Raiders sign cornerback Nevin Lawson

By Matt Kawahara

The Raiders bolstered their cornerback group Wednesday, signing free agent Nevin Lawson, the team announced.

Lawson, 27, was a fourth-round pick by the Lions in 2014 and a full-time starter with Detroit the past three seasons. A source said Lawson signed a one-year deal with the Raiders. NFL Network reported the deal is for $3.05 million.

Compact at 5-foot-9 and 192 pounds, Lawson started his career as a slot corner before moving outside. He reportedly brings physicality and coverage skills on the outside but hasn’t recorded an interception in five seasons. Lawson had 53 tackles and five passes defensed last season.

The Raiders are expected to return both starting corners from last season in Gareon Conley and Daryl Worley, a restricted free agent to whom they tendered a contract this month. Nick Nelson, Oakland’s fourth-round pick last year, and recently signed safety Lamarcus Joyner are also candidates to play slot corner.

After focusing on offense in the first week of free agency, Oakland this week has added Lawson and linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who signed Tuesday. The Raiders also announced Wednesday that they have retained long snapper Trent Sieg, who started 15 games last year after being signed following a season-ending injury to Andrew DePaola.

Read the full article HERE at SFChronicle.com. 

James White, Lawrence Guy were just short of their incentive marks. Patriots paid them anyway

By Ben Volin

How much are three snaps and 24 yards worth? For a couple of Patriots players, several hundred thousand dollars.

Per NFL Players Association records, the Patriots have adjusted the contracts of running back James White and defensive tackle Lawrence Guy, awarding them incentive bonuses that they barely missed in 2018.

White, who led the Patriots with 1,176 total yards last year, came up 24 yards short of a $250,000 bonus for 1,200 yards. And Guy, who played in 518 of 1,042 (49.7 percent) of the Patriots’ defensive snaps last year, fell three snaps short of a $400,000 bonus for 50 percent of snaps.

Read the full article HERE at BostonGlobe.com. 

Q&A With JoJo Natson

By Sarina Morales

When you walk into the Rams locker room, it’s difficult not to turn to the right, because there you’ll find the boisterous defensive backs group. Look straight ahead and you’ll see an old Warriors championship banner hanging from quarterback Jared Goff’s locker. But if you look just past that, tucked in the back corner wall, you’ll find 5-foot-7, 153-pound JoJo Natson.

The wide receiver is on his third NFL team. JoJo can’t explain where he got the nickname (his real name is Bruce). He can’t recall what he threw into his suitcase when he got the call from Special Teams Coach John “Bones” Fassel last Tuesday to come play for the team. But he can tell you he has heart. And once you see that, it’s hard to be distracted by anything else around him.

Sarina: So your Instagram handle is @AgainstAllOdds_9. What’s up with that?

JoJo: Pretty much what it says. I always had the odds against me growing up, in football mostly but in life as well. And I just try and use that saying to remind myself to keep grinding whenever I feel discouraged and when things aren’t going my way. I just kind of stuck with that Instagram name for a couple years now. A lot of people taking tune to it. They’re realizing my story. They’re seeing my football background and a lot of people are getting a sense of what it means too.

Sarina: Against all odds. You said not just football. What else?

JoJo: Life also throws you a lot of obstacles. For me, I had a lot of trials and tribulations. One mainly was coming out of college. I got in some trouble my third year in school, got kicked out of school, and I just didn’t know what my next plan was. End up transferring to the University of Akron. Things just wasn’t kind of how it was before I got kicked out of my first school. The odds were just against me.

It’s hard to make it to the league when you’ve got a lot of baggage with you. Had some off the field issues. So those are the odds.

Sarina: And you’re small for the NFL.

JoJo: And I’m small for the NFL. That was one of the instances where I told myself I was against all odds. I’ve got to grind it out. I’ve got to do everything right to achieve my goals. Actually, that situation with me leaving those schools and everything that happened, ended up making me a better person. Another saying I always use is ‘everything happens for a reason.’ That’s something I’m a firm believer of.

