Josh Robinson making his case for a spot

Colts rookie running back leads team in preseason rushing, but insists without hesitation that he hasn't done anything yet.

Josh Robinson shrugs when asked about leading the Indianapolis Colts in rushing yards after two preseason games.

The energetic rookie is realistic. He knows he hasn’t done anything yet.

The sixth-round pick out of Mississippi State is just focused on earning a roster spot. When given the chance against fellow reserves, he’s made tacklers miss and bounce off his compact 5-foot-8, 217-pound frame. He’s rushed for 105 yards on 23 carries (4.6 yards per carry) with a long rush of 10 yards and a 9-yard TD run.

“Hey, that’s just preseason,” Robinson said Wednesday after practice. “We’ve got to get to the regular season. We do that, then we can talk.

“I’ve shown them a little bit, but there’s much more to come. Just happy to be a part of the Colts.”

Colts head coach Chuck Pagano doesn’t discount Robinson’s production because it came in the second halves of games against reserves.

“It’s the National Football League and they all don’t have to be first rounders to be legitimate football players,” Pagano said recently. “He is going to get his opportunities versus whoever and we are just looking to make sure that guys know exactly what to do, that they know their job, they do their job well and they do it at a high level.”

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The Colts signed 11th-year pro Frank Gore to be the No. 1 back and re-signed Dan Herron as a versatile backup. That leaves Robinson, fellow former Mississippi State mentor Vick Ballard and second-year pro Zurlon Tipton trying to prove themselves worthy of roster spots.

It’s unknown if the Colts will keep five backs. They likely keep four, which has many wondering who would be the odd man out in that scenario.

Robinson has proven he’s a hard guy to bring down and plays with the youthful, fearless exuberance of a 23-year-old man with nothing to lose.

His back story has been well-documented since before he arrived in Indianapolis. Robinson came from humble beginnings — he lived in his car for a time during high school.

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One wouldn’t know how humbled he has been by the energy with which he brings to work each day. He’s almost always smiling, and hoping those positive vibes will rub off on everyone else.

Asked how he’s feeling after his latest practice, he rubs his head, exhales a heavy sigh, then says in a lower tone of voice, “Long day of practice,” then he explodes as if running into a tackler, “BUT, WE’RE GRIDIN’!”

Robinson downplays his 9-yard touchdown run in the preseason opener at Philadelphia. He made at tackler miss and broke two tackles to score on the third-and-goal rush. The game was lost, but he would not be denied.

“Ah, it was OK. It wasn’t all that,” he said, smiling. “Once you get three or four of ‘em in a game, that’s when you can be like, ‘Yeah.’”

“I’ve just got to continue to do what I do.”

Because, again, he hasn’t done anything yet.

“I haven’t,” he said, shaking his head.

Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.


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