Phillip Lindsay has become a master at turning any perceived slight — particularly any doubts about his ability based solely on his 5-foot-8 frame — into fuel for motivation.
Chances are Lindsay will do that once again after being passed over in the 2018 NFL draft. However, the former Colorado Buffaloes star and Denver native certainly isn't complaining about where he ultimately landed.
Shortly after the seven-round draft finished Saturday afternoon, Lindsay agreed to terms on a free agent contract with his hometown Denver Broncos. Now the young man who grew up cheering for the Broncos will have an opportunity to don the orange and blue.
"It's definitely nerve-racking, but at the end of the day I'm just glad I have the opportunity to play football again and play in my home state for the Denver Broncos," said Lindsay, a graduate of Denver South High School. "There's no regrets or anything. I'm going to make the best of my opportunities and I'm going to go on and help the Denver Broncos have winning seasons the next couple years. I'm proud of where I'm from and proud to represent it again.
"It's a surreal moment. Right now there's so many emotions running through my head. I'm just glad I get to play football again. I can't ask for anything else."
Lindsay said "a lot" of teams reached out soliciting his services as a potential free agent, but the local connection with the Broncos made his decision a no-brainer. Lindsay was the Buffs' primary kickoff returner in 2015 and 2014, and he also made it clear he is willing to return punts if it will help him stick on the Broncos' final 53-man roster.
"I'm going to be doing punt returns and kick returns," Lindsay said. "I love football. I love the game and will do anything. I can block, I can run, I can catch. I can run down and make tackles. I'm just an athlete. I'm fast and electric and I don't go down easy. I feel like that will a big part of my play the first year."
Lindsay finished his CU career ranked second among the program's all-time leading rushers with 3,707 yards, trailing only Eric Bieniemy (3,940). Lindsay also ended as the Buffs' all-time leader in all-purpose yards and yards from scrimmage.
Lindsay will have an opportunity to make a mark in a Broncos backfield undergoing a makeover. Veteran running back C.J. Anderson was released earlier this month, leaving third-year Utah alum Devontae Booker and second-year running back De'Angelo Henderson as the de facto frontrunners for the starting job. Denver also drafted Oregon running back Royce Freeman in the third round and Arkansas running back David Williams in the seventh round.
"The past is the past and I have nothing to say about being drafted or undrafted or anything like that," Lindsay said. "Now it's just about going out there and producing. That's all that matters to me. I'm grateful that the Denver Broncos are giving me an opportunity to play in my home state and help win football games."
Lindsay wasn't the only player among his CU classmates solidifying his future following Saturday's draft. Receiver Devin Ross agreed to terms as a free agent with the Tennessee Titans, and offensive tackle Jeromy Irwin did the same with the New Orleans Saints. Safety Afolabi Laguda agreed to terms with the Los Angeles Rams. Receiver Shay Fields agreed to terms with the Washington Redskins.