Sarina: Earl Boykins, who was the second smallest player in the NBA — It was Muggsy Bogues and then Earl — when asked how he succeeded in the league, he would always say that being the smallest guy in the NBA was something he was used to. So how does this work for football?

JoJo: Kind of like Earl said; he’s used to it. I’m kind of used to it as well. Growing up from Pop Warner to high school to college to the NFL, I’ve always been the smallest on the team. Always. But it’s crazy because I was always the smallest but I was always making a lot of plays. Everybody had no choice but to respect it. So I just try and do something to catch the coach’s eyes or catch whoever is watching me’s eyes. They’re going to always remember that. Like, dang, he made that play or this play. My biggest thing is then heart. I play with a lot of heart. They can’t take that from me. They can measure my height and my weight, but they can’t measure my heart. That’s just something I approach the game with every day with and in life.

Sarina: Your heart, other people’s heart blowing up your phone postgame when I talked to you last. What was the text that meant the most to you?

JoJo: From my college receiver coach. He texted me at halftime, actually. I didn’t check it until after the game, but he texted me at halftime just telling me how proud he was of me. He was like my best friend in college. Once I got kicked out, he was still following my journey and making sure I was alright. And for him to reach out to me and always check up on me and then to see that text after the game, that just meant a lot for me.

Sarina: It stuck with you.

JoJo: Yeah, it stuck with me. No doubt.

Sarina: How do you use your lack of NFL size to your advantage?

JoJo: My jitterness. Being low to the ground. A lot of those big guys, they don’t like to bend over and try to reach for me. My shiftiness, it gives them a problem trying to tackle me. That’s something I try to use a lot. They don’t like it.

Sarina: You tire them out.

JoJo: I tire them out. I’m like the Energizer Bunny out there.

Sarina: You went to Utah State and Akron. So do you feel like you’ve been fighting your whole life?

JoJo: Definitely. I’ve definitely prevailed with a lot of things. Sometimes I don’t even realize a lot of the stuff I’ve been through. I just try to focus with ‘Ok, that’s the past. Focus on my future.’ But when it’s all said and done, I feel like I’m going to have a great story to tell my kids once I do have some. I don’t want to say I take it for granted. I just realize a lot of people wouldn’t have made it out of the situations I’ve been through. From getting kicked out of school to having a full ride scholarship to no scholarship at University of Akron to having to pay for school. A lot of people probably just would have given up. My biggest thing around that time was I had let my parents down. I let my parents down and my friends. I was like I can’t go out like that. That was my biggest thing — just trying to make my parents proud of me.

Sarina: Do you have this fear of disappointment? Where does that come from?

JoJo: Yeah, most definitely. I just got a dog in me. I’ve got a lot of competitive greatness. I have a standard I set for myself because I know what I’m capable of. If I don’t reach that standard or that goal is not achieved, I’m not satisfied. Sometimes, It’s frustrating when the opportunity is not there all the time. You know what you can do and it’s just frustrating. I keep it going; I keep grinding. Just let everything play out and let the chips fall where they lay.

Sarina: Most people would be like, ‘Oh, he’s small for the NFL and that’s why it was hard for you to get here.’ But that’s not necessarily the whole reason. You would’ve made it a lot easier.

JoJo: Not at all. Exactly. I guarantee you if I was 6’4”, 200 pounds coming out of high school, I probably would’ve gone to Alabama. I would’ve been a five-star recruit with the talent I have. That just wasn’t my calling that God put on me. I just had to deal with it. I think it’s actually good on my behalf because I get Instagram DMs from guys who say, ‘You’re motivating me. I’m a small guy.’ I was once in their position. ‘Man, there’s no way I’m going Division 1; no way I’m going to get a shot in the NFL.’ But you just got to keep grinding. Make it hard on people to accept you. After a while, they’re going to have to respect you. If you’re doing this, you’re achieving in certain areas on the field or off the field. They have no other choice than to respect you. I think that’s what makes me happy. Seeing their faces after I beat those odds. That’s the best part about it.

Sarina: Yeah? What athletes did you look up to growing up?

