 5’10”, 221 pound NFL standout has rushed for 5,864 career rushing yards on 1,354 carries (4.3 ypc. avg.) and 32 rushing touchdowns in 105 games (89 starts)—with both the Dolphins and Texans during his 7 prior NFL seasons.
At age 29 years old and coming off a significant knee injury, it’s unclear how much the veteran back still has left in the tank—and how healthy he really is.
Meanwhile, Jackson is a 6’0”, 220 pound back who was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the 6th round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
He’s also spent time with the Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and previously the Colts, including two prior stints on Indianapolis’ practice squad.
He was with the Colts this offseason before being waived in early August—so he should already know the team’s offensive playbook and system.
Lastly, LeMay is a 5’9”, 215 pound undrafted rookie from UNC Charlotte, who was signed by the Cleveland Browns in April but was part of their final 53-man roster cuts, ended up on their practice squad, but was also recently released.
He finished with 1,082 rushing yards on 193 carries (5.61 ypc avg.) and 9 rushing touchdowns during 11 starts for the UNC Charlotte 49ers in 2019.
He led Conference USA in all-purpose yards, finished 2nd in the conference in rushing yards, and earned First-Team All-Conference USA honors. He was also named the 2020 East-West Shrine Bowl Offensive MVP.
LeMay finished as UNC Charlotte’s all-time FBS career rushing yards leader (3,232) and graduated second all-time in school history for total touchdowns (28).
He’s regarded as a tough runner between the tackles—with balance and cutting, but may lack top shelf explosiveness—and may be best suited as a backup rotational rusher.
It’s an interesting trio of running backs for the Colts, as they perform their due diligence on potentially adding depth to the team’s suddenly depleted backfield.