Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor spoke to the media for the first time since starting a contentious contract dispute with the franchise all offseason—and after being recently activated for the 21-day practice window on PUP.
Instead of getting into the ‘weeds of’ his contract situation and ‘the roots of’ his prior unhappiness, Taylor took the high road and instead, primarily focused the dialogue on the health of his surgically repaired ankle, his Colts teammates, and winning football games:
We'll ask as many different ways as possible, but JT ain't getting into contract stuff. Period. https://t.co/H4bpRVCAbb— Mike Chappell (@mchappell51) October 5, 2023
Taylor is staunch in talking about his physical health.— Kevin Bowen (@KBowen1070) October 5, 2023
Deflecting really thing else about trade request + wanting to be here.
Taylor isn't going into detail about the contract standoff, which isn't surprising. Everything is being characterized as being about rehab and being happy to be back.— Stephen Holder (@HolderStephen) October 5, 2023
Jonathan Taylor talked up his desire to win for this city and the fans, but he did not commit to wanting to be a Colt long-term.— Nate Atkins (@NateAtkins_) October 5, 2023
No answer on whether he still wants to be traded.
#Colts RB Jonathan Taylor, in his first comments to reporters since his trade request, says, "If somebody wasn't committed, they wouldn't be here." He says his health was the main goal, and now he's healthy.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 5, 2023
Taylor also calls his contractual issues an offseason thing.
JT: "I'm here right now, and my No. 1 thing is to take care of my teammates. ... What this city needs is a championship, and that's what I'm here to do." #Colts— George Bremer (@gmbremer) October 5, 2023
As mentioned by the esteemed media members above, Taylor never directly addressed whether he and his representation have rescinded his prior offseason trade demand request or whether any progress or assurances have been made regarding his contract negotiations—or maybe even the lack thereof at this point.
Taylor did indicate that his ankle is 100% healthy—as has been previously reported, with the expectation that he could’ve returned to the field a few weeks ago, if actually eligible off PUP (which is a required at least four weeks of inactivity).
However, it’s still uncertain that if he is active on Sunday against the rival Tennessee Titans, just how many snaps he’ll get freshly coming off of PUP—and with only a limited week’s practice time (*with Wednesday as a re-scheduled walk-thru) and no earlier training camp and/or preseason reps to draw from:
Taylor not certain how soon he'll be able to play. Excited for his first full practice today, and they'll go from there. #Colts— George Bremer (@gmbremer) October 5, 2023
My expectation would be that Taylor would initially be on a ‘pitch count’ of sorts, splitting offensive reps with incumbent starter Zack Moss this weekend—and gradually assuming an increased workhorse’s workload over the next few weeks (eventually getting to about 85% of the offense’s total snaps—with Moss as a change-of-pace backup and for occasional breathers).
Taylor did mention that the ‘media’s job is to speculate . . . and that the only thing that matters is between these walls,’ indicating that some of the things that may have been portrayed publicly, were inaccurate to what was actually transpiring in reality. However, no specifics of such speculation were mentioned by Taylor—and to be fair, Taylor and his camp had the opportunity within the media to clarify such inaccuracies during that same span, but elected not to all together.
At any rate, it appears that Taylor will be returning to the Colts backfield sooner rather than later—even if his contract situation and prior trade request remain currently unresolved.
While Moss has provided consistent, rock solid running in Taylor’s absence during the interim period, Taylor should provide more explosive runs and ‘home run hitting ability’ as he’s a genuine threat to take it to the house anytime he touches the football. He features a unique combination of speed and power and is a rare bellcow in today’s game, as he should eventually assume workhorse duties once his conditioning gets back to top form again.