JoJo: Darren Sproles… Devin Hester… Dante Hall. Actually, I played running back growing up too so I liked Ricky Williams. But, yeah those were some of the guys I looked up to.

Sarina: Some smaller sized… like Sproles is…

JoJo: Yeah, Sproles he was most definitely, as well. Cause he’s like 5’6. He just a little heavier than me, of course. But he’s really like the exact height. He’s just a little bit more… he got a little bit more weight on him.

Sarina: Yeah, have you reached out to any of them? Like, you know, talking about other people reaching out to you and being inspiring.

JoJo: Never. I never reached out to nobody, actually.

Sarina: So who has been the most supportive person then in your life? Whose helped you believe you can do this?

JoJo: I say my family. My mom and my dad. They are my support system for me throughout. Since I was six years old until now it’s just been you know, been the best for me. Cause they always want the best for me. But they always, you know… they never gave up on me. After everything I been through. They never gave up on me. They always had hope. My mom prays for me a lot and my dad, he supports me. His support for me is outrageous. He, on his phone, is googling my name all the time. And that just inspires me. You know, I just want to keep them happy.

Sarina: This is your third NFL team now, right?

JoJo: Yeah, this is my third.

Sarina: Do you ever envision when you do stop fighting?

JoJo: Yeah, that’s the goal. I want to get somewhere, I want to be somewhere I can stick and stay — find a home for however many years. That’s part of the process. That just makes me grind a little harder knowing what I want at the end of the day. And it’ll happen. It’ll happen.

Sarina: What was the moment in your life when you were like, ‘I can totally make it in the NFL?” That moment.

JoJo: I’ll say my junior year at Utah State. My third year at Utah State. I had a great year. My receiver coach at Utah State, he was telling me some of the scouts asked about me. If they were starting to ask about me, I was like, ‘Ok they know about me a little bit.’ It just made me a little more hungry on the field. It motivated me, obviously, if my name was buzzing with the scouts. I think that was the moment that definitely made me feel like I could make it to the NFL.

Sarina: Was there a play in the game or that moment where you were like, ‘Oh my god, I just went against this guy who was like triple my size?’ And you were like, ‘Oh, I can totally do this!’

JoJo: Uh… Ok it was against Tennessee. It was against University of Tennessee, an SEC school. Lot of big guys. I was making some good plays out there against those guys. I was like, ‘Man, these guys are big out here, but I can still play. I can still hang with these guys.’ That kind of just drove me through the entire season. That ended up being one of the best seasons I had at Utah State.

Sarina: What is the goal you want to hit by the end of this season?

JoJo: By the end of this season? I want to lead the NFL in punt return yards and kick return yards.

Sarina: That’s a good goal.

JoJo: That’s a good goal.

Sarina: When you sat down, you did this. [Takes a deep, dramatic sigh] What was that?

JoJo: It was a long day — a long day at work. Meetings. Just a relief to go home. Get ready to get home and relax my body. Just thankful. I’m just thankful everyday I walk on the practice field. I say a slight prayer to thank God because I was at home a week and a half ago trying to figure out my next move.

Sarina: Yeah. Bones said to me, before I walked into the locker room, Bones said, ‘There was no question anybody else we were going to call. We weren’t even going to have a tryout. It was an automatic. JoJo’s our guy.’

JoJo: Yeah, he told me and that just shows how much… let me see how I can put this… it just shows the level of trust the coaches have in me, coming off the preseason. That means a lot to me because I knew the situation coming in with Pharoh being here. But I didn’t let that stop me. I just continued to grind and just control what I’m able to control everyday. Not take no days for granted. So every preseason game, I try to go out there and attack and just play ball and have fun. You never know what can happen and that’s exactly what happened. He called me and told me, ‘You’re our guy. We’re going to get you on the flight in an hour or so.’ That’s what they did and I’m thankful for Coach Bones for believing in me.

Sarina: It’s crazy because I want your brain and replicate it so I can put it in my brain. When you sat down and you’re like that relief because just it’s exhausting. To hear all of the things you went through, it exhausts me and I’m not even going through it.

