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Colts Bring Up WR Marcus Johnson, QB Chad Kelly To Active Roster

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INDIANAPOLIS —The Indianapolis Colts are making a couple last-minute moves prior to Sunday's Week 10 matchup against the Miami Dolphins.

The team announced today it has elevated wide receiver Marcus Johnson and quarterback Chad Kelly to the active roster from the practice squad; in corresponding moves the team has waived wide receiver Deon Cain and defensive tackle Kyle Peko.

» Johnson should help supplement a group of Colts pass catchers that is down three members after rookie Parris Campbell suffered a fracture in his hand last Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Campbell joins fellow receivers Devin Funchess (on injured reserve since Sept. 10 with a broken clavicle) and T.Y. Hilton (ruled out three to four weeks after suffering a calf injury in practice Oct. 30) on the team’s injury list.

Johnson, 25, was originally acquired by the Colts via trade with the Seattle Seahawks just before the start of the 2018 regular season. He saw action in five games with the Colts last season and was putting in his best performance with the team — two catches for 52 yards and a touchdown — Week 6 against the New York Jets before going down with a season-ending ankle injury later in that game.

He participated in the team’s 2019 offseason program and training camp, and in four preseason games this year logged eight receptions for 85 yards. Waived with an injury designation during final cuts, Johnson was re-signed to the Colts’ practice squad on Oct. 1.

Johnson’s signing gives the Colts four wide receivers entering Sunday’s Week 10 matchup against the Miami Dolphins at Lucas Oil Stadium; he joins Zach Pascal, Chester Rogers and Ashton Dulin.

» Kelly is getting the call up to the active roster as a backup option at quarterback as starter Jacoby Brissett continues to deal with a sprained MCL suffered last Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers; Brissett was labeled questionable for the Dolphins game on Friday.

Kelly, 25, was signed by the Colts as a free agent in May. He was selected by the Denver Broncos in the seventh round of the 2017 NFL Draft out of Ole Miss, and spent the 2017 season on injured reserve; last season, he appeared in one game with the Broncos before he was released.

Kelly shined in preseason action with the Colts this year, playing in all four games with two starts and completing 54-of-73 passes (74 percent) for 583 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also ran the ball 10 times for 107 yards and another two scores. He was signed to the Colts’ practice squad on Sept. 19.

“Chad earned it. I mean he earned it. He earned it on and off the field,” Colts head coach Frank Reich said of Kelly’s shot on the practice squad. “Really thought he practiced well, thought he played well in the preseason games — in meetings and every aspect of what it takes to be an NFL quarterback, I thought he checked every box. He’s deserved a chance to back here to further develop.”

Kelly’s signing represents the first time the Colts have had more than two quarterbacks on their active roster since Week 17 of the 2015 season. At that time Josh Freeman got the start in Indy’s 30-24 season-ending victory over the Tennessee Titans; he was backed up that day by Ryan Lindley, while Matt Hasselbeck, Andrew Luck and Stephen Morris were all inactive.

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» Cain, 6-2, 202 pounds, played in seven games (three starts) for the Colts this season and caught four passes for 52 yards. As a rookie in 2018, he spent the entire season on the team’s Injured Reserve list. Cain was originally selected by Indianapolis in the sixth round (185th overall) of the 2018 NFL Draft.

» Peko, 6-1, 305 pounds, was claimed by the Colts off waivers (from Buffalo) on November 4, 2019. He has played in 11 career games in his time with the Bills (2018-19) and Denver Broncos (2016-18) and has totaled 12 tackles (seven solo). Peko was originally signed by the Broncos as an undrafted free agent on May 3, 2016.

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