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Steichen, running backs react to Jonathan Taylor’s absence

Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor goes up into the stands during Training Camp practice (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

WESTFIELD, Ind. (WISH) — The saga continues: Less than 12 hours after refuting reports of an offseason back injury, Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor showed up to Training Camp Monday in a t-shirt — when the rest of the team began work in pads.

The All-Pro running back sat out of practice again amid medical issues and a contract dispute.

“He’s just dealing with something right now, and I’m going to refrain from talking about it,” head coach Shane Steichen said.

“JT’s good,” fellow running back Deon Jackson said. “He’s the same person that he’s always been. Nothing’s changed except he’s not able to be with us on the field right now. We’re waiting for him to come back. He’s handling his business. He’s in the training room every day. He’s just being a supportive teammate.”

Steichen didn’t share much, but he’s confident in Taylor’s future.

“Yeah, right now, he’s on this football team,” Steichen said. “He’s on this football team, and when the medical staff clears him, he should be out here.”

Taylor hasn’t taken one rep this Training Camp, but that doesn’t mean his presence isn’t felt in that running back room. His teammates say he’s been very vocal, sharing advice to the veterans and the rookies alike. Those players know that this is an opportunity they can’t let pass by.

“Even though he isn’t out on the field with us, he’s in meetings with us. He’s there in the locker room with us. He’s making sure everyone else is prepared to step up because he knows at the end of the day, it’s a business, and the next person up is going to have to step in and contribute,” Jackson said. “That’s just the kind of player he is. We’re all supportive of him, we’re all rallying behind him and we’re all stepping up.”

“He is the standard, for sure,” rookie running back Evan Hull said. “He is the standard. He created that, that standard of greatness honestly. It’s some that excites me though. It’s not something that I’m afraid of, it’s something that excites me to be able to help where I can and help step into that role.”

Taylor drama aside, Steichen has been pleased with the rest of the running backs.

“My philosophy is if you have a stable of backs and you’ve got multiple guys that can do things back there, I think you ride with the hot hand,” Steichen said. “I think everyone’s good players, but if someone’s rolling a little bit, you let them roll a little bit. I think that’s how that rotation will go throughout camp.”

He’ll have to do that without Zack Moss. The four-year veteran broke his arm in practice Monday. He’s expected to have surgery Tuesday and be out for 4 – 6 weeks.