INDIANAPOLIS - The Indianapolis Colts are trying to improve their running game. Ahmad Bradshaw is just the latest piece of the puzzle.
The Indianapolis Colts signed the unrestricted free agent on Tuesday, adding a veteran running back to their crowded backfield. He will join the team today under a contract whose terms were not disclosed.
The 27-year-old Bradshaw spent seven seasons with the New York Giants, but left the team in February - one of a handful of high-salaried players released as part of roster purge intended to clear up salary cap room and bring in younger talent. He ran for 1,015 yards on 221 carries (4.6 yards per carry) and scored six touchdowns last season but missed four games with injuries.
The former Marshall running back's focus is rehabbing from right foot surgery in January. He visited the Colts last week and got an evaluation by the team after battling injuries to his knee and foot for much of last year.
"I'm taking it slow right now," he said. "I'm definitely going to continue my rehab. My focus is just to learn the offense and to get healthy and to be prepared for training camp and the beginning of the season."
Still, Colts Coach Chuck Pagano likes what Bradshaw can add to the team - Super Bowl experience, toughness, and putting up big numbers running the ball.
"Signing a player like Bradshaw, his resume obviously speaks for itself," Pagano said. "We know he's coming off foot surgery, he's trending in the right direction. This guy's just another horseshoe guy, get us one step closer to hoisting that trophy."
As the Colts opened their mandatory mini-camp, Bradshaw figures to battle with second-year running back Vick Ballard, who led the team in rushing as a rookie, for a prime role in the backfield and with Donald Brown, now in his fifth year. Delone Carter is also in the mix.
"He brings just a veteran presence," Ballard said of Bradshaw. "He's won two Super Bowls, so obviously he knows how to get it done. He can not only help the team, but he can help the running back group as a whole."
Indy now has eight running backs on the roster, including seventh-round draft pick Kerwynn Williams and fullback Stanley Havili, who was acquired in a March trade with Philadelphia. Williams is listed at 5-foot-8, 195 pounds. But the other backs have a combined total of six NFL carries, all by Havili last season.
In seven seasons with the Giants, Bradshaw played in 84 of 96 games, starting 33 and rushed for 4,232 yards and 32 touchdowns. He is best known for scoring the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl two years ago on an awkward flop. The play gave the Giants a 21-17 victory over New England.
Other than drafting Williams in the seventh round and trading for Havili, the Colts didn't make any significant moves in the backfield.