Two days after the Indianapolis Colts acquired two-time 1,000-yard rusher Phillip Lindsay on a one-year deal to bolster an already-strong running backs room, one of Lindsay's new backfield mates, Nyheim Hines, visited Parkview Field and expressed excitement about the move.
“As soon as I saw it, I texted him,” Hines said. “We're super, super excited to have him. We believe we have the best backfield group in the NFL and we're just adding to it.”
Hines was in Fort Wayne on Thursday for Colts At Bat, the team's summer tour of minor-league ballparks that also includes visits to stadiums in Indianapolis and Louisville, Kentucky. The annual tour was canceled in 2020 and 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic, but Colts who have visited the Summit City before that include Marlon Mack, Jack Doyle and Jacoby Brissett.
This year, Hines arrived with team mascot Blue and Colts cheerleaders and signed autographs for an hour before the game. He then threw out the first pitch, stepping into a throw from behind the rubber because he refused to bounce the ball. He warmed up by playing catch with Blue, who donned a baseball mitt on top of the receiver glove he usually wears.
“I know this is not what I do,” said Hines, who admitted he only played one year of baseball as a child. “I had some great pointers from the players and even Blue, so I think they carried me through that one.”
The 25-year-old Hines is entering his fifth season in the NFL after gaining a career-high 4.9 yards per carry last season and totaling 586 yards from scrimmage with three touchdowns. With Lindsay in the fold along with Jonathan Taylor, the NFL rushing leader last season, the Colts could use the sure-handed Hines more in the passing game this season.
“Being able to run the route tree as a receiver, making sure I'm just catching the ball on punt returns and outside of the football side of it just getting faster and stronger,” Hines said when asked about his offseason focus. “There's opportunity out there for me.”
The 5-foot-9, 195-pound running back finished his first trip to Fort Wayne by throwing a pair of autographed footballs into the stands for fans to take home as souvenirs.
“COVID was a very unfortunate time for us, it cut off a lot of opportunities with fans interacting in the community,” he said. “As a player you play the game because you love it, but you know without the love and support from the fans, you wouldn't be here. ... We're always appreciative of what the fans in Indianapolis and all the Colts fans do for us.”