According to his head coach Frank Reich, Indianapolis Colts starting safety Julian Blackmon is ‘ahead of schedule’ in his ongoing Achilles rehabilitation—having already been performing sideline workouts in OTAs (via The Herald Bulletin’s George Bremer):
Reich is optimistic Julian Blackmon is ahead of schedule in his Achilles rehab. Moving well in sideline work. #Colts not ready to put a date on a return just yet.— George Bremer (@gmbremer) May 25, 2022
The soon-to-be third-year safety suffered his season-ending torn Achilles during Week 6’s blowout victory against the Houston Texans last year.
However, he was off to a potential breakout campaign with the Colts, as he recorded 34 tackles (27 solo), a forced fumble, and a pass defensed during 6 starts. In particular, he was a hard-hitting force against the run in 2021, featuring a +81.1 run defense grade per PFF.
The fact that Blackmon is a ‘fast healer’ is hardly surprising though, as this is the same young man, who quickly recovered from a torn ACL suffered in December of 2019 as a senior safety with the Utah Utes, only to surprisingly return during Week 2 of his rookie campaign with the Colts in 2020 (well short of a year’s timetable)—showing no ill effects from the serious knee injury.
If fully healthy, even with the offseason additions of veteran Rodney McLeod and rookie Nick Cross, Blackmon projects as a dynamic starting safety for Indianapolis—with his ballhawking ability in coverage and tendency to play downhill against opposing ball carriers, often delivering physical ‘punishment’ in the process.
McLeod and Cross’s arrival should allow him additional time to recover—if necessary, but all signs point to Blackmon assuming his starting duties again once fully cleared.
If the current signs are any indication, everything is very encouraging regarding his status right now—for a quick and healthy return to the football field.