ENGLEWOOD | Phillip Lindsay insists his noticeably bigger biceps have nothing to do with the Denver Broncos’ signing of free agent Melvin Gordon.
“I don’t need another man to fuel my fire,” said Lindsay, the only undrafted running back in NFL history to make it to the Pro Bowl as a rookie and to top 1,000 yards rushing in each of his first two pro seasons.
“I know what I want for my family and that’s what fuels me,” Lindsay said. “For me, honestly, nothing changes. I go out here and I produce when my number is called. I make big plays like I always have and I go from there.”
Lindsay, a Denver native, is entering the final season of the three-year, $1.75 million deal he signed after getting overlooked in the 2018 NFL draft despite putting up huge numbers at the University of Colorado.
Shortly after saying he’d explore a new deal for Lindsay this offseason, general manager John Elway signed Gordon to a two-year, $16 million deal in free agency.
“The fact that we have two running backs now that can be very explosive with the ball in their hands whether you throw it or run it, I think is a good thing,” new offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said in June. “I really do think you need more than one running back.”
How Gordon and Lindsay will divvy the carries has been a hot topic among Broncos fans all offseason, but Lindsay has no insight to add to the debate.
“I wish I could let you know and tell you now. I don’t know,” Lindsay said. “At the end of the day, that’s not my job to sit there and put me or Melvin in the game. That’s their job. If they don’t want to have one of their game-changers and playmakers in the game, that’s on them. I don’t get paid to sit there and call the plays. That’s not my job.
“My job is when I get the ball and when I’m in the game to make an explosive play.”
Lindsay rushed for 1,037 yards and nine touchdowns his rookie year and for 1,011 yards and seven scores in 2019.
Gordon has averaged 1,044 yards and nine TDs over his last four seasons with the Chargers.
“At the end of the day, there are only so many runs and passes you can do,” Lindsay said.
“It’s about executing. It’s about being patient. It’s about developing a relationship with your linemen. For me, I don’t worry about that. I know what I’m going to do. I know I’m going to have explosive plays because that’s just who I am.″
Where Gordon has an edge over Lindsay is as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. Gordon has averaged 45 catches for 375 yards and totaled 11 TD receptions in his career.
Lindsay has caught 35 passes in each of his two seasons, with one going for a touchdown. His average yards per catch dipped from 6.9 to 5.6 last year as he dealt with the lingering effects of wrist surgery.
Lindsay said those numbers will rise in 2020.
“Pass catching-wise, I feel really good. I feel like I’m back to myself,” Lindsay said, adding that rebounding from his wrist injury “was tougher than I thought. … But this year I feel good. I feel good and at the end of the day I’m going to catch every ball that comes my way.”
Lindsay said he gained 10 pounds of muscle this offseason thanks to being able to lift weights again, something he couldn’t do a year ago while still recovering from surgery.
“That wrist injury really did a toll on me when it came to working out because I came from having to sit out for four, five months to just rushing right into camp,” Lindsay said. “I didn’t get that development like I did this year. I feel really good. I feel healthy. I feel explosive. I feel like I’m going to have a hell of a season this year.”