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INDIANAPOLISWhen it comes to the toughness of Jacoby Brissett, the Colts have never questioned that.

Last season, opponents of Brissett took notice of it, too.

“Hats off to Jacoby Brissett,” Titans safety Kenny Vaccaro said after a ’19 meeting with the Colts. “He’s a tough, tough football player. He was slinging guys off his back like a wild bull. I told him after the game, ‘Hey, bro, you’re a tough player. I respect you.’”

The Colts respect for Brissett has always been there.

But the team still felt the necessary need to sign Philip Rivers to a $25 million deal in March and make a change at the starting quarterback spot.

For a second time in three years, Brissett’s starting job was just to be a placeholder.

“I do think that was hard,” Frank Reich said of Brissett seeing the Colts seek out a different starting quarterback this offseason.

Frustration from Brissett is expected. You wouldn’t want anything else from a professional athlete

Brissett getting over that at some point this offseason is also what the Colts expect.

“I’ve been in (Brissett’s) position to some degree,” Reich says. “So I try to lend an encouraging voice every now and then.

“We need him to be who he is this year for us to get where we want to go. Whether that means he ends up playing some games, or playing a number of plays, or even if he’s just there to support Philip and this team, Jacoby will be a big part of our success.”

Reich has stated that the Colts have put some thought into getting Brissett onto the field for around a handful of plays each week.

Even if that idea—which doesn’t have the most obvious picture—doesn’t happen, Brissett’s role as a backup carries on a higher level of importance in 2020, as he plays out the final year of his contract.

Tossing in the added risk of COVID-19 leading to teams needing to be even more prepared to turn to their depth on short notice, the Colts should feel good about their backup quarterback situation.

While Brissett’s cap hit of $21 million is a crazy amount for a backup, the Colts still have one of the better No. 2 QBs in the league, someone who has started 30 games over the past three years.

“We think he’s a starter in this league,” Chris Ballard says of Brissett. “Jacoby is continuing to get better and he will continue to get better.

“I know Jacoby has taken some hits, but some of them are unfair, and maybe some of them were unfair by me. I might not have used the right words at times. I think you all understand how I feel about this young man. He’s a special kid. He’s a valuable member of the Colts. We’re lucky to have Jacoby Brissett.”