Colts’ notebook: Important for Robert Turbin to be ‘upfront’ about suspension

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 05: Robert Turbin #33 of the Indianapolis Colts runs for a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the New York Jets during their game at MetLife Stadium on December 5, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

WESTFIELD, Ind. – Robert Turbin’s style on the football has been to attack everyone head on, so it shouldn’t have been a surprise he took a similar approach when informed by the NFL he had been suspended four games for violating its performance-enhancing drug policy.

In a June 29 tweet, the Indianapolis Colts’ veteran running back was the one to announce he had been suspended for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drugs policy.

“It was important for me to get it out before the media did because I care about the relationships I have with people,’’ Turbin said Wednesday as he reported to Grand Park Sports Campus for the start of training camp. “I wanted to be the one to tell that I was the one who made the mistake.

“I was upfront. I think that was the most important thing for me from a relationship standpoint. If you have a close friend, you don’t want to find out something about them from someone else. If our relationship is tight the way it’s supposed to be – if I’m your friend – I’m going to come up to you and tell you face-to-face, man-to-man.’’

It was about being “accountable,’’ he added. “The fact of the matter is there a suspension that I have to serve at the beginning of the season.’’

Turbin declined to offer any details regarding the suspension, including whether it might have been related to him suffering a season-ending dislocated elbow Oct. 16 against the Tennessee Titans.

The consequences of the suspension allow Turbin to participate in all training camp activities, including the four games, before his suspension kicks in. He’s not allowed to be around the team during his suspension.

Turbin, 28, will miss the first four games against Cincinnati, Washington, Philadelphia and Houston. He’ll be eligible to return for the Oct. 4 prime-time meeting with the New England Patriots in Foxborough.

Turbin is one of the NFL’s more effective short-yardage and goal-line running backs. He’s a league-best 12-for-12 in converting third-and-1 situations over the past two seasons, and has emerged as a locker room leader.

“It was disappointing,’’ coach Frank Reich said of the Turbin discipline. “Turb was really doing a good job. He’s a strong leader in the locker room, really good player.

“It was unfortunate for him and for our team. Just have to let that play itself out.’’

Turbin said the team’s support since the suspension has “really kept me afloat. I’ve let my teammates down, the organization, people that I love, that I’m close to. It’s hard to deal with. People who are close to me have been very supportive of me. We’re ready to move on.

“I’m very excited to be a part of this team. I’m grateful to be here right now and hopeful to make the team again this year. I foresee us winning a lot of football games. Things are headed in the right direction.’’

Roster moves

The team signed safety Shamarko Thomas and waived cornerback Juante Baldwin. The 5-9, 205-pound Thomas has appeared in 60 games with two starts while playing with the Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers.

Thomas’ addition was something of a necessity. Projected starting safeties Clayton Geathers (knee) and Malik Hooker (knee) opened camp on the physically unable to perform list (PUP). Each could miss a good portion of camp.

The Colts also placed offensive linemen Anthony Castonzo, Austin Howard and Denzelle Good on the non-football injury list. That indicates each was injured during personal workouts prior to camp.

Castonzo suffered a minor hamstring injury, and isn’t expected to miss much camp time.

“I might miss a little bit at the beginning,’’ he said. “Just trying to get it to be perfect. The last thing you want to do is re-tweak anything.

“At some point I’ll learn that over-training is not the way to do things.’’

Monitoring Luck

Reich revealed the team’s plan to play Andrew Luck in the Aug. 9 preseason opener at Seattle, but made it clear there are no plans on overworking the rehabbing QB.

“I don’t feel like we have to overreact and say he’s got to play a ton,’’ he said. “He’s logged a lot of game reps in his career. We still want to be smart.

“Yes, he has to get reps in preseason games. But we’re not going to go over the top and overreact to try to get double the amount of reps. It’ll be more of a feel thing as we go.’’

Rookie ready to go

Linebacker Darius Leonard missed all but one day of the Colts’ offseason work while dealing with a quad injury, but the second-round draft pick went through rookie work earlier this week and is ready for his first camp.

That’s significant since the team envisions Leonard competing for the starting weak-side linebacker spot.

Reich said Leonard “looked good’’ during rookie practices earlier this week, adding he was “a physical presence out there. Feel really good about Darius.’’

You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.

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