Colts: Boom is back, but where is Bjoern Werner?

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bjoern werner

Bjoern Werner

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Dec. 3, 2015) – It was as if nothing had happened.

There was Boom Herron, holding court at the same cubicle in the Indianapolis Colts locker room he occupied before they waived him off the injured reserve list in mid-September.

“Yeah, same locker,’’ he said. “It’s crazy. I’m just thankful to be back here. It’s a great opportunity. Coming back here, I was just happy to see my teammates, my coaches. I’m happy to see you guys.’’

Herron laughed.

“It’s like a big family,’’ he said. “I feel like this is home.’’

It was home, until the Colts waived him Sept. 11. Herron suffered an injury to his left shoulder returning a kickoff in the final preseason game against Cincinnati, and management decided it couldn’t wait for him to heal.

“You can’t take it personal,’’ he said. “It’s part of the business. It all worked out for me.’’

The Buffalo Bills signed Herron Oct. 6. He saw spot action in six games, rushing 11 times for 37 yards, catching three passes for 20 yards and returning four kickoffs for 92 yards.

When the Bills waived him Nov. 25, the Colts put in a claim and were awarded a player who represents a proven backup to Frank Gore. That became all the more critical when Ahmad Bradshaw suffered a season-ending wrist injury last Sunday against Tampa Bay.

“I just want to help the team, whether it’s special teams, on offense . . . they could put me on defense,’’ Herron said.

Herron’s primary role should be as Gore’s complement, both as a runner on early downs and a third-down option in the passing game. Over the final six games last season, he rushed 56 times for 277 yards (4.9 yards per attempt) and added 19 receptions for 164 yards. In three postseason games, he led the team with 170 rushing yards and 20 receptions.

Coordinator Rob Chudzinski was asked if Herron is familiar enough with the offense to contribute immediately.

“He’s going to need to be ready,’’ he said Thursday. “He’s still having to play catch up being out of here for a while. Then we’ve tweaked a few things and made some things a little different, some new calls and whatnot.

“He’ll be ready. He’s looked good and done a good job in practice this week. It’s all hands on deck between him and Tip (Zurlon Tipton) and Frank. We’ve got to get the job done, not only in the run game but in protections and everything else.’’

Where’s Werner?

Somewhat overshadowed by the Colts’ three-game winning streak has been the disappearance of linebacker Bjoern Werner. The 2013 first-round draft pick has been a healthy inactive the past two games, and four times overall this season.

“He’s working extremely hard like everybody else, but at the end of the day backup linebackers have to play significant roles on special teams and right now some of the other guys are just a little bit ahead in that area,’’ coach Chuck Pagano said. “It’s a tough, tough deal obviously on any of those guys that don’t dress, but he continues to work his tail off. He’ll get another opportunity.’’

During the offseason, Werner was switched from a pass-rushing linebacker to the strong-side role, which is more run-oriented.

In 35 career games, he’s managed just 6.5 sacks.

Medical update:

Safety Mike Adams (ankle/hamstring) was a limited participant in Thursday’s practice. He has missed the last two games.

Also, linebacker Jerrell Freeman (hamstring) and right guard Hugh Thornton (elbow) each missed a second straight day of work. Pagano revealed early in the week Freeman suffered a Grade 2 strain last Sunday against Tampa Bay.