Parris Campbell motivated to stay healthy in contract year

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Parris Campbell takes exception to those who label him as an injury-prone player.

The former second-round pick in the 2019 NFL draft entered the league budding with promise. However, a myriad of freak injuries has limited him to just 15 games over the course of three seasons. Campbell has just 34 receptions and has never played more than 196 snaps in a season.

Even after undergoing a career’s worth of surgeries in such a short time, the soon-to-be 25-year-old is more motivated than ever to prove he’s beyond that injury-prone label as he enters the final year of his rookie contract.

“From the outside looking in, people say, ‘Oh, he can’t stay healthy.’ Excuse my language, but to hell with that, ”Campbell told reporters Wednesday.

On one hand, the Ohio State product has a point. These have been freak injuries. It’s not like Campbell has been dealing with nagging hamstrings or complications following surgeries.

He had four separate injuries during his rookie season in 2019, three of which required surgery. He bounced back strong to begin the 2020 campaign, leading the team in receiving yards in Week 1 — only to tear his MCL and PCL on the first snap of the following game. Then, he broke his foot scoring a 51-yard touchdown against the Houston Texans during the 2021 season.

On the other hand, it’s fair to question how much of an impact he will have. Chalking it up to bad luck is fine, but the truth is that Campbell hasn’t been available during his career. The Colts knew they couldn’t go into the season fully relying on Campbell as the WR2 so they selected Alec Pierce in the second round of the 2022 NFL draft.

Regardless, the extensive injury history has given Campbell the opportunity to fortify his mental state, which he believes is rock solid due to the entire process of dealing with major surgeries throughout the course of his career.

“Shoot, I think that just everything that I’ve been through has kind of built my mental state,” said Campbell. “Just being able to bounce back from that and be back where I am today like healthy, that did a lot for me mentally because shoot, that was definitely one of the darkest times in my life. So like mentally now, whatever is thrown my way, I know I’m going to be able to bounce from it. ”

It’s been said before, but Campbell’s upside in this offense is still pretty high. Even with the addition of Pierce during the draft, Campbell’s speed and after-catch abilities make him a potential menace for opposing defenses. As Michael Pittman Jr. and Pierce work mostly on the outside, Campbell will be working from the slot to help new quarterback Matt Ryan.

Entering a crucial contract year, Campbell is ready to put it all together and prove these injuries are behind him.

“I know who I am at the end of the day, I know what type of player I am. I know why I was drafted here, and the staff room, they know, ”said Campbell. “They know I’ve been through a lot, but they know the type of player I am as well. So, just when it all comes together, people on the outside stay on the outside. ”

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