Turner Burning the Opposition

The scene from training camp was not an uncommon one. Michael Turner was standing at the fence at Chargers Park, signing an autograph for a fan and answering a question he has heard hundreds of times before. "So when did you know you were gone?"

The question, of course, referenced Turner's most famous run, an 83-yard touchdown jaunt that ended the Colts' perfect season.

"As soon as a hit the corner, that was it," said Turner to the smiling fan.

Turner will have plenty more chances to make his fans smile this season. Last year he proved to be one of the most capable back-up running backs in the league, earning 335 yards and three touchdowns on only 57 carries. His workload should continue to expand this season.

"We would like to find ways to get Michael the ball," said coach Marty Schottenheimer. "We are exploring ways – options. We have a couple of ideas but we are not prepared to talk about it right now. He is a very strong runner with deceiving speed."

That speed was on display last weekend in Chicago, when Turner – an Illinois native – bust loose on a 45-yard run down the sideline, bowling over multiple would-be tacklers along the way.

"I am happy that it happened (there) in front of family and friends," said Turner of his highlight run.

Although he relishes the time he gets with the first-team offense during the preseason, he is comfortable with his role as LaDainain Tomlinson's back-up.

"I prepare myself as a starter each week," Turner said. "I don't wish LT to get hurt. It is one play away; you never know.

"He (Tomlinson) is a great teammate. He helps me out a lot with making the right reads and the right cuts, getting out of a play to make big runs - just how to be a pro. He has helped me from day one."

So even though Turner is itching to play, he has an even stronger desire to win a championship. Despite his unwavering self-confidence, he realizes the team's best chance for success is riding the All-Pro Tomlinson.

"I would like to go out there and take advantage of my opportunities, but I want to win, too," Turner said.

One new opportunity he may be able to take advantage of is on special teams. Should rookie Cletis Gordon struggle returning kicks, Turner would assume his role as the primary kickoff return specialist.

Even if that doesn't happen, Turner's impact on offense is sure to grow more profound with each passing year.

"I look forward to the opportunity every week to go out and play," he said.

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