Colts give Mack opportunity to find trade, more playing time

Sports

INDIANAPOLIS (AP)Marlon Mack is looking for a new NFL home.

The Indianapolis Colts running back told reporters Thursday he and team officials have reached an agreement that allows him to find a trading partner where he could get more playing time. It’s the first time Mack has spoken publicly since ESPN.com first reported he was seeking a trade.

”It’s tough when you get used to guys and things like that,” he said. ”But on the business side, sometimes you’ve got to speak for yourself because that’s what you need.”

He started for two years in Indy, logging his first 1,000-yard season in 2019. He was expected to carry a heavier burden last season until tearing his right Achilles tendon in the first half of the season opener. Jonathan Taylor replaced Mack, finished as the league’s top rookie rusher, and kept the job when he returned this season.

Coach Frank Reich’s initial plan was to split carries between Taylor and Mack, but Nyheim Hines moved into the No. 2 spot before signing a contract extension just ahead of this season’s opener.

And even though the winless Colts have struggled to run the ball against three strong defenses, Mack’s role continued to fade. He didn’t take a snap in the opener and was inactive for Sunday’s loss at Tennessee.

Mack said he’s recovered completely from the injury.

If so, he certainly could be an attractive addition for a team hit hard by injuries at the position, such as the Rams, 49ers and Seahawks in the NFC West. He signed a one-year, $2 million contract to return to the Colts and at age 25 could still make an impact for several more years.

”As a running back, they say I’m an old man already,” he said, drawing laughter. ”That’s why I’m like I’ve got to go out there and get it now because next year’s teams will be like I don’t want that old running back and I’m only to be like 25 still, but they think I’m an old guy.”

The Colts took Mack in the third round of the 2017 NFL draft. He played his rookie season in the shadow of Frank Gore before replacing Gore in 2018 when he rushed for 908 yards and nine touchdowns in 12 games. He finished 2019 with 1,091 and eight scores in 14 games but has only nine carries for 42 yards in two games since.

Taylor said Mack’s demeanor hasn’t changed since his trade request went public. Instead, Taylor said, he continues to provide coaching tips while the running backs are still pulling for one another.

”I’m going to miss my guys,” Mack said. ”Our room is special with the type of guys like J.T., me, Nyheim, Jordan (Wilkins) and even Deon (Jackson). We love each other, we cheer each other and that’s something that’s going to be tough. I’m definitely going to miss it. Every room is not like that and that’s going to be hard.”

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