Colts receiver Parris Campbell ignoring injury history, focused on proving himself in contract year

Parris Campbell isn't about to let you call him injury prone.

The Colts receiver -- who has played in just 15 of a possible 49 regular-season games in his career -- is entering his fourth NFL season determined to put together a complete campaign. Frankly, his future depends upon it.

Campbell arrived in Indianapolis via a second-round pick out of Ohio State in 2019, and caught his first career touchdown in Week 2 against the division-rival Titans. Three separate injuries cut that season short, limiting him to 18 receptions for 127 yards and that single touchdown in seven games. The next season brought even worse luck, ending after a serious knee injury suffered in Week 2. And in 2021, a broken foot suffered while scoring a touchdown against another AFC South rival, Houston, landed him on injured reserve for the majority of the year.

It's difficult to argue he isn't injury prone. But from Campbell's perspective, any mention of or belief in being unable to stay healthy is counterproductive for the former Buckeye, who is now healthy and needs to compile a strong season to ensure he'll receive adequate compensation in 2023.

"From the outside looking in, people say, 'Oh, he can't stay healthy.' Excuse my language, but to hell with that," Campbell said, via the Colts' official site. "I know who I am at the end of the day, I know what type of player I am. I know why I was drafted here, and the (coaching) staff room, they know.

"They know I've been through a lot, but they know the type of player I am as well. So, just when it all comes together, people on the outside stay on the outside."

Campbell's frustration is easily sensed and understood. The former Buckeyes star entered the NFL with high hopes as a home-run threat the Colts sorely needed, and instead of using his ability (and the skills honed in his gradual transformation into a playmaking receiver at Ohio State), he's been forced to watch multiple seasons pass while he's left in the now-familiar routine of recovery and rehabilitation.

If 2022 ends up being the breakout season for Campbell, it would follow a trend in his playing career dating back to his days at Akron's St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, where Campbell became a star running back and led the Fighting Irish to consecutive state championships before leaving for Ohio State at just 17 years old. In fact, Campbell didn't turn 18 until after his redshirt freshman season of 2014, bringing much more sense to his decision to stay at Ohio State for a fifth year in 2018 -- and his tendency to bloom later than expected.

That decision proved to be wise. Campbell exploded in his final season with the Buckeyes, catching 90 passes for 1,063 yards and 12 touchdowns, and leading Indianapolis to select him with the 59th-overall pick of the 2019 draft.

With one year left on his rookie deal, Campbell knows the time is now to prove the Colts wise to have spent that selection on him.

"When the pressure is high, I know how to perform," Campbell said. "It's all a confidence thing -- I got so much confidence in myself. And what better way to prove everybody wrong and prove myself right in Year 4, in my contract year."

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