Re-signing Bradshaw good for competition

March, 11, 2014
Mar 11
9:00
PM ET
INDIANAPOLIS -- You can look at the Indianapolis Colts re-signing running back Ahmad Bradshaw to a one-year contract in a number of different ways.
  • The Colts are determined to have the power running game offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton wanted last season.
  • Bradshaw
    The Colts need assurance in case Trent Richardson struggles again next season.
  • The Colts need assurance just in case Vick Ballard doesn't regain his form after tearing his ACL early last season.
  • The Colts simply want to have a lot of competition for carries in the backfield next season.
  • Former first-round pick Donald Brown won't be back.

I'm going with all five.

You would like to think Richardson will look like the running back the Colts envisioned when they acquired him Cleveland last September. You would like to think that Ballard will get back to being the player that rushed for 814 yards during his rookie season in 2012. You would like to think Bradshaw can stay injury free.

If, and I mean a big if at this moment, all three players are effective, the Colts will have a nice trio in the backfield. Competition for playing time will also be intriguing. Only time will tell if those things will happen.

“It's the best players play,” Colts general manager Ryan Grigson said last month at the scouting combine. “Iron sharpens iron. We're still going to beat the drum on that. You guys will get tired of hearing that, but that's just how we roll and how our head coach rolls. We're going to try to have the most competition at each position group and whoever wins that spot is going to be the starter and it's who is going to get us to that next level, which is Super Bowl XLIX and that's the mindset. You're either all in or all out.”

Bradshaw seemed to be a longshot to return to the Colts at the end of last season. But the two sides started having conversations in recent weeks leading up to the start of free agency.

Bradshaw was limited to only three games last season because of a neck injury that caused him to have surgery. It only took those three games for him to be the Colts' most effective running back. His 95 yards against San Francisco in Week 3 were the most yards by a Colts' running back in a game last season.

I talked to Bradshaw in the locker room late in the season and he said he felt good enough to play. That obviously wasn't possible at the time because he was already on the injured reserve list.

Now he's back and ready to compete for carries in the backfield.

Mike Wells

ESPN Indianapolis Colts reporter

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