ANDERSON, Ind. —
For the first time in his life, Chapman watched his teammates helplessly from the sideline. And it's not a feeling he ever wants to revisit.
"You know you want to be out there with them, contribute, and you know things that you can do to help," Chapman said, adding that he'd always simply played through pain. "That's one thing that kind of harps on you. You're ready to get back out there, and you try to rush yourself out there, but you want to get out there when you're healthy. And I'm feeling pretty good."
Chapman believes the decision to place him on injured reserve last season was the best call for all involved. He wanted to heal his knee and put the entire episode behind him. Permanently.
The Colts still are bringing him along slowly.
He worked with the first unit at times this spring, but he's been playing on the second team behind veteran Aubrayo Franklin at least since last month's mini-camp. It's one of the more intriguing position battles to watch during the preseason, and it's an arrangement that Chapman said already is paying dividends.
"He shows me little tips," Chapman said. "He's played this nose guard position for a long time. You want to learn the tricks of the trade, he's one of the great guys that do it. I'm gonna learn from a good one."
The lessons already seem to be sinking in.
Through the first week of camp, Chapman has shown the potential to be one of the rare players who actually lives up to the legend. Wherever the 6-foot, 341-pound wrecking ball roams on the football field, destruction is soon to follow.