Colts To Make Decision Soon On Chad Kelly; Jabaal Sheard Nearing Return To Practice

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INDIANAPOLIS — One way or another, the Indianapolis Colts hope to make a decision about a possible roster spot for quarterback Chad Kelly soon.

Head coach Frank Reich said he had a “long conversation” with general manager Chris Ballard Monday morning about the plan moving forward for Kelly, who was suspended the first two games of the regular season.

Now that Kelly is officially on the “exempt/commissioner permission” list, the Colts have a little bit of time to put that plan into action.

“That move will be forthcoming here in the next day or two,” Reich said Monday in his weekly conference call with reporters.

Signed by the Colts as a free agent on May 20, Kelly, 25, impressed with the work he put in during the offseason workout program through training camp, but it was his play during the preseason that really caught some eyes.

In four games, the Ole Miss product completed 54-of-73 passes (74 percent) for 583 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions apiece. Kelly also proved to be more-than-capable of making plays with his feet, finishing with 10 total rushing attempts for 107 yards and two more scores on the ground.

But once former starter Andrew Luck announced his surprise retirement from the NFL on Aug. 24, the Colts knew they had to find a capable backup for new No. 1 quarterback Jacoby Brissett due to Kelly’s impending suspension to start the regular season.

Indianapolis announced Sept. 2 it had signed longtime backup and spot starter Brian Hoyer to fill that role.

From here, the Colts face a few options when it comes to Kelly: they can add him to the active roster and carry three quarterbacks; they can subject him to waivers and hope he goes unclaimed so that they can re-sign him to their practice squad; or they can outright release him.

Whatever the case ends up being, expect to hear about which option they choose soon.

“That’s what Chris (Ballard) and I had a long conversation about this morning,” Reich said Monday in his weekly appearance on 1075 The Fan’s “Colts Roundtable Live.” “And we’re prepared to make a decision on that; that decision will come out here in the next 24, 48 hours.”

Sheard returning?

Colts starting defensive end Jabaal Sheard has been diligently working his way back to the practice field since undergoing a minor knee procedure during training camp.

Might he get in some official practice work this week? Reich offered this Monday in his weekly conference call:

“We are hoping for continued progress,” Reich said of Sheard. “He did get the one day last week where he was able to do just a little bit and work out a little bit on the side. So we might anticipate him taking a next step and being out there a little bit this week.”

Sheard, 30, has not been able to take part in on-field work since the Colts’ first training camp practice on July 25 after experiencing some “soreness and swelling” in his knee, according to Reich. Sheard eventually underwent a minor procedure, and he has been working his way back since.

The Colts decided against placing Sheard on injured reserve to open the regular season, which would’ve resulted in him missing at least the first eight weeks; he has since missed the Colts’ first two regular season games against the Los Angeles Chargers and Titans.

Though Sheard missed practice again last week — he did work off to the side with trainers on Friday — Reich said Wednesday the defensive end was “making very good progress.”

With Sheard sidelined, the Colts have turned to Al-Quadin Muhammad to start in his place at defensive end. Muhammad has responded to the challenge, and has six total tackles (two for a loss) with one sack and a forced fumble to this point.

“Mo (Muhammad), he just plays with great effort, great intensity, and has had really great production,” Reich said this week on “Colts Roundtable Live.” “And the reason that he does that, A., he’s just a talented player, but B., (he) does it that way every day in practice. And he really sets the tone for our defense in a lot of ways with his intensity.”

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