JoJo: Yeah. It’s tough.

Sarina: Sure, but I mean it’s like ok you’ve always been the smallest guy on the field?

JoJo: Yeah.

Sarina: So then you do that. And it’s just like, ‘Ok and then I get to college and then I’m not in college anymore and then I’m in another college…’

JoJo: Yep.

Sarina: ‘And now I’m not there anymore.’ And then you’re undrafted.

JoJo: Undrafted, yep. Going through that process undrafted. Then having a great preseason with the Colts. Thinking I’m going to make the team. Go to the Jets and I’m thankful for the opportunities from both organizations. You know, practice squad. Get activated the last six games. Get released. In April, pretty much at home and just working out, not knowing when that next calling is. Get a workout with the Rams. Get sent back home. Come back for another workout with the Rams. Then they sign me on the spot.

Not to mention, when I came to the second workout with the Rams, I only had a backpack, some gym shorts, some shoes, some undergarments — thinking, honestly I didn’t think they was going to sign me. I just came for a workout so I didn’t bring much at all. I had to get some stuff sent out again. I had my parents send me some clothes out for camp.

Sarina: You’ve literally been living out of this backpack…

JoJo: And a suitcase. I’ve been living out of a suitcase and a duffel bag for the last going on two months.

Sarina: It seems like years!

JoJo: Yeah, it’s been crazy. It’s been a crazy journey for me.

Sarina: That’s why I want to replicate your brain because I’m just like, ‘I need part of that fight.’ And then it’s just like, ‘I’m here,’ but there’s got to be a part of you that’s like, ‘Ok but I’ve got to keep going.’

JoJo: Got to keep going. Definitely, definitely. That’s what I told myself on Sunday after the game. I was like, ‘Ok, you had a pretty good game but it don’t stop here. You’ve got to keep going. It’s just getting started. You’ve got to keep going, and especially being a smaller guy, I’ve got to continue to show my worth. Show the coaches what I’m capable of.’

Sarina: There’s a fire with you when you’re out there.

JoJo: Every time. Every time. I’ve kind of got the… they call it the Little Man Syndrome. I’ve got to feel like I’ve got to prove myself every day. And in a sense, I really have to, but that just makes me a better player. Going out there, attacking the day like I do.

Sarina: Little man doing big things.

JoJo: Little man doing big things.

Read the full article HERE at TheRams.com. 

8 things we learned from Lawrence Guy’s Pats Chat

Lawrence Guy is a new Patriot, and naturally, Patriots Nation has a lot to learn. On Tuesday morning, he helped expedite that process when he was a guest on Pats Chat hosted by Ashlee Feldman at The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon.

Lawrence took questions from a live audience, as well as from Facebook live viewers, and he was an open book. Not only were some of his answers hilarious, they showed who Lawrence is when the helmet comes off. Here are eight of the best answers Lawrence had to some burning questions.

1. When it comes to his music, Lawrence is looking for lyrics.

“Right now, I’m listening to Childish Gambino. He’s very lyrical with his stuff, and he’s enjoying music and putting out good music. I’m all about lyrics.”

2. Don’t call him Larry, but he does have some other nicknames.

“They call me the Cable Guy sometimes. I’ve also been called The Trash Man, you know. The Garbage Man.” He didn’t give much explanation on this one.

3. Lawrence is pretty frank with the challenges of fatherhood.

“It’s not the changing of diapers. It’s that you think you’ve got a pee diaper, and you open it up and there’s poo everywhere. Just so much poo. You can’t even believe this little human made all this poo.”

4. He has a lot of tattoos, but one stands above the rest.

“[The tattoos] are all on the right side … I leave the left side for my family. My favorite one so far, I would say, I got my infinity sign right here. Me and my wife got these together.”

5. When asked what he does when strangers approach him on the street, Lawrence gave an incredible answer.

“I react normally. It all depends on the situation I’m in. I say hello or what not, but if I’m in a situation where I just want to go out, I tell them I’m a plumber. ‘You do plumbing?’ Yeah, I do plumbing. One time I told an Uber drive I was a construction worker, and by the time we got in a five minute conversation, he knew I had no idea what I was talking about. He was like, ‘You don’t do construction.’ I was like, ‘You’re right. I do real estate.”

