INDIANAPOLIS – Philip Rivers has been given another pair of options in the passing game.
The Indianapolis Colts activated tight end Trey Burton from the injured reserve list and wideout Marcus Johnson from the practice squad in preparation for Sunday’s road test against the Chicago Bears.
The team also placed rookie wideout Michael Pittman Jr. on IR, which means he must miss at least the next three games. Pittman had a procedure Sunday evening to address a compartment syndrome with his right leg.
Burton had missed the first three games after suffering a strained left calf in an Aug. 29 training camp practice at Lucas Oil Stadium. He returned to practice Wednesday and practiced again Thursday before being given Friday off.
“He did pretty well the last couple of days,’’ Frank Reich said Friday. “We just thought physically it was the right thing for him to do, to not be up today.’’
Rivers should embrace Burton’s return. The 6-2, 238-pound veteran was one of Rivers’ more popular targets during training camp.
“He did have quite a few touches and certainly early on, I think the thing that stood out first time being around Trey and throwing to Trey is his feel,’’ Rivers said during the week. “Obviously I said that about T.Y. (Hilton) three or four weeks ago, was his feel, and Trey has that at that tight end position.
“Just very good feel finding spots, very – as we call it – friendly to the quarterback. I’m sure Trey will ease is way back in.’’
General manager Chris Ballard added Burton during the offseason, signing him to a one-year, $910,000 contract after he had been released by the Bears.
In six seasons with the Bears and Philadelphia Eagles, Burton has 131 receptions for 1,282 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was an integral part of the Eagles’ 2017 Super Bowl season with 23 catches, 248 yards and five TDs.
Burton signed a $32 million free-agent contract with the Eagles during the 2018 offseason, and had his best year that season with 54 receptions, 569 yards and six TDs.
However, injuries plagued him in 2019. That included, according to Burton, the Bears’ medical staff misdiagnosing an injury early in the season that resulted in him undergoing a “very extensive’’ and last-minute sports hernia surgery.
Burton also dealt with a hip injury that required surgery in December.
Clearly, he’ll be motivated to play Sunday against the Bears.
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.