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Rejected by the NFL scouting combine, former CU Buffs star Phillip Lindsay is out to prove ’em wrong

USA 6 days ago Denver Post 1

Phillip Lindsay flew to Florida last month with the hope and belief that he would return less than a week later with a life-changing invite. He hoped that the NFL scouting combine, the annual showcase for college football’s top prospects, would welcome him to Indianapolis for the chance to test in front of every NFL team. He believed that after the East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg he would get his shot.

“Pretty much I’m going to have to go take my combine invite,” he said before leaving for Florida. “And that’s what I’ll do.”

Lindsay led all rushers in the East-West game with 51 yards on 12 carries. He garnered notice from NFL scouts, earned the praise of draft analysts, and put his speed and power on display for anyone who questioned it over the last four years at Colorado.

Just. As. He. Intended.

But when he returned to Denver days later, Lindsay faced rejection. Despite ranking 11th in FBS with 122.8 rushing yards per game last season and despite his record-setting career at Colorado, Lindsay was not among the 32 running backs invited to the combine, held later this month at Lucas Oil Stadium.

This is life when you’re a 5-foot-7, 190-pound back vying for a spot on an NFL roster that is so often determined by measurables.

This is the only life Lindsay has known.

“I feel like I’m an underdog,” he said. “A lot of people look at my stature and they see all these so-called big-name players and I feel like I’m just as good or better than a lot of people.”

To try to prove it, Lindsay, a projected late-round draft pick, has been doing two-a-days with trainer Loren Landow in Centennial. Landow works with many Broncos players in the offseason, helped Christian McCaffrey turn in a memorable combine performance last year, worked with former Division II standout Austin Ekeler before he signed with the Chargers and now he just might have a 2018 draft sleeper on his hands in Lindsay.

Over the years, Lindsay has also studied the work of those before him, from their training and recovery (a staple of Lindsay’s regimen) methods during their off-days, to their patience and explosiveness on game days.

But what he, and they, can’t replicate are Lindsay’s unique pitch to NFL teams.

“I know at the end of the day, none of the other backs can block like me,” said Lindsay, CU’s all-time leader in both all-purpose (5,675) and yards from scrimmage (4,598). “That’s what I pride myself on, and that’s a big thing in getting to the NFL, is being selfless enough to block and protect the quarterback.”

While his frame might give some teams pause, Lindsay’s physicality and skill rank high. Pro football Focus gave him a pass-blocking efficiency rating of 96.5 that ranked among the top seven draft-eligible backs FBS who had at least 100 pass-blocking snaps last season. He was also credited with forcing 47 missed tackles, sixth-most among FBS draft-eligible backs, and over the span of his college career dropped only four passes.

That complete package is what Lindsay had hoped to show at the combine. But his time isn’t up. Lindsay’s next and final major showcase will be at his pro day.

“I think there are certain qualities of Phillip that everybody knows — he’s tough, he’s overcome different adversities of what people will say are his limitations in size,” Landow said. “But when you actually watch Phillip run and move, he’s got a lot more speed and a lot more athleticism than people give him credit for.”

So, starting often at 9 a.m. most days, Lindsay is spending his days in Centennial at The South Suburban Sports Dome running 40s and shuttles to improve his speed and agility. Hours later he’ll be at Landow Performance, running through a circuit of weights and strength drills.

Six days a week Lindsay is at it because this is the life when you’re a 5-foot-7, 190-pound back vying for a spot on an NFL roster.

This is the only life Lindsay has known.

“My biggest motto is ‘outlast people,’” he said. That’s what it’s all about — when you work hard and you take a lot of time for your body and you start to see results as time goes on and you see you’re still healthier than a lot of people because you put that extra work in to outlast them.”

“All I need is one team to want me. And I’m going to make that team very happy and make my family very proud when I have the opportunity.”


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