Robert Turbin

Colts running back Robert Turbin dives out of the end zone to avoid a safety against the Browns last season.

WESTFIELD — Robert Turbin will exist in a sort of limbo over the next month.

The Colts veteran running back is permitted to practice during training camp and play in preseason games. But once the regular season begins, he'll be banned from team headquarters as he serves a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy.

It's a difficult situation for the prideful Turbin to navigate. But he's very appreciative for the support of Indianapolis general manager Chris Ballard, head coach Frank Reich and his teammates.

And he's determined to repay their faith.

That started when he announced the suspension himself with a well-received note on social media.

"Guys are going to make mistakes and most of the time when things happen around the league, none of it is purposeful," Turbin said Wednesday as the Colts reported for training camp at Grand Park Sports Campus. "In the NFL, they have very stringent rules, and we have to obviously know what it is that we’re doing, and we have to hold ourselves accountable to that. That’s all I wanted to display.

"It was important to me to get it out before the media did because, like I said, I care about the relationships that I have with people, and I wanted to be the one to tell them because I’m the one that made the mistake so why should I allow somebody else to tell them first? For them and this organization to be supportive of me, it’s really helped me get over the hump.”

Ballard has been impressed by that show of accountability.

It's in line with the dependability Turbin has shown on the field the past two seasons. He's been a dominant third-down threat, excelling at moving the chains in short-yardage situations.

But his 2017 season was cut short by an elbow injury, and now his 2018 campaign will get off to a late start.

"I think a lot of Robert," Ballard said. "Heck of a pro, great kid. He owned up. He’s owning it. He’s gonna move forward, take his punishment and move forward. He’ll still get reps in camp.”

Turbin's absence leaves a lot of youth at the top of the running back depth chart.

Second-year speedster Marlon Mack — who revealed Wednesday he played all of last season with a torn labrum after injuring his shoulder in training camp — is the frontrunner for the starting role. Rookies Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins also figure to factor heavily into the mix.

Turbin hopes to maximize his time around the team this summer to share some of his knowledge with the youngsters.

“I think they’re going to do well," he said. "I’m not the only veteran in the room. You’ve got guys like Christine Michael who’s going into his sixth year. I’m going to do everything I can to display the best amount of leadership I can while I’m here before I have to go and serve my suspension. That’ll be my focus from a leadership standpoint.”


Defensive tackle Al Woods is well aware of the low expectations many in the national media have for the Colts this season.

USA Today's Nate Davis picked Indianapolis to finish with just two wins, and the team is commonly predicted to finish last in the AFC South.

Woods is fine with the low expecations.

“There’s nowhere to go. We hit the bottom," he said. "We didn’t meet any of the expectations last year, and now we know everyone is coming back refreshed. Everybody is ready to go. A lot of people aren’t going to see us coming, which is cool. I don’t mind that. When we hit you in the face, then you’re going to realize that.”


The Colts signed safety Shamarko Thomas on Wednesday and released cornerback Juante Baldwin.

Thomas appeared in 12 games for the Bills last season and recorded nine special teams tackles.

He entered the league as a fourth-round pick out of Syracuse in 2013 and played his first four seasons with the Steelers. Thomas has played in 60 career games and has 38 special-teams stops.

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THB sports editor George Bremer has covered the Indianapolis Colts since 2010. He occasionally sports a beard that can rival Andrew Luck's, but he lacks arm strength and durability.