Famous Friday: Phillip Lindsay

Phillip Lindsay is the first undrafted offensive player ever to make it to the NFL’s Pro Bowl! Not only did the 24 year old running back for the Denver Broncos take an unlikely path to the Pro Bowl, but he is living an unlikely NFL life!

Phillip is the middle child of Troy and Diane Lindsay’s five children, each of whom went to college on a full ride athletic scholarship. The Lindsay family is incredibly close and Phillip is taking full advantage of playing for his hometown team by maximizing that closeness as he lives in his parents’ basement! Very few young men making the kind of money this football phenom is making would chose to live with mom and dad, but Phillip is enjoying every minute.  The family loves to play dominos and cards and tell jokes and the time together is keeping Phillip grounded during his quick rise to national athletic fame.

“My family is my rock, they’re my backbone and they keep me going when I’m down,” Lindsay said. “There’s nothing that you can’t do when you have a strong family with you. That’s like having one stick and being able to break it or having 10 or 15 sticks together that you can’t break. When I’m with them, I feel like I can’t be broke.”

Phillip’s father, Troy was also a high school football star and held the rushing record for all Denver Public Schools from 1979 until Phillip broke it in his senior year in 2013. But that incredibly special moment was quickly followed by a huge disappointment, when he suffered a severe ACL tear. Thankfully the coach at the University of Colorado Boulder did not withdraw Phillip’s scholarship offer, but gave him a redshirt year to rehabilitate. He earned the nickname “Tasmanian Devil” due to his quickness and determination on the field, but his parents had called him the same name from the time he was a baby with a unique but speedy crawling style.

Lindsay set all kinds of records for the Colorado Buffalos and was selected as a semifinalist for the Doak Walker Award for the nation’s top running back. The NFL was supposed to be the next step, but he failed to get an invite to the NFL Combine. He was shocked and very upset to be overlooked. And the Combine snub would not be the last time. Draft Day was agonizing as he watched player after player, round after round, without a call from a team. Despite all his success he was snubbed again and wondered if the dream he had held since he was 8 years old was slipping away. But many scouts had attended his CU Pro Day and he had not been completely forgotten. Almost immediately after the draft the teams started calling. With a little prompting from his mom, Phillip signed with the Broncos.

After a very strong preseason, where he showed a ton of grit, Phillip made the final cut and was placed in the lineup as third string running back. But in the very first week of the regular season, he rushed for 71 yards, had two receptions and scored a touchdown. He did not stay in that third string position for long! He ended his rookie season with 1,278 yards, 10 touchdowns and an AFC Player of the Week honor. But the greatest accolade was being named to the Pro Bowl.

Karson Baldwin – Project RACE Teens Co-President

Photo Credit: DailyCamera.com