INDIANAPOLIS – Faster at the age of 30?
Bigger heading into his 9th year in the NFL?
That’s what T.Y. Hilton says as he possibly embarks on his final season with the Indianapolis Colts, a thought he admits that has entered his mind.
When players like Hilton (wideouts on the smaller side, who have missed some notable time in recent seasons) reach the age of 30, fair questions are asked of if they still feel like the same player nearly a decade into the NFL.
“I don’t think I’ve lost anything,” Hilton says with another training camp here. “Me working out this offseason, I actually felt faster. Got bigger.
“I can’t wait.”
This is a prove-it season for Hilton.
-Him proving he can be a Pro Bowl wideout without Andrew Luck.
-Him proving the recent lower-body injuries are not the new norm.
-Him trying to earn that third, and final, contract with the Colts.
Even though Hilton currently finds himself on the non-football injury list due to a hurt hamstring this offseason (an injury Hilton says should have him ready to go for full-padded practices next week), he was able to throw and catch with Philip Rivers a couple of times this offseason.
But just hearing a ‘minor’ soft tissue for Hilton has sparked questions of his availability.
In Hilton’s first 6 NFL seasons, he missed just 2 games, a very impressive run of suiting up week-after-week.
In the last 2 years, Hilton has had to sit out 8 games, missing 25 percent of games.
The Colts are just 1-9 in those games he’s missed.
When Hilton hears those talk about his body possibly breaking down, he laughs.
“Look at how many games I’ve missed,” Hilton says. “Besides last year, 6 games, and then I missed 2 the year before that, so that’s 8 in 9 years. Whenever you see me, I’m pretty much on the field no matter what the circumstances.
“We’ll see. We’ll see (laughs).”
Even though Hilton chuckles at such an assertion, it would be reckless for the Colts to just assume their No. 1 wideout can be penciled in for 16 games played and a 1,300-yard season with his 31st birthday coming in November.
And that’s where the contract debate for the Colts and Hilton enters.
Chris Ballard said recently that any possible extensions this offseason that had previously been put on hold, due to cap uncertainty for 2021 and beyond, will be revisited.
Does that mean one could be coming for Hilton?
Or will he play 2020 in a contract year for the first time in his career?
“I don’t know. I honestly don’t know,” Hilton says when asked if he expects a new contract before the start of the regular season.
“It could be my last year. It could not be. We could get a contract extension. We could not. I’m just going out there and playing it out.”
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