INDIANAPOLIS — If not for a plethora of injuries within the Indianapolis Colts' secondary to start the season, tight end Chase Coffman might've had a spot on the team's roster from Week 1 to now.
Coincidentally, it's another injury — this time to starting tight end Dwayne Allen — that led to the Colts this week signing the veteran Coffman to help add another big target for quarterback Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis offense.
Coffman today could make his first appearance in a non-preseason game since Jan. 10, when the Colts take on the Tennessee Titans in Nashville.
"It's awesome," Coffman said of the opportunity to be re-signed by the Colts. "It's a great feeling to get another opportunity, and now I've just got to make the most of that."
Coffman was signed by the Colts in late July during training camp, and put together a solid preseason performance.
In four games with one start, the 6-foot-6, 250-pound Missouri product caught eight passes for 85 yards, with a long of 28 yards in the preseason finale against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Coffman even earned an unlikely spot on the Colts' initial 53-man roster to begin the regular season, but his roster spot had to be sacrificed in order to help shore up some depth issues within the secondary.
Coffman gives the Colts a guy they can immediately plug in if needed on both offense and special teams, head coach Chuck Pagano said.
"We feel good about (Coffman). He comes in and it will be a seamless transition because he's been here, so there's familiarity with the offense and things like that," Pagano said. "We'll get him boned up and get him out there and try to use him the best we can, not only on offense but special teams.
"I'm just glad that Chase was available right when we needed him."
A seventh-year NFL veteran, Coffman, 29, has certainly been in this position before. He's played in 37 games with three starts to his credit, catching 18 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns with the Cincinnati Bengals (2009-10), Atlanta Falcons (2012-13), Tennessee Titans (2014-15) and Seattle Seahawks (2015).
Coffman is using that experience this week to try to get right back into the swing of things as quickly as he can for the Colts. He said he stayed in shape since the start of the regular season just waiting for his next opportunity.
"There's obviously things here and there that you're going to be doing differently for whoever you're playing, but I feel like I'm picking it up pretty quickly," Coffman said of returning to the Indianapolis playbook. "You know, I've been out for a few weeks at a time before, so I think it will work well."
Coffman hopes to be the next Colts player to embrace the "next man up" mantra, and see where this opportunity takes him until Allen — who is labeled as "week-to-week" with a right ankle injury — is able to return.
"You just have to take advantage of every opportunity. It's a tough league, and unfortunately guys do get hurt," Coffman said. "But you've just got to go with a 'next man up' mentality, and whoever that next man is has got to step in, just like nothing's wrong with offense, defense, special teams — whatever they've got to play."