INDIANAPOLIS – In only awful luck that seems to follow Parris Campbell, his 2021 season might have ended on the biggest play of his oft-injured NFL career.
Frank Reich said on Monday that Campbell suffered a ‘significant’ foot injury—calling it an ‘unfortunate break’—on the 51-yard touchdown he made in Sunday’s opening quarter.
Despite showing no immediate reaction to suffering an injury, Campbell began to receive attention from the team’s medical staff on the sideline once he sat down on the bench, after celebrating the second TD of his three years in the league. Campbell did appear to have his left foot fallen on by Texans safety Terrence Brooks, which could have contributed to the injury.
Reich said the injury is severe enough that it could shelve Campbell for the rest of the ’21 campaign.
Injuries have been the story of Campbell’s NFL career.
He’s missed time due to a hernia, fractured right hand, broken foot (in 2019), MCL/PCL, ribs and now this foot injury.
What has to be particularly maddening to Campbell, and the Colts, is the fact that the speedster did not enter the NFL with a long injury history.
In Campbell’s final three seasons at Ohio State, he missed just one game. But he has missed 34 of a possible 48 now in the NFL, with that number only growing due to this latest news.
While many fans will be quick to write off the loss of Campbell, who the Colts took in Round 2 of the 2019 Draft, those are failing to understand that his skillset is unique, and he can be a missing ingredient for this offense.
The touchdown on Sunday was a perfect example of something Campbell can bring to the offense while still allowing others to play different roles.
Campbell is someone Frank Reich really likes and wants to involve, knowing that the offense lacks some yards after catch ability at wideout.
As far as how the Colts will try to replace the threat of having a Campbell, the team will first look internally.
–Ashton Dulin: Reich mentioned Dulin’s name first on Monday and he is someone the head coach has always been intrigued by. Dulin has caught 5 balls this season while playing 87 offensive snaps
–DeMichael Harris: Currently on the practice squad, Harris has played just 2 offensive snaps this year. Harris has some similar skillset to Campbell and was a player the Colts turned to last year when Campbell’s season ended in Week Two.
–Mike Strachan: Some special teams issues, and nailing down the complete playbook has kept Strachan from dressing every game this season. Still, he’s an option, too, although the body types are not similar between him and Campbell.
–Keke Coutee: If the Colts want experience, Coutee is their guy. Coutee has been on the Indy practice squad for the entire season. Like Campbell, Coutee hasn’t been able to stay healthy (25 missed games out of 48 in his career). Coutee has 83 career receptions though, playing mostly in the slot during his three seasons with the Texans.
–Dezmon Patmon: The Colts could have Patmon back soon as the big man has missed the start of the season with a foot injury. When Patmon returns to practice that will kickstart a 21-day window for him to return to the lineup. Patmon has only played one NFL game in his 2 years in the league.
Campbell, 24, has one year remaining on his rookie contract, one in which he’s due a base salary of $1.1 million. Cutting Campbell wouldn’t save the Colts an immense amount of money. It would be a bit surprising to see the team do that. They are big fans of Campbell, the pro, so cutting ties before the end of his rookie deal isn’t a definite move.
Nonetheless, the Colts made a mistake back in the spring of not adding another piece to this wideout group, especially knowing the injury history of Campbell.
With the season barely more than a month old, the Colts wide receiver depth is again being tested. And Campbell’s injury-riddled career has once again been halted.
Reich added that the Colts are still monitoring the quad tweak that T.Y. Hilton suffered late in Sunday’s win.