Rhodes Getting Set for 2006 Run

Dominic Rhodes will get his chance to anchor a new-look rushing attack for the Colts in 2006. The Colts paid out his 2006 roster bonus, ensuring his return.

Two of the big questions this offseason for the Colts revolved around their top two running backs.

Would Edgerrin James find the huge contract he's been awaiting and play elsewhere in 2006? And would his backup, Dominic Rhodes, be paid a roster bonus of $1.45 million dollars to play out the final year of his contract with the Colts?

Over this past weekend, the answer to both questions became a resounding "yes".

On Saturday, the same day that James was reviewing the deal that would pay him almost $15 million during his first season as an Arizona Cardinal, Rhodes got word that the Colts were paying his bonus -- solidifying his status as the incumbent-to-beat for the Colts' starting job.

Rhodes' agent, Mike McCartney, told the Associated Press that, "Dominic's got his chance, and he's thrilled and chomping at the bit to get into the offseason program right now."

The last time Rhodes was the featured back for the Colts was his rookie season back in 2001. He stepped in and started ten games for the injured James, and proceeded to rush for 1,104 yards. That earned him third place all-time for rushing yards by a Colts rookie, behind James (1,553) and Marshall Faulk (1,282). But during the preseason of his sophomore year with the Colts, Rhodes tore his ACL and was lost for the year. He's been in a reserve role for the past three seasons while also helping the team by returning kickoffs.

The Colts will likely use a high-round draft pick to begin developing a back who could split time with Rhodes this season. But since James proved that a rookie can have a breakout season, Rhodes' spot at the top of the depth chart isn't guaranteed once the competition begins in training camp.

According to one of our sources, the Colts are also expected to bring veteran running back James Mungro back, providing the unrestricted free agent doesn't get an unusually high offer in the interim from another team. The Colts have one other running back currently on the roster, Kory Chapman, a former Patriot who made three game appearances on special teams for Indianapolis in 2005.

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