Running back Donald Brown was a first-round draft choice in 2009, the 27th player selected. He has been an occasional starter, a breakaway runner, a backup, a special teams player, and a whipping boy of fans, media and bloggers.

He also is, speaking from appearances, the guy the Indianapolis Colts don't want but can't do without.

With Joseph Addai gone last season, Brown was the heir apparent to his starting spot. Rookie Vick Ballard got the job.

With Ballard the established starter and Brown his backup coming into this season, the Colts signed free agent Ahmad Bradshaw. Brown tumbled still deeper on the depth chart.

When Ballard suffered a season-ending knee injury, the Colts looked elsewhere. They traded their 2014 first-round draft pick to the Cleveland Browns for running back Trent Richardson.

Brown? He took the hit. He didn't blink. He didn't get discouraged. He doesn't get discouraged.

"No, no," he said. "The more weapons this team has, the better the team will be. I knew regardless of what happened, my number would get called in some form or fashion. When it is, just make the most of it."

After Bradshaw (neck) went down, Brown got a smattering of carries as Richardson's changeup, but he didn't hear his number until Sunday.