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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Taylor isn’t healthy and his employer has known it all along.

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I don’t proclaim to be an orthopedic expert and certainly do not possess any of the advanced degrees and certifications that the doctors, physical therapists and trainers who work with Jonathan Taylor have all earned through the institutions of higher learning that they individually chose. 

I’m just one of the many who’s watched the debacle between the Indianapolis Colts and their best running back from a distance but with great interest. 

Many like myself have offered you their astute reporting on this rapidly deteriorating situation, but l do feel they’ve all failed to point out a couple of relevant facts. Taylor’s ankle is not completely healed and unfortunately may never be the same, and the Colts knew full well that he wasn’t going to be able to participate in normal training camp activities. 

Just like Peyton Manning’s neck and Andrew Luck’s shoulder, the organization has known for some time that Taylor wasn’t ready for the rigors of training camp, but they held out hope that he might recover enough in time to help bolster their offense eventually yet this season.  

Obviously their business as usual attitude regarding the actual condition of his ankle has not served them well, and when Taylor compounded the situation by beginning his social media campaign for a new contract, things began to boil over in a dysfunctional, embarrassing way that really shouldn’t surprise anyone involved in what has become a comedy of errors and beyond some, fueled by an inexperienced agent and a ultra eccentric owner that up until now couldn’t decide between yet another vintage guitar for his incredible collection of historical artifacts or placating his running back with a huge raise. 

I mention up until now, as Jim Irsay and company have made it clear they are more than happy to wait and see how Taylor’s ankle is trending and simply pay him what his current contract calls for this season.  That’s code for no extension and the pile of guaranteed money that accompanies it, and it wasn’t a decision that Irsay made alone.

General Manager Chris Ballard dropped a less than subtle gauntlet when he stated that the running back market “is what it is,” which in reality means we were never inclined to break the bank for Taylor to begin with.

Before you bury the Colts on this decision, let’s use that shovel to throw a little dirt on a highly ineffective group of individuals representing Taylor and the man himself. Their strategy to put the Colts on trial in the court of public opinion was clearly ill-advised and without any real merit, as l do believe the Colts would have boosted Taylor’s net worth had he been healthy and shown the same ability on the field that put him in position for that increase he’s requesting.

As unconventional as he may be, Irsay did sit down for a one-on-one with Taylor in the comfort of his plush motorhome in an attempt to alleviate the tension during training camp, and while no one really knows for sure what contractual parameters were discussed, it’s safe to say that any future gold strikes for Taylor would be directly tied to his ability to get healthy and once again produce on the field.

Since then, Taylor’s demands for a trade have been soothed a bit by the Colts communicating to his agent that they can test the intrepid waters and find a suitor for their still injured running back who now appears to be a non-factor in quarterback Anthony Richardson’s rookie season, which is both a cruel twist of fate and a reality the Colts had to be worried about months ago. 

As the posturing on both sides continues, it’s worth mentioning that both parties have failed their fanbase. Taylor’s insistence on rehabbing his ankle out of town and beyond the scope of the Colts medical staff combined with the team’s usual lack of transparency about injuries to their star players has clearly perpetuated a false sense of security that’s good for the preservation of season ticket sales but bad for those who have purchased them in good faith.

Where this vaudeville sideshow ends up is anyone’s guess, but there’s no denying that both Taylor and the Colts knew this storm was coming and didn’t bother to tell the fans to take cover before it hit them hard.

Bob Dylan was right when he penned the lyric “You don’t have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing.”

True, but a free umbrella certainly would have been nice.

Danny Bridges, who never aspired to be a meteorologist but did see the storm coming, can be reached at (317) 370-8447 or at bridgeshd@aol.com. 

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