Jonathan Taylor has been visibly seen in street clothes and being a non-practice participant by spectators at Indianapolis Colts training camp. That’s because not only is he dealing with his lingering ankle injury but he is also seeking a contract extension and is in the middle of a dispute with the team. With the first week of preseason in the books, is there an end in sight for one or both situations?
Colts Head Coach Expects Jonathan Taylor To Return
Speaking with the Indianapolis media on Sunday evening, Colts head coach Shane Steichen revealed he’s expecting the return of the All-Pro running back from his injury.
“He should be back this week,” Steichen said. “Do I know the exact date he’ll be back? No, but he should be back.”
Steichen later clarified that Taylor still needs to be medically cleared to put back on the Colts helmet and pads.
“Once the medical staff clears him, he’ll be back out there,” Steichen said.
Taylor has been on the team’s Physically Unable to Report (PUP) list since the Colts began training camp on July 25.
Does Taylor Want To Remain a Colt?
While it’s a welcome sign for the Colts to welcome back their top rusher once he’s given the green light by the Colts’ medical staff, a big question still hovering around the team is whether Taylor wants to remain a member of the Colts.
His name has been among the mentions for running backs seeking an extension as he enters the final year of his current deal. He has been at odds with the franchise over his contract situation and — per ESPN’s Stephen Holder and The Athletic’s Jeff Howe — signs point that a trade is still not out of the question.
Colts owner Jim Irsay, however, sent a text to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer back on July 29 that the team has zero desire to trade Taylor.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) July 30, 2023
Holder then delivered this update on Sunday (August 13) about Taylor and whether he wants to remain with the team that drafted him in the second round in 2020.
“Taylor has consistently made his intention clear to the team that he’ll return to the field when he is 100% healthy, a source told ESPN,” Holder wrote.
He adds that with Taylor not practicing, it’s “part of his effort to avoid the recurring ankle issues that hampered him throughout the 2022 season. The decision to continue rehab elsewhere was a continuation of that effort.”
Taylor has racked up 3,841 yards since his league arrival and has scored 33 touchdowns — the former number placing him fourth among active running backs and the latter placing him in second.
With no Taylor available for the preseason opener against the the Buffalo Bills, Indy relied on the following options: Deon Jackson, Evan Hull, Kenyan Drake and Super Bowl 56 champion Jake Funk. Jackson became the leading rusher with six carries for 35 yards and an average of 5.8 yards per carry in the 23-19 loss.