Josh Chapman healthy again, working with Colts starters

AP

After red-shirting his rookie year, Colts nose tackle Josh Chapman is apparently well and ready to win a starting job.

Last year’s fifth-round pick didn’t play because of a knee injury suffered in college, but according to the team’s official website, is healthy and will be working with the first team when OTAs start next week.

I’m full go. I’m 100 percent,” Chapman said. “I’ll be right out there with them.”

“It has been a long time coming. I haven’t been away from the game this long ever in my life. It’s an anxious kind of feeling. Just being able to put the pads on again and feel that extra thump is good.”

A torn ACL — which he played on most of his senior season at Alabama — and meniscus damage caused him to start last season on the physically unable to perform list. And though he practiced a bit, he was never activated. Now, they think he’s ready to play a significant role in the middle of a revamped defense.

He has impressed teammates in his short time, with Robert Mathis already giving him a unique nickname.

“He’s his own guy. He’s a guy who has been in the middle,” Mathis said. “I like to call him, ‘Thug in the trenches, TNT.’ He does his job and takes pride in it. You can’t ask for anything more.

“I learned enough last year from him in practice to know why he got drafted where he did. He’s a stout force. You’re not going to move him, and he knows his job description. You’re not going to knock him out. He does it, and he takes pride in doing it.  That’s going to help us a lot.”

The Colts were 29th in the league against the run last year, so any amount of help is needed. But Chapman was excellent in college, and if the knee problem is a thing of the past, the Colts may have what amounts to an extra rookie starter this year.