6. Before football, there was another sport.

“I thought I was going to go all pro in soccer. I was never the goalie. The wouldn’t let me be goalie. But soccer, I’ve got handles. You should see me on FIFA — before all the updates and stuff. The old FIFA.”

7. He is the only human who didn’t cry watching This is Us.

Lawrence said he is watching Stranger Things, Ballers, Hunter X and This is Us. When Ashlee asked if he cries when watching This is Us, Lawrence was quick to say no. “No tears,” he said, but we’ve got to be honest. We’re not buying it.

8. He’s full of great advice.

One student asked Lawrence for advice as they pursue their own careers, and he had great words of wisdom. “Never give up. There’s always going to be a downfall in everybody’s path in life. You just can’t take that as, ‘I’m going to quit.’ You have to take that as, ‘I’m going to continue to fight for what I believe in.’ If you continue to fight, then no one can tell you anything.”

Watch the full video HERE at Patriots.com. 

Training Camp Spotlight: Lawrence Guy

Defensive Lineman Lawrence Guy is highlighted as he transitions to the Patriots defense and treating every year like his first year in the NFL.

Watch the Training Camp Spotlight HERE on Patriots.com. 

Eagles camp notes, quotes and tidbits: Wright time and place?

By Dave Zangaro

After spending his first two years in the NFL with two different teams, veteran defensive tackle Gabe Wright is hoping he’s found a home with the Eagles.

If nothing else, he’s more ready for his opportunity now.

“My mentality is a little different,” Wright said this week. “I didn’t really know how to be a pro then. I’ll admit to that.”

The Lions took Wright in the fourth round of the 2015 draft out of Auburn. As a rookie, he played in seven games and started one, but the Lions cut him before the 2016 season. Wright spent last season with the Browns, playing in five games as he split time between the active roster and the practice squad. The Browns cut him in May, and the Eagles signed him a few weeks later.

The number of roster spots on the defensive line is tight, but Wright has been steadily more impressive as camp moves on. He’s happy to be back in an attacking 4-3 defense.

“I tell my wife this all the time: Some people just have it when they get in, the Aaron Donalds of the world,” Wright said. “Some people always have it. Then there are those who take a little time, maybe even bounce around a little. Sooner or later, stuff just clicks. A new environment can help that, new surroundings.”

Wright said it helps to have other examples of players who didn’t thrive upon their arrival to the NFL. He specifically mentioned former No. 1 pick Jadeveon Clowney, who had his career slowed down by injuries until last season when he became a Pro Bowler.

While Wright admits he’s “nowhere near arrived,” he at least thinks he’s on the right track. He credits some veterans he’s played with over the last two years for helping him learn to be a pro.

As far as those lessons go, one came from former Eagles defensive end Darryl Tapp. When the two played together in Detroit, Tapp taught the rookie to use the cold tub after every practice. Wright still does it. Another lesson was that one bad day of practice can wipe out three good days — consistency is key.

Wright is just hoping to finally stick with a team.

“I hope so,” he said. “That’s how I’m looking at it. They say don’t put all your eggs in one basket, but this is everything for me. I’m just happy for the opportunity.”

Splitting time in the slot?

Since Jordan Matthews joined the Eagles as a rookie in 2014, he’s been the Eagles’ slot receiver. Things don’t seem quite that clear and easy anymore.

After Monday’s practice, offensive coordinator Frank Reich certainly made it seem like Matthews is in a competition with Nelson Agholor to earn playing time from the slot receiver position in 2017.

“Every spot is up for competition,” Reich said. “The way we kind of roll things is we’re always looking for guys who make plays. So Nelson has had a real strong spring and camp. So the way we do it is it’s kind of by play. Sometimes we’ll switch guys up. We’ll see what a defense does from a coverage standpoint, and then we want to attack that coverage.”

