Phillip Lindsay may be just 24 years old, but the Denver Broncos running back just nine games into his rookie season is already preparing for life after football.
There weren't much in the way of expectations this spring when Lindsay went undrafted. He signed with the Broncos and not only survived training camp but thrived to the point that he was held out of the final preseason games with many of the other players destined to make the final roster.
"We had our eyes on him," general manager John Elway said at the time. "We liked him a lot at CU. The grit that he has, the way that he plays, I wish we had 53 guys like that."
But Lindsay, who leads the team in carries (110) and yards (591) and is second in yards per carry (5.4) and touchdowns (3), knows that professional football players have a short shelf life, and his purpose extends beyond the field an into the community where he was born, raised, went to school and now works.
"I've been in Denver my whole life," he said. "My whole family is here and I want to give back to it doing positive, impactful things other than just playing football. I think being a police officer would help me do that. Being in football, you have a set of disciplined skills you learn over time. It builds your character.
"And I think that's what you need to be a police officer. I want to do my job but I want to do it to the best of my abilities without having to have any conflict -- trying to impact people, bringing positive energy and make a difference in our society."
You get the sense that Lindsay would embrace any new phase of his life just as he has his football career. He'd only been with the Broncos for several months but he was making an impression on his teammates from the moment he arrived.
"I remember during training camp there was a team period," cornerback Chris Harris told the Denver Post's Kyle Frederickson in September. "A linebacker blitzed up the middle, we're watching it on film, and Phil just stuck his little body all up in there and was willing to stone the blitz. You see bigger backs that don't do that. Right then it was like, 'This kid has heart.' We call him Pitbull. He refuses to say no."
Lindsay also refused to wear the jersey number of his favorite player, Terrell Davis, without first getting the Hall of Famer's permission.
"I didn't expect him to reach out to me," Davis told Frederickson. "It was like, wow, you just don't see that. Nowadays you have a lot of young players who don't understand the history of the game. A lot of them don't care to understand. We talked on the phone and he told me about his mindset. He explained to me how he had my biography growing up, and how he lived his life and used it as a reference when he went through struggles. That made me feel good.
"It's appropriate for him to have the jersey. I was like, 'Make it yours, brother.'"
Lindsay's future with the Broncos is bright but when it's over he'll be ready for whatever is next.
"I think of my future a lot," he said. "What do I want to do after playing football. Because you have to have a plan. In my future, I see that plan being family, foundation and service."