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With Lawton traded, Kenton Keith might just stick around

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Justise Hairston
Photo: AJ Macht


I think pretty much off of us still think that one of the first cuts during the pre-season will be Colts back-up RB Kenton Keith. With Dominic Rhodes back on the roster and with a promising rookie like Mike Hart waiting in the wings, K2 (and his inability to catch the football when thrown to him) is expendable. But with Indy's latest trade with the Philadelphia Eagles (something that has become almost a yearly act), everyone's favorite fullback, Luke Lawton, was sent to the city of brotherly love for a conditional draft pick in 2009.

Because of the Lawton trade, it is very possible Kenton Keith could stick around, with Mike Hart taking up Lawton's role as third down, short yardage specialist. This would give the Colts this stable of running backs: Joesph Addai, Rhodes, Keith, Hart. That's pretty damn good!

Left out of this mix is Justise Hairston, a guy who spent most of last season on and off the Colts practice squad. He was originally drafted by the Patriots. Tony Dungy has sung this guy's praises after the minicamps and the OTAs.  At 6'1, 220 pounds, perhaps Hairston impressed coaches so much playing the FB spot it made Luuuuuuuuuuuke expendable. From an Eagles fan's POV, trading for Lawton seems to suggest the whole Dan Klecko to FB experiment isn't working.

And speaking of Dominic Rhodes: Have I mentioned that I love having this guy back on the roster? I have? Well, I'll say it again: I LOVE having Dom back. One of the biggest reasons why Dom's return is so important is his persona in the locker room. Teammates love him as much as we fans do. People love Dom, despite his many faults, because he is the ultimate team player. He will literally do anything the team asks of him and not complain. And Dom also takes nothing for granted:

"I assume nothing," Rhodes said. "Everybody assumed I was just going to be the backup. I go into this thing fighting for not just backup, but every job. I want Joe to be the best he can be, so I’m going to push him as hard as I can. I’m going to make sure every play I do looks as good as the play he does. That’s how I’ve always been. Everybody knows that when I go to camp, I’m going in fighting to try to start.

"That’s my mentality. My mentality is to go in and fight. I don’t ever put myself at the level when it’s, ‘I’m a backup.’ I don’t feel like a backup. I feel like I can run the football in this league as good as anybody.

"That’s how I think about it and that’s how I’m always going to be."

The highlighted part of the quote is something every fan has got to love. You want people like this on your team, and people who do not embrace position competition should not be on your team (hint, hint, Cedric Benson).

Regardless of who starts or who plays in goal line situations, the Colts are going to have tremendous depth at running back going into the 2008 season.