The questions about the slot position have come up recently since NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said he expected Agholor to be the Eagles’ slot receiver and didn’t know what that meant for Matthews.

The Eagles’ receiving corps is much different now than it has been for the last few years after adding Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith in the offseason. Reich brought up the extra competition on Monday when asked if things are different with the slot receiver position this season.

“So, yeah, I think it is a little bit different than last year,” Reich said.

But if Agholor does play in the slot, what does that mean for Matthews?

“Jordan can play outside,” Reich said. “We can be in four receivers and have two slots. We don’t want to take our tight ends off the field too much. We have a bunch of different personnel packages, and we’ll just continue to mix them up week by week.”

Getting a chance

During Monday’s practice, right guard Brandon Brooks left early with an ankle issue and was replaced by offseason acquisition Chance Warmack.

It’s notable that Warmack was the next guy up and not Stefen Wisniewski, who signed a three-year deal to stay in Philly this offseason.

“You know, I think Chance has gotten better every week,” Reich said. “[He has] really embraced what we do and how we do it. Obviously, being reunited with [offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland] has been a good thing. A great room — it’s a great culture in that room. So he’s very tough. Physical. Strong hands, very good run blocker. So those are the things you see in his game.”

Warmack was the 10th overall pick in the 2013 draft but has never quite lived up to that status. His hope in joining the Eagles was that his college position coach would be able to help him rediscover that magic.

Read the story HERE on CSNPhilly.com. 

QB Matt McGloin Aims to Make Decision Tough for Eagles’ Coaches

By Dave Zangaro

Matt McGloin has one major goal this summer: make the decision as tough as possible.

McGloin is the Eagles’ third-string quarterback at this training camp. He not only has to hold off undrafted Dane Evans, but he also has to try to prove to the Eagles that keeping three quarterbacks instead of two is the right decision.

Then, he has to prove that he’s worth the spot.

“That’s all you can do is make their job difficult,” McGloin said this week. “If I don’t play well in preseason, it’s not a difficult decision. If I don’t play well in training camp and I don’t show these guys that I’m taking the right steps in the right direction and executing what they want me to do, then their decision will be very easy. I kind of feel like I’m in a good place right now and I need to keep moving forward and focus on the task at hand.”

Carson Wentz and Nick Foles are cemented in as the Eagles’ starting and backup quarterbacks. That’s not going to change no matter how McGloin plays. But his fate depends on whether or not the Eagles decide to spend a roster spot on a third-string quarterback.

Last year, the Eagles were prepared to take three quarterbacks into the season but those were very different circumstances. Sam Bradford was the starter, Chase Daniel was the backup and Wentz was the young draft pick. That obviously changed once Bradford was dealt to the Vikings; then, the Eagles took just two quarterbacks into the season.

The numbers make it difficult. The Eagles are allowed only 53 players on their season roster and just 46 are allowed to dress on game days. Spending a roster spot on a quarterback who will very likely never see the field is a tough proposition.

“Yeah, I mean, that’s going to be a tough decision because I think we have some good quarterbacks here,” offensive coordinator Frank Reich said. “There are a lot of roster considerations that get played into it. It’s hard to predict what those are going to be and what they look like. I’ve been places where you can only keep two because of roster considerations. But if everything – in a perfect world, sometimes you can keep three. I think that is truly a day-by-day decision.”

Over the last week, McGloin has had extra chances to prove himself. Foles has missed practices with a sore elbow, so McGloin has taken over with the second team and has found mixed results.

How does he think he’s been performing?

“I think the ball has been coming out of my hand pretty well,” he said. “I think I picked up the system fairly quickly. I think my decision-making is good but it can always be better. Definitely mechanics you always need to work on. Really excited to work with the guys. There are a lot of good players out there who a lot of times make me look good. It’s a good group of guys out there. I feel like I’m in a good place right now. I just have to keep improving.”

McGloin, 27, isn’t like most third-string quarterbacks. He’s not some developmental player. He’s started in the league before. As a rookie in Oakland in 2013, McGloin played in seven games and started six. But McGloin has started just one game since.

The Penn State product joined the Eagles as a free agent this offseason after his rookie deal with the Raiders expired.

