INDIANAPOLIS – The clock will start ticking on Jonathan Taylor.
The Indianapolis Colts plan on starting the 21-day window for their disgruntled running back to practice and return to the playing field after Sunday’s game with the Los Angeles Rams, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. NFL Network was first to report the development.
First, Taylor must pass a physical.
The NFL’s 2021 rushing champion has been on the reserve-physically unable to perform list since Aug. 29. He complained of lingering pain in his right ankle following Jan. 26 surgery.
That has complicated Taylor’s desire for a contract extension. He’s in the final year of his rookie deal that pays him $4.3 million this season. That’s well below market value for a running back of his caliber.
The Colts/Taylor impasse centers around that desire for an extension. When the team informed him it wouldn’t consider a new contract until after this season, Taylor asked for a trade.
Although owner Jim Irsay initially insisted the Colts wouldn’t trade their star back, he relented and allowed Taylor to seek a trade near the end of training camp. Green Bay and Miami reportedly showed significant interest, but nothing materialized.
Hypothetically, a trade still is possible. But general manager Chris Ballard remains steadfast in his appreciation for Taylor.
“Jonathan is valuable,’’ he said prior to the season. “I’m not going to just let him walk out the door. I’m not going to do that.
“That’s not in the best thing for the Colts and the organization.’’
Taylor has been continuing his rehab at the Colts’ headquarters, but reportedly has left the complex following his workout. He’s not been on the sidelines for any of the three games, including the opener against Jacksonville at Lucas Oil Stadium.
As for Taylor’s status with the Colts, at the end of the 21-day window, the team must add him to the active roster or leave him on PUP for the remainder of the season. He can be added to the active roster at any point during that time.
Once Taylor returns, he boosts a backfield that’s in the hands of Zack Moss. Moss ranks No. 9 in the NFL is rushing with 240 points despite missing the opener.
“JT’s a helluva player. Everyone knows that, right?’’ Moss said. “At the end of the day, my job is to be ready when my number’s called. So, doesn’t matter how many times my number’s called. It’s what I’m going to do with those opportunities.
“It’s not going to be any negativity obviously when he comes back. It wasn’t like that anyways last year. He’s a great guy.
“I’m happy to go get back out there with him in this style offense. One, it keeps him healthy, keeps myself healthy throughout a year like this. As long as those things are (resulting) in wins, I don’t really think no one cares what the stats look like, what the carries look like as long as we’re coming out with a W.’’
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.