The Indianapolis Colts have been busy during training camp, adjusting for roster holes from injury and balancing the competition for spots on the field.
On Tuesday, the team announced the signing of undrafted free agent linebacker Jonathan Sharpe and free agent running back Phillip Tanner. The team also announced Monday the waiving of wide receiver Aaron Burks.
The team’s official press release had this to say about Sharpe:
“Sharpe, 6-0, 235 pounds, attended the 2014 Super Regional Combine at Ford Field in Detroit. Collegiately, he started two years for North Greenville University, where he totaled 132 tackles, including 23.5 for a loss, 5.5 sacks and three interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. As a senior in 2012, Sharpe started all 10 games he played in and ranked fifth on the team with 53 tackles (30 solo), to go along with 12 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack, two interceptions and one forced fumble. Prior to joining NGU, he played at Wofford College”
Sharpe’s signing fills a void left by losing linebacker Aaron Morgan to season-ending injured reserve. The move will provide depth at the position; Sharpe will likely not see much playing time in the first four games, and once Robert Mathis is back, it’ll be an uphill battle to make the team. Morgan has versatility inside and outside as a linebacker and should provide some quality depth.
Former Dallas Cowboy Phillip Tanner also fills a depth need:
“Tanner, 5-10, 208 pounds, spent the last three seasons with the Dallas Cowboys (2011-13), where he recorded 56 carries for 149 yards and two touchdowns, as well as nine receptions for 93 yards. He also made 21 special teams tackles. In 2013, he tied a career-high with nine special teams stops, while adding nine rushing attempts for 12 yards and a touchdown. Tanner was originally signed by the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent on July 28, 2011. He finished his collegiate career at Middle Tennessee State University with 430 carries for 2,024 yards (4.7 avg.) and 33 touchdowns.”
Tanner is a decent running back that fills a gigantic hole at the position along with his ability to play on special teams. Tanner now joins the battle for backup running back, including Zurlon Tipton, Davin Meggett and Dan Herron after the release of Chris Rainey and injury to Vick Ballard.
Aaron Burks was signed in wake of the LaVon Brazill suspension, but never had a high shot to make the team. Per the Colts’ press release:
“Burks was signed by the Colts as a free agent on July 11, 2014. He was originally signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent on May 12 before being waived on June 13. In four seasons at Boise State, he recorded career totals of 47 receptions for 743 yards and four touchdowns.”