He decided to come to Philly to be reunited with quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, who was his quarterbacks coach from 2013-14. McGloin said he didn’t hesitate to come to a team that already seemed to have its quarterback situation figured out.

If the Eagles don’t keep McGloin on their roster, the other option might be more appealing. They can reserve just two spots for QBs on the 53 – Wentz and Foles – and then keep another quarterback (maybe Evans) on the practice squad.

McGloin’s whole mission is to avoid that and prove that he’s worth the roster spot.

So what does he think he brings to the table?

“I think everything I’ve put on film so far,” McGloin said. “It’s their decision whether or not they want to keep me. Do they like what they see from me each and every day? Do they like how quick I picked up the playbook? Do they like what I do with the football? At the end of the day, do they like me as a quarterback? Those are the questions you’d have to ask those guys. I can only tell you what I think and I think I’m doing pretty well.”

Read the story HERE on NBCPhiladelphia.com. 

Colts’ Robert Turbin is haunted —and motivated — by four family tragedies

By Clifton Brown

INDIANAPOLIS – When Indianapolis Colts running back Robert Turbin reminisces about family, the memories are often painful. His brother, Lonnie, was fatally shot in 2012 as Turbin prepared for the NFL Scouting Combine. His sister, Trina, died from multiple sclerosis when she was just 21.

But through the years, Turbin has learned to channel his grief, to use it for motivation.

“I think about them a lot, but it’s really random,” Turbin said during a recent break from Colts training camp. “Music can take you back (to them). You’re riding in a car, a song comes on, and you go back to some of those moments you shared.

“When I’m on the field, I’m keeping them in my heart. They keep me stronger, and I try to use that to my advantage, more so now than I did earlier in my career. You want to use it as inspiration, but you may not know how. It took me some time.”

At age 27, Turbin believes this is his prime time in the NFL, a six-year vet determined to play a key role for the Colts this season. After testing free agency, Turbin re-signed with Indianapolis after the most productive campaign of his career. No NFL running back had as many touchdowns (seven) in fewer attempts (47), and Turbin was also an effective target (26 catches) and pass protector for quarterback Andrew Luck.

The Colts re-signed Turbin not just for his ability, but for his passion. He was furious when the Colts were eliminated from playoff contention last season in Week 16 after losing to the Oakland Raiders. The defeat ruined Turbin’s homecoming to the Bay Area, and after the game, he made his intentions for this season clear.

“I wanna be back here next year because I’m (expletive) coming back to help this team win a championship,” Turbin told IndyStar in December. “Period. With a (expletive) vengeance.”

Turbin’s return coincides with the Colts’ plan to limit the workload of 34-year-old starting running back Frank Gore. Turbin, Josh Ferguson and rookie running back Marlon Mack will receive plenty of training camp reps, and it is easy to envision Gore getting fewer carries than the 236 he had in 2016.

If there are more opportunities for other backs, Turbin wants them.

“I definitely have aspirations of being a starter, a great player,” said Turbin, who has never had more than 80 carries in six NFL seasons.  “You’d like to be the featured back and have success. I believe it will come one day. I know it will. I’ve been saying that for a long time, and I say it because I believe it. When that time comes, I’ll be ready.”

Turbin and Gore are friends, and spent time together in the Bay Area this summer where Turbin held his youth summer camp. Those close to Turbin know the adversity he has overcome, more than just the death of two siblings. His older sister, Tiffany, has a severe form of cerebral palsy that has left her paralyzed from the neck down, unable to speak. His mother, Lovie Mae Jones, has battled heroin addiction throughout Turbin’s life, which has affected his relationship with her.

“We talk,” said Turbin of his mother. “We’re not like super-close, but I have a lot of love and respect for my mother. She’s a good person. Everyone has their struggles they go through in life. I’ve understood that more as I’ve gotten older. Some things you can’t control. She had to fight some demons within herself every day. Unfortunately, it led to her not being able to be around a lot. But at least now, we can talk.”

Read the rest of the story HERE on IndyStar.com.