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INDIANAPOLISIf the Colts throw return duties on Parris Campbell in 2019, they will be asking more from him than Ohio State did last year.


But the rookie says that will not be too much of a burden, if he goes on to earn all that responsibility.


“Not at all,” Campbell says when asked if handling return duties, which he didn’t do during his senior season at Ohio State, would be too much for him.


“I think the versatility I had at Ohio State helped with that. But, like I said, I’m the rook here. I’m here to do whatever the team needs of me. Whatever it is, I’m ready to do it.”


Offensively, the Colts believe Campbell can help them out of the slot in 2019. While Campbell still gets work at other receiver spots throughout practice, the slot is where the majority of his reps are coming, with Chester Rogers still firmly in the mix at that position.


“I think that’s kind of the way things are going right now,” Campbell says of the slot focus early on.


With rookies, the Colts always try to key on one specific role/area for that player’s first season. For Campbell that is the slot, with the Colts steadfast in believing he can grow into much more than that one day.


“We’ve never thought when Chris (Ballard) and our coaching staff evaluated Parris, we never saw just a gadget, slot, hybrid receiver guy,” Reich says. “We saw a guy who can develop into a legit wide receiver, inside, outside, has the skills, footwork, to run all the routes and it’s just going to be a process.”


Ohio State did not ask for Campbell to run a vast route tree, or even tap into his rare speed extensively in the return game.


Campbell never returned punts at Ohio State and returned kicks for just two seasons (21 kick returns in 2016, and 9 kick returns in 2019).


But the Colts are exploring that role (or roles) with Campbell in 2019. On Saturday, in some live punting action, Campbell couldn’t handle two punts from Rigoberto Sanchez. You saw the growing pains of what a beginner at punt returns goes through.


Incumbents are back in the return game though, with Zach Pascal (kick return) and Chester Rogers (punt return) trying to secure their spot on the 53-man roster.


When the Colts tried then rookie Nyheim Hines at the return game last preseason, it was a disaster.


So, the experiment with Campbell is no guarantee, but his presence there could lead to a spark the Colts are looking for in the special teams department, while also potentially impacting the futures of Pascal and Rogers.


That’s still a long way away from being decided though (and Saturday’s early tryout was not pretty) as the Colts have an explosive playmaker who will get his touches in variety of ways in 2019.


T.Y. Hilton notes the speed in Campbell’s game, while also seeing a sponge.


“He’s very fast,” Hilton says of Campbell, while declining to answer a question of who is faster between the duo. “Also another guy who is willing to learn. Always in my head, asking questions and I love that about him because I did it with Reggie (Wayne).


“It helps me understand that he wants to learn, wants to play, wants to get on the field. My goal is just to help him understand it, break down the defenses and study film and get in his playbook.”


Some slot duties are coming for Campbell in 2019.


And the Colts are, undoubtedly, going to have Campbell’s hands on the ball in other ways offensively.


The next month will show whether that rookie plate for Campbell will have even more responsibility, or if the Colts will scale it back in his maiden season in the NFL. 


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