Despite enjoying only his fifth career start, running back Roy Helu has proven his undeniable talent and ability to execute the Shanahan offense.
You could even say that he did it with one eye shut.
Early in the second quarter of yesterday’s game, Helu burst up the middle into a crowd. He took a hit that couldn’t jar the ball loose, but was able to knock his helmet off. In the ensuing process of going to the ground, Helu took a shot to the face from a defender, which gave him a lovely shiner at tonight’s Christmas Pizza Dinner.
“Yeah, I took a little bit of hit on my way down,” he said with a sly smile. “But if you think this is bad, you should see the other guy.”
Helu did have his lowest statistical game of the season yesterday, but showed that he has the determination to battle through anything. Head coach Mike Shanahan revealed that he was also dealing with a toe and knee injury, but never said a peep.
“I didn’t realize it until I looked at the film that he played hurt. I should have saw it earlier.” Shanahan said. “Normally, he plays at a higher level. He’s a tough guy and doesn’t want to admit when he’s hurt.”
And his gritty approach to football has not gone unnoticed by his teammates. If anything, they’re just pleased that everyone else is finally seeing it too.
“From day one–I think you go back and watch our second preseason game, he just lit it up,” quarterback Rex Grossman told the NFL Network. “He’s a Matt Forte type of running back, y’know, that really can catch the ball out of the backfield as well. He’s the whole package–a three down running back.”
For now, Helu and the coaching staff hope that he’ll be 100 percent by Saturday. As for the eye? I vote for the Eric Dickerson look in the future.