INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Ahmad Bradshaw's season is over and his brief stop in Indy might be, too.
Team owner Jim Irsay said Tuesday that the running back will miss the rest of the season after opting for season-surgery on his injured neck. The former Giants star was injured two weeks ago during a game at San Francisco and had been debating whether to undergo surgery or see if he could recover with rest. Bradshaw has already been placed on the injured reserve list.
Irsay confirmed the news while to speaking to reporters at the NFL owners meeting in Washington. The decision came sooner than some expected. "Ahmad has obviously seen several specialists, collected a lot of information," coach Chuck Pagano said Friday. "He's going to take the next couple weeks to kind of sit back and decide where he's going to go with this thing."
Losing Bradshaw is yet another blow to a Colts offense that had already lost three starters with season-ending injuries — tight end Dwayne Allen (hip), running back Vick Ballard (knee) and left guard Donald Thomas (quad).
Indy (4-1) signed Bradshaw to a one-year contract in June, four months after he was released by the Giants in a salary-cap move and while he was still recovering from offseason foot surgery. The Colts were hoping that Bradshaw could return to the form that produced two 1,000-yard seasons and two Super Bowl rings while with the Giants.
It's been a strange journey back. Bradshaw opened training camp on the physically unable to perform list and wasn't activated until mid-August, after league officials noted that he had participated in a morning walk-through. He didn't play in any of the preseason games, then rushed seven times for 26 yards in the Colts' season-opening win over the Raiders.
He inherited the starting job the next week, after Ballard was injured in practice, finishing with 15 carries 65 yards and his first touchdown at Lucas Oil Stadium since stumbling in for the decisive score in the Giants' 2012 Super Bowl win over New England.
Three days later, the Colts traded a first-round pick to Cleveland for Trent Richardson, the third overall pick in the 2012 draft. Bradshaw started against the 49ers but took a big shot early in the game, returned, then appeared to get hurt again after running into a linemen in the second quarter. He dropped to one knee and trainers appeared to be looking at his shoulder on the sideline. Again, Bradshaw returned, finishing the game with 19 carries for 95 yards and another score.
He hadn't practiced or played since. "He's tired. He's been doing a lot of traveling," Pagano said Friday. "(Mentally) he's great. He's great." In seven seasons, Bradshaw has rushed 962 times for 4,418 and 34 touchdowns. He's also caught 139 passes for 1,129 yards and three scores.
Irsay told reporters that the Colts are not planning to make another big move for a running back and will instead look to Richardson and Donald Brown to take on bigger roles this season. Richardson has run 51 times for 151 yards and two TDs since joining the Colts. Brown, Indy's first-round pick in 2009, has rushed 19 times for 157 yards and one TD — the winning score in Sunday's 34-28 victory over previously unbeaten Seattle.
The Colts also waived fullback Robert Hughes, a sign that Indy expects starting fullback Stanley Havili to return from an ankle injury this week, and released rookie running back Kerwynn Williams, Indy's seventh-round pick in April.
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