We’ve heard often this offseason a big emphasis on the locker room from GM Chris Ballard. He’s trying to create a strong locker room, and he’s not having to start over from scratch.
The Colts already had some players in the building who are worth keeping around from a locker room standpoint, and it was actually those locker room relationships that led Robert Turbin to want to re-sign with the team this offseason.
“It mainly was the relationship that I developed with the guys in the locker room on this offense,” Turbin said earlier this week. “[With] Andrew [Luck], the guys on the offensive line, the receivers – really at every position. To really see the grind in everybody and the will to win with the guys on our team. To be a part of something like that and fall short, it just makes you want to come back with the same guys and try to go after it again. That was really my biggest motivation in coming back. You develop a brotherhood, so you want to have your brothers’ back. You become family over the course of an entire year. You don’t want to leave family once that relationship has developed. So it was really just the relationship that I developed with the guys in the locker room that really wanted me to come back here.”
That’s something that surely appeals to Chris Ballard as he’s trying to push an emphasis on the locker room and as he’s taking into account the impact a certain move would have on the locker room. Bringing a guy back into the mix who cares, has good relationships with his teammates, and has a strong desire to win a championship will help the locker room. I’m sure that, plus Turbin’s contributions on the field, showed Chris Ballard that re-signing Turbin was worth it.
“Well, I guess I did something right,” Turbin said when asked what it tells him that a new regime still brought him back. “That’s what that tells me. We fought to come back, my team and I. When I say my “team” I mean my agent and stuff like that. I didn’t want to go anywhere else. We were offered a deal and there were some counters and things like that going on, the whole negotiation process and things like that. Chris [Ballard] is such an excellent guy. He was able to work with us in those negotiations and we finally agreed on terms and here I am. I’m excited about that. I have a place that I can call home for the next couple years and that’s a big deal.”
While we’ve been talking primarily about the locker room impact, Turbin’s play on the field made him worth bringing back too. With the Colts last year Turbin played in 15 games and rushed for 164 yards and seven touchdowns while averaging 3.5 yards per carry, and he also caught 26 passes for 179 yards and a touchdown. He really proved his value as a short-yardage and goal line back, and in fact 42.6% of his carries went for a first down - the highest percentage of any running back in the NFL last year with at least 20 carries. So Turbin’s value shows up in more than one way, as he’s a good one to have around in the locker room and a useful guy to have around on-the-field too.
In 2017, Turbin could see a bit of a larger role, but he’ll be working in a backfield that also has Frank Gore and Marlon Mack. Turbin will likely still be the third down and goal line guy, but he could see a bit of use in other areas too. And at the very least, he’ll still get to develop those relationships with the guys in the Colts locker room.