INDIANAPOLIS — Chase McLaughlin may just be a rookie, but he's already well-versed in handling the situation in which he currently finds himself.
The Los Angeles Chargers signed McLaughlin to handle their kicking duties on Oct. 1, and five days later he made 2-of-3 field goals and his only extra-point try in Los Angeles' Week 5 matchup against the Denver Broncos.
He was then picked up by the San Francisco 49ers on Nov. 7, and four days later he hit 4-of-5 total kicks, including 3-of-4 field goals and his only extra-point attempt, Week 10 against the Seattle Seahawks.
The Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday claimed McLaughlin off waivers from the 49ers, and depending on the status of Adam Vinatieri for Sunday's Week 14 road matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, McLaughlin could very well be thrown into the mix with a new team for a third time in nine weeks.
It might sound daunting at first, but McLaughlin told reporters on Thursday that he'd be "just as comfortable as ever" if he does, indeed, need to handle kicking duties for the Colts on Sunday in Florida.
"Luke [Rhodes] and Rigo [Rigoberto Sanchez] are a great snapper and holder, and just kind of being around them and getting to work with them during the week, I'll definitely be ready to go by Sunday," McLaughlin said.
The Colts put in a claim for McLaughlin on Wednesday after Vinatieri began to deal with "some problems with (his) knee" before last Sunday's Week 13 game against the Tennessee Titans, Colts head coach Frank Reich said Wednesday night in an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio.
Reich said Vinatieri "gutted it out" and "did what he had to do get through" the Titans game, but early in the week the left knee injury just wasn't responding the way he had hoped, and he was listed as a limited participant for Wednesday's practice; he did not participate on Thursday, meanwhile.
Reich said Vinatieri had some scans done on his knee and the team will "consult with the doctors, figure out what we need to do and monitor it as the week goes on," so the acquisition of McLaughlin — who worked out for the Colts on Sept. 17 and also participated in the team's local pro day on April 13 — comes at an ideal time.
"Chase was a guy that Chris (Ballard) and his staff had targeted," Reich said. "Brought him in earlier in the season to work out; a guy (we) had some interest in. So, you know, the timing was right with Adam's little deal that we should take a look at this."
McLaughlin was signed by the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent this offseason and hit all three field goal attempts and all five extra-point tries this preseason with the Bills before being released during final cuts.
Since that time, McLaughlin has spent time on the Minnesota Vikings' practice squad and also was signed to the Chargers' active roster before taking over for injured 49ers kicker Robbie Gould on Nov. 7. The 49ers waived McLaughin Wednesday with Gould reportedly returning from his quadriceps injury.
In seven games combined with the Chargers and 49ers, McLaughlin converted 13-of-17 (76.5 percent) of his field goal attempts, with a long of 50 yards, and converted all 15 of his extra-point tries. He hit 7-of-8 (87.5 percent) field goals in three games in San Francisco, as well as all eight extra-point attempts.
For his part, McLaughlin — the 2018 Big Ten Kicker of the Year out of Illinois, where he hit all 79 of his career extra-point attempts and finished fourth in school history in both career field goals made (44) and field goal accuracy (.746) — said he's already adjusted to the at-times roller coaster nature of being an NFL kicker, and hopes to use that experience to his advantage if needed here in Indy.
"Being in that situation, it's not new anymore; it's something that I've done before and done in the National Football League," he said. "And I learned a lot from those moments and those games, and I'm excited to bring it here to Indianapolis.
"You just kind of show up, do your job, make the kicks you can and wait for the coach's call."
Here's the full injury report from Thursday's practice:
» DNP: WR T.Y. Hilton (calf); S Malik Hooker (foot); CB Kenny Moore II (ankle); K Adam Vinatieri (left knee)
» Limited: CB Rock Ya-Sin (ankle)
» Full: TE Mo Alie-Cox (thumb); WR Parris Campbell (hand); S Clayton Geathers (not injury related; rest); RB Marlon Mack (hand)
— Hooker and Vinatieri go from limited on Wednesday to DNP on Thursday.
— Today is Ya-Sin's first appearance this week on the injury report. He missed the Colts' Week 12 matchup against the Houston Texans with an ankle injury.
— Promising news for Mack, who suffered a broken right hand just 18 days ago against the Jacksonville Jaguars and today was a full participant in practice, after being a limited participant in his return to the practice field on Wednesday.