INDIANAPOLIS — In the wave of roster moves, the Indianapolis Colts announced Tuesday that the team has waived quarterback Jacob Eason and placed wide receiver Parris Campbell on Injured Reserve.
The team also activated quarterback Sam Ehlinger from IR, elevated kicker Michael Badgley to the 53-man roster, waived defensive tackle Chris Williams and placed safety Jordan Lucas and cornerback Marvell Tell III on the Practice Squad Injured list.
EASON AND EHLINGER
Eason’s career with the Colts has at least hit the pause button, but might continue.
The team waived its 2020 fourth-round draft pick Tuesday to make room for rookie Ehlinger. A move had to be made with Ehlinger Wednesday: add him to the active roster or leave him on the injured reserve list.
Ehlinger, a sixth-round pick in the April draft, opened the season on IR after spraining the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the final preseason game at Detroit.
The move with Eason is the latest in a dizzying last few months for him, and might not be the final one. The Colts want to re-sign him to the practice squad if he clears waivers, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
The decision to add Ehlinger to the active roster seemed inevitable. He began practice three weeks ago, and was making steady progress.
In fact, in the days leading up to the Oct. 11 visit to Baltimore, Ehlinger occasionally ran the scout team to mimic the mobility of Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.
“He looked good, moved around very well simulating Lamar at times,’’ Reich said at the time.
Eason, meanwhile, has endured an up-and-down two-plus months.
After starter Carson Wentz underwent Aug. 2 foot surgery, he inherited backup duties.
“The job is Jacob’s right now,’’ Frank Reich said as training camp in Westfield continued without Wentz. “He’s gotta prove it. He knows that. He has to prepare like he’s starting week 1. We don’t know if that’ll happen or not, but he’s gotta be ready.
“He’s in the driver’s seat.’’
That didn’t last very long.
Roughly a week later, Eason was sharing first-team reps with Ehlinger. On a sidenote, veteran Brett Hundley had been added to the roster, presumably to serve as a necessary arm until Wentz returned.
Reich explained the Colts still were in “that phase’’ of determining their backup QB, or opening-day starter if Wentz’s rehab lingered.
“As we get closer,’’ Reich said, “we’ll make that determination.
“It wasn’t anything with Jacob doing anything wrong. This is a meritocracy and Sam has looked good. So we decided to split it up.’’
That continued during the three preseason games.
Eason completed 41-of-62 passes for 389 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions and an 83.3 rating. Ehlinger was 21-of-31 for 288 yards with no touchdowns, three interceptions and a 57.7 rating.
Hundley had trouble getting on the field and was 6-of-12 for 52 yards with one touchdown, one interception and a 54.9 rating.
When Wentz was ready for the Sept. 12 opener against Seattle, Eason was his backup. That also was the case in week 2 against the Los Angeles Rams. He replaced Wentz late in the fourth quarter when Wentz sprained both ankles, and was unable to rally the Colts to victory. Eason completed 2-of-5 passes for 25 yards but suffered an interception that sealed the 27-24 loss.
Eason’s early-season journey took another twist when Wentz’s status for the week 3 road test against the Tennessee Titans was in doubt because of the ankle injuries.
Reich was evasive regarding his No. 2 quarterback in the days leading up to the meeting with the Titans.
“Jacob has done a very good job. I’ve got all the confidence in all of our guys here, I really do,’’ he said. “They’re doing a good job. I think we have a pretty good situation.’’
In Nashville, Eason was active but Hundley served as the backup.
“We talked to each of them one-on-one and what I said to Jacob was, ‘Jacob, you’re on the right track. You’re doing the right thing. This is not about you. This is about Brett’s experience,’’’ Reich said.
Despite being a late addition to training camp, Hundley started nine games with the Green Bay Packers in 2017. However, he has attempted just 11 passes in the last three seasons.
The last three weeks, Eason has been inactive.
And now, he’s been waived.
While the team has made it clear it doesn’t believe Eason is ready for game action, it nonetheless is intrigued by his physical skills. He’s 6-6, 230 pounds and has a strong arm.
Campbell suffered a foot injury on his 51-yard touchdown reception in Sunday’s 31-3 win over the Houston Texans. It’s the latest injury for the Colts’ much-hyped 2019 second-round draft pick. He’s missed 24 of 38 regular-season games since selected with the 59th overall pick.
Badgley will look to hold down the kicking duties while Rodrigo Blankenship continues to recover from a hip injury suffered during pregame warm-ups in Baltimore. After joining the team last week, Badgley made his only field goal attempt from 41 yards out and all four extra point tries in Sunday’s win over Houston.
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.