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Parris Campbell has ‘strong connection’ with Matt Ryan at Indianapolis Colts training camp

Matt Johnson

The Indianapolis Colts set high expectations for Parris Campbell when they landed him with the 59th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. After years of durability and quarterback issues, the Ohio State alum could be poised for a breakthrough season.

In his rookie season, Campbell barely saw the field, playing just seven games and finishing with 127 receiving yards and 18 receptions. Already lacking chemistry with starting quarterback Jacoby Brissett, things were only made worse by a broken foot, broken hand and sports hernia that each caused him to miss multiple games.

Related: Indianapolis Colts QB Matt Ryan ‘pissed off’ entering 2022 season

Things only got worse for Campbell in 2020. He suffered extensive damage to the PCL and MCL in his left knee, forcing him to miss 14 games in his second NFL season. While he entered the 2021 season completely healthy, the 6-foot receiver later returned to the injured reserve with a significant foot injury.

Campbell likely recognized entering his contract season that he must prove himself this summer. Indianapolis is still weighing a T.Y. Hilton reunion and the franchise spent the 53rd pick this year on Alec Pierce. Fortunately, it appears the Colts’ 2019 second-round pick is stepping up this summer.

  • Parris Campbell stats (NFL career): 34 receptions, 360 receiving yards, 10.6 ypc in 15 games

According to JJ Stankevitz of Colts.com, Campbell and quarterback Matt Ryan have shown a strong connection in the first week of training camp, building on what they demonstrated early this summer.

Campbell told the Colts’ website that he and the new quarterback spent extra time together this summer, even training away from the Colts’ facility. He estimates that Ryan had him run routes four or five times before OTAs started and those extra reps have continued in the weeks since.

  • Parris Campbell 40 time: 4.31 seconds

All of it has helped the fourth-year wideout catch the attention of the Colts’ coaching staff.

“This is his year for him to show out. We’re ready for that. He’s been looking great — he had a great offseason, he’s had a great few days here. I thought he made some nice catches, run some great routes, you can feel his speed out on the field.”

Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Marcus Brady on Parris Campbell

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It’s all necessary for Campbell to earn a prominent role in the offense this season. Ryan is still a quality passer, even when throwing deep. He will provide Indianapolis with more consistency at the position, providing Campbell with the opportunity to make plays after the catch.

If the former Buckeyes star can make the most out of his opportunities this year, he’ll be in great position to hit NFL free agency on a high note in 2023.